World Religions other than Christianity
We are living in a changing world where access to world news, different cultures and various religious traditions is now possible at the touch of a button. The role of religion in people’s lives and in the world as a whole is highlighted again and again through various aspects of the media. Pupils have greater access to information about the world around them and it is important they are able to find and use the information about World Religions other than Christianity appropriately.
The demographic of our society is also changing with migrant workers from Eastern Europe and further afield settling in Northern Ireland. People bring with them their own traditions, culture and religious beliefs and it is important that this is recognised. Religious Education has a role to play in developing pupil knowledge and understanding of religious beliefs and practices in order to promote sensitivity towards varying religious traditions.
To address this, the Core Syllabus for Religious Education in Northern Ireland includes the introduction of Learning Objective 4 – World Religions at Key Stage 3. This states that:
“Pupils should be given an introduction to two world religions other than Christianity in order to develop knowledge of and sensitivity towards, the religious beliefs, practices and lifestyle of people from other religions in Northern Ireland.”
The Learning Objective is split into the following 7 sections:
- sacred writings and symbols;
- worship and prayer;
- feasts and festival;
- family life;
- ceremonies: birth to death.
This website has been developed to help teachers of Religious Education
to deliver Learning Objective 4 across Key Stage 3.
The key themes outline teaching and learning activities within the seven sections of the World Religions Learning Objective Core. The activities help to develop skills and capabilities in a Religious Education context linking the Core Syllabus for Religious Education with the Learning Outcomes of the Northern Ireland Curriculum. The activities demonstrate where it is possible to develop the Cross Curricular skills (Communication, Using Mathematics and Using ICT) and the Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities.
There are a number of ways that the information within the activities can be used. An important factor that must be taken into consideration is the time needed for teacher preparation of resources and research of the world religion to be studied. A number of useful websites and other resources are given in the Resource section covering six main world religions, other than Christianity.
The activities are suggestions and teachers should take into account the amount of time they have available for a unit on World Religions other than Christianity and the depth in which they want to cover a particular religion. The activities are also generic as teachers can decide which two world religions they wish to develop. It is not envisaged that teachers cover all the activities suggested in each section but that they choose the activities that are most suitable for their own class, classroom style and management taking into account the sensitivity of some of the issues that may arise. The activities are suggestions and can be swapped and/or substituted as applicable. They have been colour coded as follows:
- Introductory Activity – these activities introduce the topic being covered and relate the learning to everyday experiences of pupils;
- Core Activity – these are the main activities that cover the important content to be taught;
- Reinforcing Activity – these activities build on what has been learnt and can help pupils make connections;
- End Activity – these activities draw together the learning from previous work. This could be used as a summative assessment activity following each section.
A number of the activities suggested are developed further in
'Active Learning and Teaching Methods at Key Stage 3'.
The activities can be used together as a discrete unit on a specific religion or a more thematic approach can be taken over the three years integrating the teaching of world religions other than Christianity with the other Learning Objectives of the Core Syllabus for Religious Education at Key Stage 3. The activities can be used in any year of the key stage with teacher input being crucial to the complexity of the information received by pupils and the level of their responses to the activities.
A basic introduction to six world religions has been given to help teachers to decide which religions they will develop and to give some basic information that can be adapted for pupils. The six world religions are:
This is not an exhaustive list and teachers can include any world religion other than Christianity that is represented within their school or local community.
An extensive list of useful websites, books and other resources has been developed to help teachers to find the information that they need on the chosen world religion. They have been categorised in a number of different ways and a brief explanation of their usefulness is given:
- by religion – each resource/website states what religion/religions they have information on;
- by topic - to ensure that teachers can access the appropriate material – the resources have been cross referenced to the 7 sections from the core syllabus;
- by teacher/pupil use - resources have been categorised into teacher/pupil use. Resources/websites that are suitable for pupil use in research have been highlighted.