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The Burning Core Unlocking RE for children with special needs for the teachers of Hull and East Riding 18 March 2014
About Anne Krisman A teacher of Religious Education to children with special needs in a London secondary special school From the Reform Jewish tradition “The world is a very narrow bridge and the important thing is not to be afraid” Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav
Why is RE important to our pupils? It’s an opportunity for reflection It’s a door into other’s lives and experiences…….
Why is RE important to our pupils? RE tells the story of our pupils’ lives, of difficulties, struggle and loss Our RE should reflect the power of the themes for our pupils
Why is RE important to our pupils? Their difficulties elevate them to higher understanding An ability to just grasp simple things may lead to understanding the heart of religion, such as love
How should we teach RE? We should go to the heart of the RE theme, or the ‘burning core’ Our pupils need time to process, so we focus on the important stuff
How should we teach RE? Having a focus on ‘the burning core’ means that we can confidently take our path This is work on the Prodigal Son, which takes the focus of losing and finding
How should we teach RE? Our RE should be shaped around the child, not the mainstream Agreed Syllabus We follow the syllabus ‘as far as is practicable’
5 Keys Into RE In each RE theme, we should…….. KNOWLEDGE only teach the ‘burning core’ knowledge CONNECTION search for the points of connection with our pupils’ lives SENSES search for the sensory elements in the religion/belief VALUES find the values that shine from the religion/belief SYMBOLS highlight symbols, as they are beyond words
Which markers reveal pupils’ spirituality….? a growing awareness of self and others connection with peaceful music/other experiences, possibly seeming ‘in the moment’ or ‘just being’ creative responses that show sparks of understanding moments of linking the theme with self sense of pride and joy sense of completion moments of ‘reaching out’ to another
Ayo’s Tree of Life A creative response that shows sparks of understanding There is a sense of awe about the placing of the ‘shin’ symbol
To conclude… We need an uplifting form of RE, an RE of the heart, that connects with the lives of our pupils with special needs We should take on challenging concepts with bravery, because the world is a narrow bridge…. and the important thing is not to be afraid