I really enjoy teaching religion and I hope to teach in a Catholic school in the future. Religion is a subject where it is important to not only engage the minds of students, but also their hearts and lives.
The aims of religion should include;
- A deeper relationship with God
- An understanding of Catholic and other faiths
- Participation in life of Catholic Community
- A healthy interaction between life, faith and culture
An important point to remember is to connect the themes being taught to the students’ lives. Make it relevant to their lives.
There are also a range of strategies/activities that can be used to engage the students in religion lessons.
There are a range of useful YouTube clips, like the one below, which can be used as a tool to help students to gain a greater understanding of the story/concept being taught as they bring the story to life and allow students to visualise.
Godly Play/ Exploring Scripture
Godly play/exploring scripture is a way of telling Bible stories using simple materials. A script is provided for the teacher to read while moving materials which take the form of the characters in the story. The teacher becomes the story teller as the students listen to the story and watch the materials. When the story is finished, the story is explored using a variety of “I wonder…?” questions.
I first experienced godly play/exploring scripture as a student teacher and I found that it worked really well. I sat on the classroom floor with the students in a circle. The students were encapsulated by the story and demonstrated a great understanding in the activities that followed.
My second experience was at university where the lecturer used the materials to tell a parable to a class of university students. Godly play/exploring scripture was equally effective as it was on the students.
After the story and the wondering statements, activities may be set up in order for the students to respond to the story. The activities may include;
- Writing a rap song
- Recreating the story using play dough
- Using the materials used by the teacher
- Creating a powerpoint presentation of the story
- Writing a prayer
- Drawing freeze frames of the story
Create your own materials for Godly Play/Exploring Scripture using wooden pegs/dolls, felt as clothes and underlay and gold wire to tie around the figures/wings for angels;
You can also order ready made wooden materials. This is a great website for 2D parable materials:
Be creative in your next religion lesson, you might just be surprised at what your students give back to you!
How do you engage your students in religion lessons?
Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net