Last word

Explore the Bible with new eyes: Introducing the Visual Commentary on Scripture Introducing the Visual Commentary on Scripture 

The Visual Commentary on Scripture (VCS, see thevcs.org/) is a freely accessible online publication that provides theological commentary on the Bible in dialogue with works of art.

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The big picture

Calligraphy: a place of rest for the soul 

REtoday interviewed Muslim artist Ali Caligraff, who works in France, about his dynamic and intriguing Islamic art, often infused with joy and vitality

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Events and resources

Events: What’s going on in the RE community 

May I start by thanking each of you for all that you are doing to ensure that all pupils in our schools receive high quality Religious Education.

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For the staffroom

USING HOMEWORK TO IMPROVE ATTAINMENT IN RE: 8 METHODS 

Andrew Jones teaches at The Reach Free School in Hertfordshire. How many of his eight methods for improved learning via homework are you currently practising? Try out some of the others!

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For the staffroom

The Bahá’í faith: a feature from three believers 

Too often, RE makes little space for the Bahá’í faith, but in this issue of REtoday three devotees from the Bahá’í tradition share their own experience on a personal basis on our theme of worldviews. Cosma Gottardi, Arzhia Habibi and Geoff Smith all approached this in their own way. In your classroom, tell pupils a bit about the Bahá’í faith – many know nothing about it. Get pupils to read one article each in groups of three, and then compare them for similarities and differences: how far do our writers express the faith in unity, and how far do we see their personal worldviews here?

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On reflection

A tribute to Heather Williamson, 1940–2021 (Bath Spa University/ Bath College of HE, 1969–2002) 

It was with great sadness that we learned of Heather Williamson’s death on 28 December.

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Reviews

Reviews 

What have you read lately? What sparks your interest? Over the years we have aimed to include a broad range of literature beyond that immediately identifiable as being related to RE. Books reviewed
on these pages have involved curriculum, theology, Biblical studies, philosophy, spirituality and ethics, but also literary fiction, biography, autobiography and poetry. Colleagues from all areas of the ‘RE world’ have contributed reviews; there have also been reviews from sixth formers and university students – writing a review can be a good first step to further publications. So, to the readers out there, let us
know what you have been reading; teachers and tutors, do you have students who could contribute reviews?

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Research

Sexual ethics: exploring and extending the areas focused upon 

Susannah Cornwall

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Theory and practice

The Learning about Religions through Dialogue project 

Mark Plater has been professionally involved with RE teaching for nearly half a century, watching the political and educational shifts over time but always fascinated to learn how we might
do things better. He presently works at Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln. This article considers his funded project to create dialogue through faith visitors in schools.

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Theory and practice

Teaching and researching worldviews hospitably? 

In February 2018 I finally became a Doctor of Philosophy. When I embarked on my PhD research my youngest son was starting primary school; when I finished, he was beginning secondary school! I thought at the time, ‘This is it. I have done it! Now move on!’ And I did, to be honest. I parked it, put it on the shelf and looked happily at it from time to time. Until a few months ago …

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Theory and practice

Making RE accessible to all: an online dialogue about teaching RE to children with special educational needs and disabilities 

This article reports on an online dialogue about RE and special educational needs and disabilities that took place in autumn 2021 between Rebecca (Becky) Pearce, a primary school teacher and 2021–22 Farmington Scholar; her tutor, Janet Orchard; Anne Krisman, a former Farmington Scholar and a highly respected expert teacher of RE and special educational needs; and Michelle Ornstein, who is one of Anne’s former pupils. At the start of Becky’s Scholarship, Janet suggested that Anne would be a good person for Becky to talk to about her topic, and pointed out that one of the advantages of normalising online meetings through the COVID-19 pandemic. was that a regular Farmington tutorial could easily accommodate a guest … or two, when Anne suggested Michelle should also be part of the discussion. Becky and Anne report on what proved a thoughtful and educative conversation.

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Theory and practice

Big Ideas for RE: the Next Phase

CENTRAL TO THE BIG IDEAS APPROACH ARE THE CONCEPTS OF TRANSFER AND RELEVANCE. IF YOUNG PEOPLE ARE TO ENGAGE WITH RE, THEY HAVE TO SEE THAT IT HAS SOME RELEVANCE FOR THEIR LIVES, WHETHER OR NOT THEY REGARD THEMSELVES AS ‘RELIGIOUS’ 

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Editorial

Developing pupils’ thinking through ideas, dialogue and hospitable pedagogy 

Welcome to our second Professional REflection publication as editors! This time we have brought together a whole range of voices from different parts of the Religion and Worldviews Education (R(W)E) world. Some of these voices will be familiar and others new. Combined, they shine a light on issues of relevance and concern for classroom practitioners that deserve deeper thought, and new developments in theory and current research on topical matters for the R(W)E classroom.

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For the staffroom

Five steps on the journey towards inclusive RE 

Hannah Jayne is Assistant Headteacher at the Judd School, Tonbridge. She used her Farmington Fellowship to focus on inclusive practice regarding LGBTQI+ identities. Readers may find they can take these steps more firmly in their own schools.

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For the staffroom

9 ways to support a new primary beginner teacher in RE/religion and worldviews 

Linda Whitworth is a Visiting Lecturer in Education at Middlesex University, Co-editor of Professional REflection and a member of the NATRE Executive. Her teaching and research focuses on improving the preparation of primary beginner teachers to teach RE.

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For the staffroom

Back to the Floor with Bill Moore: the beauty of RE

Bill was an RE adviser for years, then he went back to being a classroom RE teacher. We wanted to know what this unusual move taught him. Does the adviser’s personal worldview need reframing by the daily realities of teaching?

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Instant RE

Enter Spirited Arts this year 

Amy Vose, RE teacher, describes what led to one of her pupils becoming a winner in last year’s Spirited Arts competition. Please plan to enter this year with your pupils – the closing date is 31 July.

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Instant RE

From the Good Samaritan to the climate crisis: a prayer boat display 

Rebecca Ostler teaches RE in Hertfordshire. She wanted her class of 8–10s to think about religion and climate issues in a creative way. Here is what they did.

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