At Orchard Primary Academy we teach RE by using the Discover RE scheme of work.
Discovery RE is a comprehensive detailed lesson planning resource for Religious Education for Primary School aged children. It uses an enquiry approach to make RE exciting and engaging for both teachers and children alike.
Discovery RE Overview
The Enquiry Approach to Religious EducationDetails of the Four Step Enquiry method used in Discovery RE®
The human experience underpinning the key question is explored here within the children’s own experience, whether that includes religion or not e.g. a human experience underpinning the question, ‘What is the best way for a Sikh to show commitment to God?’ is ‘commitment’, so lesson 1 aims to help all children resonate with the experience of ‘commitment’ in their own lives. If they can relate to this human experience they will be better able to understand the world of religion into which the enquiry takes them. Their personal resonance with this underpinning human experience acts as the BRIDGE into the world of religion (which may be very much outside of their experience).
The BRIDGE concept/experience is shown clearly under the Step 1 box on the planning. This guides the teacher as to the focus of Lesson 1, which does not have to include anything explicitly ‘religious’.
Step 2 - Investigation
The teacher guides the children through the enquiry, children gaining subject knowledge carefully selected to assist their thinking about the key question.
Some of the enquiries have a lot of relevant content so teachers do need to be selective and not try to cover too much. Depth is more important.
The acquisition of the factual information about the religion /belief system being studied is important, but not as an end in itself.
Step 3 - Evaluation
This lesson draws together the children’s learning and their conclusions about the key question of that enquiry. This is an assessment task (the activity sheet and resources are included) which the teacher can assess by using the age-related expectation descriptors at the end of each enquiry. These are exemplified, and tracking and record sheets are included, as are pupil self-assessment sheets.
The expectations may well lend themselves to meaningful and less onerous report writing, the activity sheets providing evidence in children’s books for their learning in each enquiry.
We are not suggesting that paper-based evidence is the sole form of assessment in RE. The expectation is that the assessment activity sheets provided will be seen in conjunction with teacher observations of the children’s work and responses throughout the enquiry.
The strands of learning are colour-coded in the planning, the assessment activity, attainment descriptors and exemplification to make this process easier for busy teachers.
We believe that RE insights are not bound by literacy skills.
Step 4 - Expression
Children are taken back to Step 1, their own experience, to reflect on how this enquiry might have influenced their own starting points and beliefs. There is often further evidence for their books produced in this lesson.