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The turbulent times we live in - or Summer Madness - reflections

Discussion in 'Religious Education' started by durgamata, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    Hello everyone.

    I guess we are all distressed about what has been going on in some districts of some of our cities recently. It was serious enough when it seemed to be predominantly opportunistic looting with a lot of wanton destruction and some arson. But the murder in Birmingham of three Asian guys who were part of a group protecting shops - by a Black guy who deliberately drove into them - has added a new and terrible dimension.

    All our students, wherever we may teach, will have been shaken up by what is happening. Some will have been involved in some way.

    I think we need to be ready to discuss and reflect on all these events, with all our classes, at the start of next term.

    What do you all think?

    Should we prepare some material to enable some wise and insightful discussion and opportunity not just to recognise and connect with the way our students may be thinking and feeling but to help them to grieve, deal with the anger and fear that they may be experiencing both as individuals and as part of their communities...?

    If I am to devote some time to creating resources for this I need your advice and guidance. I'm going away next Wednesday and would like to get cracking on this straight away.
  2. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    At the moment I am just copying info from some of the articles I can find online. Here is the most pertinent quote so far -
    This is not a race issue. The family has received messages of sympathy and support from all parts of society. I lost my son. Blacks, Asians, whites - we all live in the same community. 

    Why do we have to kill one another? Why are we doing this? Step forward if you want to lose your sons. Otherwise, calm down and go home - please."
  3. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    I've put up about 10 articles, cut and pasted so that hopefully you can extract bits as required.

    Do share here any links to articles etc which you think would be useful to include.
  4. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    couldn't sleep so added a few more articles - this time from the Daily Mail. Quite shocked by some of them, the way they seek to blame and exclude. Good material for exploring the nature of spin and the danger of labelling a minority and making it 'other'.

    There is an undertone in some of the writing which makes me very uneasy. Is this not the kind of propoganda that the Nazis used against the Jews, (Feral scum, Beasts etc)

    The Father of one of the Birmingham men who were killed is calling for calm. I think that the press need to heed this call, too. Certainly we need to take action and steer society in a new direction - but the action needs to be based on reality.

    To discover reality, we need to be able to listen to - all sides.

    if we analyse the problems wrongly (and there are many facets to the problems,) and if we do not make it a society which all can feel a part of - then we may only make things worse.

    The idea of throwing families out of their homes if a family member was involved is typical of the kind of retaliation which would only make things worse.
  5. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    Hello RovingRelic, Great name to call yourself!

    I hope everyone will address the riots at the start of term, but I think Citizenship and RE are the most likely to be able to give it a real focus. I would try to devote the first half of term to this topic so you can get under the surface of what really was / is going on.
    After 9/11 I devoted the entire term to exploring the issues - alongside a general overview of what RE is all about. We had a long corridor outside our room - with notice-boards all along - really big ones (higher than I could reach without standing on a chair) and we filled it with responses to that event.

    I am not suggesting that these riots are on the same scale of importance, but I do hope we can use them as a springboard to explore, discuss, debate, think about and reflect on some very important questions and issues relating to morality, spirituality, responsibility and being in control of our own actions when others around may be pressuring us to do something else - or when our own desire-temptation-emotions are pulling us in a way which we know to be wrong.

    I have had to start a second resource as they only take up to 20 items each. I have marked articles I find particularly useful with AAA or AA as a kind of guide, but my advice is to skim through them all and pick out the ones which you think are most relevant to the particular students and aspect of the events that you wish to cover.

    Do start with the AAA and AA rated articles. These include one on belief which salutes Tariq Jafar's response to the death of his son (there's another one on the Peace Rally in Birmingham today, which I would also include) and one which interviews young people on some of the estates.

    When you do prepare any materials it would be very helpful for other teachers if you could offer them as a resource. With so many RE departments facing cut-backs I think it is important to look for ways to share materials and help each other so everyone can continue to offer high quality. relevant,meaningful, honest, accurate, rigorous lessons which encourage understanding of different perspectives, are strong on spiritual and moral insight and address the real issues in our society, that our kids are facing every day. Sorry, that was a sentence and a half!

    I have spent much of the past week, all weekend and most of last night researching and preparing the resources uploaded here - and I am delighted that they have already been viewed and downloaded - even favouritied.

    Please contact me if you would like me to come in and give an Assembly or talk on this matter - or lead some discussion. This goes for everyone. I will be preparing a range of related events and workshops - when I get the time (I'm going away on Wednesday)

    Do continue to offer feedback and ratings.

    And take time to have a good holiday. I have a feeling that next term will be relentless.
  6. Yeah - I have decided to dedicate a SoW to community cohesion type issues, with this as the key focus. Finish with a P4C at the end to let them all express their views on the issue...

    thank you so much for these resources, they are truly fantastic!

    tough times ahead though...

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