Where do YOU draw the line? Many people say this generation of students is the most ethically alert and aware body of thinkers. The room comes alive when we have class discussions about abortion, war, euthanasia, cloning and many other contentious issues.
Imagine a subject which could take you to faraway cultures, to times past and to other worlds: that is what we do! Welcome to the most exciting subject in the world - this one at least!
Religious Education is the academic study of some of the most powerful, inspirational and emotive ideas in human history. A major component of what it means to be human is to 'believe'. In RE, we discuss these ideas, where they come from and how they influence and structure believers’ lives. Thinking about these issues makes our pupils more focused, analytical and skilful in both debate and research.
We want our pupils to be articulate about what they believe; we want their opinions to be backed up by solid academic knowledge. We have, at the same time, a completely unique, intellectual identity - teaching and reinforcing the intellectual skills that make many of our students successful applicants to law, journalism and a host of competitive and demanding careers.
Pause for Thought - Whole School assembly readings
Mr Clements' ‘Pause for Thought’ articles have been downloaded more than 12,000 times on TES. See his latest reading below.
Gaming & Education
You might be surprised to learn that today’s reading is based on why schools should seriously consider using gaming in education. For many years, the typical view of computer games by teachers was very negative and games were seen to be of no benefit. Newspapers reported that they only lead to addictions, aggressive behaviour, sexist attitudes, physical fitness decline and other terrible consequences.
Many educationalists have now moved away from that simplistic view and see a role for gaming. They have now begun to see real advantages in a moderate use of learning that involves games and have noted how they can help children’s performance in algebra, physics, history and a host of other subjects. Gaming, in proportion, clearly makes learning fun and reduces stress.
However, a school in North London has gone one-step further. It is a very small school, which helps children with profound learning needs, and it is called the Richard Cloudesley School. Radio 1 Newsbeat went to visit them in August this year and reported that this school had put gaming onto the curriculum and given it a timetabled lesson alongside the subjects you would normally expect.
What made this different was that the games are not being used as a strategy to promote other subjects, but are used to promote the children’s communication and emotional development. The staff noticed that playing games makes the children work better as a team and communicate more effectively. It helps them solve problems and manage their emotions when things do not go according to plan. In other words, computer games help the development of self-esteem, leadership skills and a wide range of social habits.
Games create a more engaging and connected environment and I believe that the future will involve games moving into education at all levels. The great problem is that we are, in the main, only consumers not producers of media and if we only play and use and do not create, the range of educational benefit - and define that term anyway you wish, is very narrow.
So, let us change that problem into a challenge and opportunity and engage skilfully with this new technology. Take every chance you can to develop your knowledge of coding and apps. Ask harder and better questions of the technology which stitches our lives together and you will be startled by the changes.
We would be grateful for your views.
Mr B Clements
Teacher of EAL