Following a number of comments on Facebook, I thought I’d share some thoughts about how to show Careers in Religious Studies for our pupils. RS has an additional issue that other subjects don’t – parent perception. Parents get the value of Geography and MFL as they are directly transferable. Maths and English is essential, Music and Dance lead into their appropriate industries but what does RS do – other than enabling you to ‘become a vicar’? I can understanding this inaccurate perception and I’ve done a lot at my school to stop hearing “Why do we have to do this subject, it doesn’t impact me.” I began at a new school about 18 months ago and I had that comment every lesson for the first year, until I changed my track.
Pupils need two things to make a subject acceptable to them : Consistency in lessons (ie they know what to expect) and high quality, relevant lessons. If you can master those then the silent majority will stop asking the question and the more outspoken ones won’t want to ask it as “It’s not my favourite subject, but it’s alright.”
Once these were established I moved onto three approaches.
- I created a corridor display addressing why doing RS? This meant to I could point pupils to that when they started to ask the question. This display is partly taken from an Open University resource. The full display is below.Careers display – title
Careers – part 1
Careers – part 2
Careers- Open University
- Using the excellent REonline resources (http://casestudies.reonline.org.uk/) I showed one a lesson to EVERY class. I’d love there to be more- there are 7 of them at the moment. I showed them at the end of each lesson without commenting. The first few led to cynical comments but I persevered, which led to one pupil commenting on A Level option evening “I wasn’t thinking about RS but I am now after those videos – the recipe designer was the one that got me to think.” – that student wants to be a journalist.
- Use visitors. Pupils need to see faith makes a difference in the world. I’ve work with the local university asking their lecturers to come in, the local Diocese and church and used whatever contacts I have formed. That way pupils get to meet people from other faith communities and see that faith is important in our world. This is a picture of Prof Clough who visited to talk about animal ethics in intensive farming techniques – something I knew very little about!
- Use your pupils. If you already have a GCSE cohort why not record them saying why they opted or what they enjoy in RS – and show this to your pupils lower down the school. Remember if you start targeting options in Year 7 pupil will be much more responsive later. Do it softly for a more subtle approach. Also bring a pupil along at an open evening for GCSE of A Level – pupils love talking to other pupils and seeing that people recognise and know do RS!
- Play to your courses strengths. If you do morality at GCSE or A Level then do a unit on that earlier – also get wooden train track out for the Trolley problem, or Domino’s out for the Cosmological argument. Make it gorgeous. Because it is.
The other huge side to the coin is parents. For parents evening I created a leaflet for GCSE which talked about why we study it, what the course is about, homework and intervention, famous people who had done RS and where RS can lead to. I gave this out at Year 9 option evening as well as Year 10 and Year 11 parents evening. I also made a separate leaflet for Philosophy and Ethics (A Level RS). By my team and I giving these to all the parents I saw at Parents Evening this has really helped with parent perception.
These are the leaflets for download :
I don’t think we should need to do this, but in the world that we live in it’s essential we do. RS is too important to be ignored, and it impacts the world in a huge way.
Please feel free to use any of these resources – I have gleaned lots of these from multiple sources on the internet – so thank you all for contributing!
I hope you have found this post interesting – I’ve enjoyed writing it! Please post comments on twitter @sheltont101 or facebook.