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Religious Studies GCSE

(25 Posts)
FennyBridges Mon 11-Jan-16 17:34:10

Hi everyone. This subject is in my school's Options block and, as an RS teacher, I was hoping for some inspiration about how to confront Options Evening next week! Ideally I'd LOVE one class to study it.

Background info: mixed comp; significantly white; all students in KS4 follow a non-examined course where we study RS in the world and a variety of religions.

Of course I've got a hand out, plus me, but no previous class work etc of older year groups as its a new course.

Help! smile

FennyBridges Mon 11-Jan-16 17:35:54

Handout has proper grammar; I know its should be it's!!!!

Heirhelp Mon 11-Jan-16 17:42:04

Can you get copies of the text book for the course by then? The exam board/publisher will normally send you one if you are thinking of the course? Link it to the wider world eg news stories and careers it can be useful for.

Do the students study RS in year 9? If yes you can do GCSE taster lessons? Which exam board are you going with?

surreygoldfish Mon 11-Jan-16 19:26:05

The students could be your best advocate - can you influence them in your existing lessons by making it sound a great interesting and challenging course. Also if you focus on the broader aspects - I.e it's not about being religious. DS1 is in year 10 taking this as a GCSE option and really enjoys it. DS2 has absolutely no intention of selecting it - do it's definitely not to everyone's liking!

homebythesea Mon 11-Jan-16 19:37:21

Parent of both GCSE and A2 RS students here

Frankly I'd be worried if their teachers did not know how to promote their own subject to their own pupils shock

Having said that I'd be stressing the ethics side which has generated a lot of debate at both GCSE and A level. Also essay writing skills which are v important.

TeenAndTween Mon 11-Jan-16 19:40:24

Is your course about understanding moral viewpoints based on understanding other's religious views? I think that in the world we live in today that's really important and interesting. (DD didn't agree, and did the compulsory (at her school) short course only). Isn't it about debating and arguing a view almost as much as knowing details about religions?

Idefix Mon 11-Jan-16 20:01:59

I would focus on the benefits of studying RE, such as skills that will be beneficial for other courses such as humanities and what further study is useful for in future study and careers. At or school the focus was on transferable skills such as critical analysis, debate, empathy and further study options were law, philosophy and humanities.

In my dc school re has really suffered in popularity and effort put in to it as it was made into a compulsory 2 yr course. The course content was also fairly boring and repetitive and certainly for my ds there was a complete failure to put any effort into it as he viewed it as a pointless waste of time.

I would also try and sell it in terms of type of teaching you will use - debates, reenactments, online etc.

FennyBridges Mon 11-Jan-16 20:31:51

Thank you for all the positives. I love RS but as you probably know, the curriculum is being squeezed and squeezed and now full course is an options subject.

I have a taster session prepared and I have chosen Edexcel RS B whereas we used to do Philosophy and Ethics with OCR.

Homebythesea don't worry I am fully qualified and fully professional, degree and masters in hand, top university and all that - as well as 16 years teaching RS. Frankly one of the reasons I rarely post on mumsnet is because of comments like yours shock Frankly I'd be worried too if the teacher didn't do anything you suggested, which isn't terribly dynamic or interesting, which is why I posted to possible professionals.

Thank you for your compassion Idefix. Posting here because we too have suffered in popularity. Parents views are important. I can't very well ask for feedback after the event; feedback is in the numbers! When you can choose exciting and practical things like Catering and Product Design, shiny new subjects like Photography and Child Development, and the child only has the opportunity to choose of two, clearly RS has competition!!

senua Mon 11-Jan-16 20:59:52

It's pathetic and populist, but that's how you appeal to teenagersgrin ... how about a poster saying

Guess what the following have in common: Ricky Gervais, Christie Turlington, Martin Luther King, Matt Groening, Bruce Lee, Moby, JB Gill (of JLS fame), Rashida Jones (Parks and Recreation), Ethan Coen (of Coen Brothers)

Answer here and here

Tinie Tempah has A Level RS. And Orlando Bloom.

Idefix Mon 11-Jan-16 21:08:06

I think that is the syllabus my ds followed, looking at Christianity and muslimism?

I have to say I felt sad as I had wanted to do re but the subject was dropped due to only myself and two others choosing it, did typing in the end which came in quite useful I suppose not bitter at all

Good luck with your options evening!

FennyBridges Mon 11-Jan-16 21:16:30

Hey senua do you have those posters from TES too? Didn't know about Tinie Tempah and Orlando Bloom. Thanks!! Orlando Bloom is a Nichiren Buddhist do he comes up on that scheme of work!

Idefix that's what happened last year to us. Six chose it. We needed 15. We are popular teachers but refer back to my practical and shiny new subject comment earlier! Thank you for the luck! flowers

Senua now going to look at your links. Thank you! flowers

timelytess Mon 11-Jan-16 21:20:55

18 years as Head of RE, now retired.
What would they miss out on in order to study RS? If its History or Geography, you need to let RS drop, as it will disadvantage the pupils later, if they don't have the more respected subjects.
Could you make one of your mixed mandatory sessions into a GCSE group?

FennyBridges Mon 11-Jan-16 21:27:54

Mandatory sessions are fortnightly, sadly, so not enough time and consistency for full course GCSE. Short course doesn't help the league tables so school not interested - which is OK by me actually because we've devised a fab SOW on religion and life; elements of GCSE but also things that GCSE syllabi can't keep up with, such as news events.

We used make all students do the full course but it's unnecessary pressure, etc etc and could be a detriment to other double weighted subjects such as maths. Also we only have 2 subject specialists so teaching was given to any History/Geog teacher with too many frees to teach it, which was understandably unfair on them. We do love the freedom we have but we'd love a GCSE set with the governments changes!

18 years as HOD. Wow. I only made 5 years. Just a teacher now since having my children xx

senua Mon 11-Jan-16 21:52:18

Hey senua do you have those posters from TES too?

No, I thought that I had come up with my own bright idea. I should have guessed that it already exists - I know you teachers do love a poster.wink

timelytess Mon 11-Jan-16 22:25:12

18 years as HOD. Wow. I only made 5 years
Very sensible of you.
It nearly killed me - no joke, I could easily have died. But, I paid daughter's school fees, wedding etc from the proceeds and I have a tiny pension (not a full teacher's pension because I didn't do the forty years).

Heirhelp Tue 12-Jan-16 17:13:20

We are having issues with number too. It is a lot to do with option block clashes. We are making sure our 9 lessons are more update and link to the wider world/current issues and we have create displays about the the GSCE course to start to drip feed the idea of GCSE RS as something they may like to do.

FennyBridges Tue 12-Jan-16 20:17:15

Drip feeding is a great idea. I may be too late now though..! How did j not think of slow and steady persuasion?

What's your experience? From mine, students like RS. They don't necessarily want to do it for GCSE though! Happy enough to do the statutory.

Heirhelp Wed 13-Jan-16 06:46:03

There is always next year. The students like RS, last time Ofsted were in they commented on the level on enjoyment compare to other schools. I want to change the way we teach RS in key stage three as the moment is it mostly based on religion and I would like it to be more thematic but that is the decision of the HOD.

For us it all depends on the options blocks. Last year were up again art and so did not have big enough class to run but other subjects with less students were allowed to run. A number of parents made complaints to the governs that their child was not able to do RS when they wanted to so we are hoping for more flexibility this year. We are all on rotation in year 9 so some student will not have had RS for 6 months and then will have had two lessons and then they pick there options.

I used some presentations from TES to help create a display and included exciting photo eg drugs, contraception, Hannabil Lecter and the electric chair for crime and punishment and since then I had lots of yr 10 tell me they wish they had taken RS instead.

IguanaTail Wed 13-Jan-16 06:54:47

Several prongs I reckon. Little samples with younger students and commenting to them that they would make good RE students.

Having ethical questions on the flyer to think about.

Yes and challenges about what people have in common etc.

Lots of luck - it's hard recruiting isn't it!

goshhhhhh Wed 13-Jan-16 10:44:55

RS is compulsory at my DDs school. Luckily she lives it. She really enjoys how it helps her thinks and the analysis skills she is developing help her with other subjects. I hated RS at school at it was mostly about regurgitating the gospels.

FennyBridges Wed 13-Jan-16 20:07:05

I'm so touched you have all bothered to respond flowers Thank you! I sometimes feel quite lonely in RS. I do have a colleague and we get on well enough, but it's not quite the lively existence I had in a city at the beginning of my career with invitations to Sukkot and Bat Chayils, believer's baptisms and Eid!

I've chosen the new Edexcel GCSE. Does anyone find that the trend is a move away from Philosophy and Ethics and more into traditional learning about religions? I fear RS might be moving back 15 years rather than taking advantage of that thematic and ethical approach.

I love religion but my degree is philosophy!

It's heartening to hear positive stories from teachers and lovely comments from parents!

Heirhelp I have worked with a rota system before and I know the nightmare! Although fortnightly lessons aren't ideal (I teach around 700 odd students in 24 different classes) at least they're consistent!

IguanaTail Wed 13-Jan-16 20:21:08

It's one of the most popular subjects where I work. But not my department so don't know details of syllabus etc.

mumtomrtumnus Thu 09-Mar-17 17:22:54

Hi. I'm in the same boat. I would love some info on your taster session as well as info on what you deliver to non exam classes? Many thanks.

TheSecondOfHerName Thu 09-Mar-17 20:41:28

Two of my children have been through the process of choosing GCSE options and the third is about to.

Handouts, assemblies, taster sessions and options evenings presentations have had minimal influence on their decision.

The main factor is whether they find the subject interesting and enjoyable. The other factor is whether they feel they are capable of getting a good grade in the subject (6-7+).

DS3 wants to take PRE because he finds it interesting and because he gets high marks in it.

Stickerrocks Sat 11-Mar-17 00:25:24

This is compulsory in our school, but it's called Ethics & Beliefs. I only discovered yesterday that the actual GCSE is RS. Sell the debating side of things, such as covering the death penalty. Any negativity about the faith elements can be countered with the importance of understanding where each group is coming from, from a political & social perspective. I would have loved to take this syllabus with the benefit of hindsight.

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