I’m a little embarrassed to admit… not as much as I should!
Following an RME input, we were set the task of writing down our previous knowledge about the main world religions with an aim to identifying any gaps in our understanding.
There are 6 major religions around the world. These are:
- Christianity (2.1 billion)
- Judaism (14 million)
- Islam (1.3 billion)
- Hinduism (900 million)
- Buddhism (376 million)
- Sikhism (23 million)
(numbers taken from google.com, accessed 07/02/16)
My partner on this task and I were both brought up in Christian households, therefore the ‘Christianity’ column was fairly easy to fill. We did recognise, however, that a lot of our knowledge may not have come from school, but rather through Sunday school, Church, or family.
We then began to jot down anything we knew about the other 5 religions, quickly realising that there were plenty of gaps. While we knew of certain names, events or practices, we often struggled to place them under the correct heading. One of the main examples of this is ‘Ramadan’ which we ended up writing in between some of the headings.
As we wrote our notes, we both found that snippets of information that we had learned at school (or elsewhere) came back to us, for example, I can remember being taught the story of Rama and Sita at Divali time.
Here is our first attempt:
As you can see, we had some knowledge of many world religions. However if asked to elaborate on the names or stories; we would struggle!
We then conducted some reading and research into the main figures and ideas of the religions. Particularly the ones that we were less confident about.
I found this to be a really useful exercise as, not only did it highlight the areas which I will need to do some extra work, but it also made me think about some of my preconceptions.
It is essential that teachers has a deep understanding of religion and can address any prejudices or misconceptions. I touched on this in my previous post following the Paris attacks in November of last year (read the post here.)
Following this activity, I will continue to build on my own understanding of the major world religions. I know that my placement class will be focusing on Sikhism at the time that I will be working with them and therefore I plan to concentrate on my understanding of this religion.