During my placement, I have found that there are many ways in which RE can be taught, depending on both the topic and the class.
Most lessons I have observed and taught have been aided by a PowerPoint presentation and hand outs. I have found that this is the most effective way of teaching in most cases, as it keeps pupils either focused on the teacher at the front of the class, or on the work they have on their desk in front of them. As well as using a PowerPoint presentation, videos appear to be a very useful resource for teaching. For example, when teaching Year 7 about the crucifixion of Jesus, I showed the class a quick video that summarised the events of Good Friday, allowing them to retain some basic information before going straight into the full detail of the lesson.
Starter activities are also an extremely important part of an RE lesson, as they allow pupils to think about the topic in a different way before the lesson. When I planned and taught a Year 7 lesson about the resurrection, I began the lesson with a question written on the whiteboard asking the class ‘is seeing believing?’. This gave them something to focus on as soon as they sat down. It also allowed me to introduce the learning outcomes of the lesson, one of which was to look at alternative explanations for the resurrection and why people may not believe that Jesus had resurrected because they had not seen him.
In the school I am in, RE classes are mixed ability, so this has been a really good opportunity for me to utilise what I have learnt in university and in meetings about differentiation, its methods and its importance within the classroom. One way in which I have utilised the information I have gained on differentiation in my lessons, is having certain pupils sat in a particular area of the classroom. This was done with the help of my Curriculum Mentor who knows the classes well, and knows which pupils would be better being kept away from each other during lesson time.
All in all, throughout my placement I have picked up lots of useful information about what works when teaching RE and what maybe is not the best idea. While I cannot generalise and say that everything I have learnt and observed can be applied to all schools, my first placement has definitely built a strong foundation for my future teaching and learning.