Issues in Religious Education (Issues in Subjectteaching)

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A spiritual response to a particular learning activity cannot be forced or guaranteed. It is always open to the pupil to complete the activity in an unreflective, mechanical way, with minimum personal involvement. If a response is a determined outcome of a mechanistic process, it is doubtful to what degree it can still be described as moral. We needed ways of giving space for students to respond and guiding them towards informed spiritual and moral reflection while allowing for a variety of possible outcomes.

Key questions posed to students were therefore often open-ended: how do you judge the value of a gift?

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Devise a role play in which you reunite two friends who quarreled. As teaching topics and materials were developed, the question was not only whether this was a good topic, but also how students could be helped to engage with it in authentic ways. Working with the ideas of spiritual and moral development is not the only way to approach the development of Christian pedagogy across the curriculum, and these are only some of the issues discussed during the development of the Charis materials. It was never the intention of the Charis project to provide a final model of Christian curriculum.

The hope of assisting teachers in discovering and developing their own approaches to nurturing the spiritual and moral lives of their students across the curriculum has continued into the present project. For more on spiritual and moral development with examples from the Charis project, see the following: at the primary level, Alison Farnell, Opening Windows: Spiritual Development in the Primary School.

Nottingham: The Stapleford Centre At the secondary level, David I. Smith, Making Sense of Spiritual Development.

Quoted from the introduction to each volume of the published Charis materials. Finally you will have an individual interview normally with a relevant subject tutor from the University Department of Education and a subject mentor from one of our partnership schools.

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There will be two school placements during the course totalling at least days in school, representing approximately two-thirds of the course. All schools in our partnership are secondary comprehensive schools, and your two placements will cover the full secondary school age range The longer first placement normally runs from September until April and the shorter second placement from April until the end of June.

Issues in Religious Education (Issues in Subjectteaching)

This long first placement allows you to become thoroughly established in this school and experience what it means to be a teacher. You will be in school two days a week and in University for three days. We call these joint J weeks, and these allow school experiences and university sessions to be fully integrated. From November your time in school increases to three days a week as you begin to take on more teaching responsibilities.

From January you will be in school full time and we call these school S weeks. Just over half of your time in school each week will be spent teaching, with the rest of the time being available to meet your subject mentor, to plan lessons, to observe experienced teachers, and to carry out other investigations to develop your teaching. You will also be in school full-time for the second placement, and this will be an opportunity to enhance the teaching approaches you have developed in a new and often quite different context.

Our 36 partnership schools are located throughout Oxfordshire, with a few over the county borders, and the average distance from the department to a school is 15 miles. We take account of your prior experiences and logistical requirements, such as where you are living and any childcare or caring responsibilities, when deciding on your first placement school. We add in to these considerations your experience so far on the course and the developmental priorities that have emerged when deciding on your second placement. The course operates on a full time basis only and we do not offer distance learning.

Bursary amounts vary depending on the subject you are training to teach and the type of qualification you hold. If you are a UK or EU student from a lower-income household, you will be eligible to receive an annual non-repayable Oxford Bursary to help with living costs. The amount of bursary you get will depend on your household income and any Government teacher training bursary.

Applicants must clearly state how their degree includes significant elements of the study of religion. We seek graduates who enjoy their subject and see its relevance to everyday life. It is also important that you have a commitment to working with young people, show an interest in school teaching and know you will enjoy the environment of schools in this country. For example, you may have previous experience of working with young people, either on a voluntary or paid basis. You might also have spent time in a UK secondary comprehensive school, observing lessons, and talking with students and teachers.

All conditions must be met before the course starts and your offer will lapse if these are not met. Many schools ignore this statutory duty, however, and it is not enforced by Ofsted, local authorities or by the Department for Education and Skills.

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Christianity, as a result, has no special place in many state schools. As a result of the shortage, it is common for RE lessons to be taken by non-specialist teachers.

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Present teaching of the subject reflects this, according to the Ofsted, which found that a third of schools did not have a satisfactory RE curriculum in place. In this year's Ofsted report, inspectors said that a lack of subject knowledge led to superficial teaching and negative attitudes to the subject. Graham Holley, the executive director of the Teacher Training Agency, said: "The literature to attract people into RE teaching reflects the way in which it is taught in schools today.

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