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Rural school - no enthusiasm for RE - help!

Discussion in 'Religious Education' started by sunshine76, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. sunshine76

    sunshine76 New commenter

    I need help!
    I have only ever taught RE in inner city schools where I never had any problem with enthusiasm for RE - multiculturalism seemed to make the kids value RE and they saw the 'point' of it (same with SLT!)
    I've recently moved to rural school, 99% of pupils are White British, and there is no enthusiasm for RE from pupils or SLT. Results are dreadful, and the kids' attitude to lessons is appalling - they simply don't care.
    I really need some advice about what to do to change this - trips and visiting speakers are problematic as we are in the middle of nowhere!
    Has anyone had experience of this - I thought teaching in a nice, rural middle class area would be easier - but this is a battle I'm not quite sure how to win! [​IMG]
    Thank you for any suggestions
  2. What are the topics you do like? Could you make them more interesting/engaging to draw the pupils in?
  3. Hey Sunshine76
    I was in your position six years ago in my current school. At the time the department had been deemed unsatisfactory by Ofsted and in my NQT fell into the HOD job. I won't lie my first year was hard, the Year 11 were totally swtiched off. So I thought about what would they find interesting. There was no GCSE when I started and I didn't run one my first year. Instead I created Ethic based units which used media as inspiration. We looked at issues in films, music etc. It shut them up and switched them on.
    You need to start with Year 7 get them hooked from when they start and overtime your RE will build up. This year Year 7 were asked what their favourite lesson was they voted RE, PE and ICT as their top three. I felt very proud. I introduced Edexcel Religion and Life Short Course which they really seem to enjoy. I went from a large proportion of students moaning and complaining about RE to now honestly I teach only two or three who have vocally moaned about being in the room. My short course results peaked at 72% two years ago (with just myself teaching) and my Option Group (I teach OCR Philosophy and Ethics) is goign from strength to strength I got 89% A*-C.
    My advice is simply- get KS4 hooked and get KS3 from Y7- it'll take a couple of years but you will get there and it will be so worth it!
  4. Same as what Wattsy said! Go for the wow factor with year 7 and build from there - it is slow but will happen. Make suretheir lessons are engaging with everything in them, dramas, film clips, arty crafty stuff, thinking skills - the whole works - redo resources a year at a time starting with year 7.
  5. Hello Sunshine76. I've just finished my NQT year and am about to start a new job in a school in Suffolk as the school RE specialist. It is a new school and currently has only years 7 and 8 but will have a new intake each year until it is full up to year 11. All pupils will have one 100-minute RE lesson per fortnight with the aim of doing a full course GCSE in that time over years 9-11. I understand that there has been a lot of resistance from parents to pupils doing an RE GCSE and in a recent evaluation exercise RE was rated low by pupils. Like your school mine is mostly white British, but the SLT seem supportive at my school. So I am facing a similar challenge to you. I'm hoping to go in on Tuesday and wow them with exciting lessons to get them on board but know its going to be tough. I'm doing a part-time Masters and thought I'd try to research how to raise pupil perception of RE for my dissertation next year. Should we keep in touch/swap resources/experiences/ideas?
  6. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    Yes, I was in that exact position a few years ago. The following resource came from my serious prayers re how to get my GCSE class which was predominantly agressively exclusivoist atheist to engage with the God question. It really worked.
    I found that the best way was to have it printed off, one copy per person, and then play a previously recorded mp3 of the poem. The kids could just shut their eyes and listen or follow it in the writing. Then for homework they had to pick out bits they identified with and write their own (quite short) poem on the subject.
    By bringing in religious quotations as asides, it somehow made the religions relevant and wise rather than absurd and irrelevant.
    Let me know how it goes and if you would like me to come in as a speaker or to give a workshop on any aspect of RE, I will be happy to go anywhere free, as long as you can help with travel costs. This is my world and my greatest aim is to give support to the great and good RE people who are at the battle-front.
    I can do RE and community consultancy and workshops - plus come in as a speaker on any topic.
    All the best

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