Christian-centred, atheism-centred… or just Student-Centred? Making RE relevant at all

Of relevance to participants of today’s UEA Realising Potential conference, this comment on a young non-Muslim RE teacher’s presentation at Edinburgh University is being reblogged.

“…making religion and Religious Education relevant to children in a full-on atheist society – and in a school where the preceding science lesson makes a mockery of the spirit and the following history books are crammed full of religious massacres and greedy popes – can only be done via discovery exercises which gives children space to investigate from the perspective of their own relation to spirituality, and work outward from there.”

Matthew Vince (University of Exeter): Expressing Islam within a Christian centric education system : Lessons from a young British Muslim RE teacher (PART 1)

(Notes from BRAIS conference, University of Edinburgh 10-11 April 2014, Panel 3: Islam in UK Institutions/Organisations and Everyday Muslim Religious Lives)

Executive summary*

According to Matthew Vince, who is doing his PGCE at Exeter University, current RE is aimed more at political aims of community cohesion than subject knowledge. On top of that he cited the 2010 Warwick report that suggests that Christianity is presented as the default religion of this country. As a consequence, the representation of Islam in the current state administered RE is vulnerable to perpetuating negative stereotypes of Islam and other religions and that Muslim RE teachers find they must “navigate between negative conflicting spheres at times.”

His study concludes that the current curriculum is set primarily on knowledge and not the attainment of understanding Islam…

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