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PPR356: Religion in Schools

Tutor: Dr Mairi Levitt
Term: Michaelmas

Course Description

The aims of this module are to critically examine the teaching of religion in schools as it has developed since 1944, current controversies and possible futures; and, to provide relevant knowledge and understanding for those going on to a teaching career in RS/ethics. Topics include social and political values in RE, pluralism and Truth, spirituality in the curriculum, faith schools and secular worldviews. The focus is on the educational system in England and Wales but with reference to the rest of the UK and Europe.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Understand the legal framework for the place of religion in the school system
  • Understand how religion in schools has developed since 1944 in terms of aims, content and methods
  • Discuss and evaluate the political and social role of religion in schools and the ways in which its privileged position is justified
  • Critically reflect upon current controversies over the role of religious education in a pluralist society
  • Understand and evaluate different positions on the place of faith schools in a state maintained system
  • Demonstrate critical analysis of policy documents, agreed syllabuses, teaching materials and secondary literature in essay writing and the examination
  • Engage in critical reflection on the place of religion in schools in the 21st century
  • Demonstrate a clear grasp of the ways in which religion in schools relates to diverse socio-political and cultural contexts

Assessment

40% coursework and 60% exam.
Coursework: 1 essay of 3000 words. Exam: 2 hours.

Teaching Method

Lecture (1.5 hours) and seminar (1 hour) weekly.

Introductory Reading

L P Barnes Debates in Religious Education Teaching (The Debates in Subject Teaching Series)

T Copley Teaching Religion: 60 years of Religious Education in England and Wales

P Thompson Whatever Happened to Religious Education

A Wright Religion, Education and Post-modernity

Journals

British Journal of Religious Education

Journal of Beliefs and Values

Religious Education

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