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Teaching Gifted Pupils in RE

Gifted pupils in RE should have access to high levels of attainment at all levels, whether they are at KS3, KS4 or KS5.

Activities should be:

It can be demotivating to experience:

  • challenging
  • stimulating
  • developing their thinking skills
  • offering a variety of teaching and learning styles
  • extra work
  • more of the same

Planning for Teaching Gifted Pupils

  1. Write extension questions that will require pupils to reflect, enquire, empathise, reason or evaluate in depth e.g. as well as being able to: 'Explain what Christians believe about abortion'
  2. Gifted pupils could be asked to:

    • Find out whether Christians agree with the views taught in Christianity about abortion. If they do, evaluate why they agree; if not, evaluate why they may not agree.
    • Questions should go beyond ‘What’ to ‘What if’, ‘What might’, ‘Why’, ‘How’, ‘How might’.
  3. Have appropriate level source material available e.g. Pupils are involved in research using sacred texts or information from faith communities.
  4. Pupils find out about different cultures where a belief system is followed and present and analyse the differences.
  5. Pupils are presented with more complex uses of metaphorical or symbolic language and are encouraged to reflect upon, understand and apply these to tasks set. There should also be opportunities to look at the limitations of metaphorical language e.g. limiting the concept of God to anthropomorphic statements.
  6. Use cross curricular links to extend pupils’ understanding of topics e.g.
    • Factual research about the Holocaust to extend understanding of conflict, war, suffering etc.
    • War poetry to encourage empathy relating to suffering, war etc.
    • Scientific research and presentations about cosmology and evolution relating to questions about the origins of the universe, the origins of mankind and the existence of God.
    • Identify religions specific to countries studied in Geography, particularly the cultural differences compared to that religion in the UK and other parts of the world; what are the reasons for the problems with human rights in particular countries; environmental issues; ethics.
    • What is it about music used for worship that inspires believers?
    • How could you show empathy with Muslims on Hajj/Jews arriving at Auschwitz through drama?
    • ‘Everything is made of numbers’ (Pythagoras) for mathematicians.
  7. Introduce wider ultimate questions for consideration and encourage a philosophical approach to enquiry e.g.
    • Question of suffering (when teaching about crucifixion, animal rights, the First Noble Truth, news!)
    • Existence of God (when teaching about life after death, judgement, morality, creation stories, abortion, birth, war)
    • Life after Death (when teaching about death, funeral rites, morality)
  8. Develop use and understanding of language e.g.
    • Theory
    • Proof
    • Assumption
    • Opinion
    • Fact
    • Concept
    • Belief
    • Faith
  9. Use A/AS level Philosophy or Religion questions and ideas to stimulate thinking.
    • What does it mean to say that something is true?
    • Who/What sets the standards for morality? (and if there’s no God?) Is this ‘just’?
    • What does it mean to say that you ‘know’ something? How can you ‘know’? What does it mean to say that something is ‘evil’? Do some people become evil or is it more likely that we are born with a capacity to be evil?
  10. Reading material in the department e.g.
    • Novels: Not without my daughter (Islam) See Resources list
    • Poetry: war poetry, poetry about loss, death, suffering, happiness, family life etc.
    • Non-Fiction: Introduction to Philosophy, Introduction to Plato, Introduction to Ethics, Philosophy Files
  11. Use the Internet or Intranet to ask and respond to questions. Seek responses from people representing faith communities.
  12. Research work with an open-ended question related to levels (Agreed Syllabus) or GCSE level.