Many religions - how to teach values?

2014.11.05

This is from an RE lesson I taught recently to a mixed religion Year 5 class.

The previous day the children had been given a shield template divided into four quadrants. They were asked to write a word that describes their values or beliefs in each quarter and then draw a symbol for it.

We began by naming the major world religions and looked at some of their symbols. We then shared some of their work from the day before. The most common one was family, others were love, trust, friendship, honesty, kindness, Jesus, loyalty and healthiness (there were more).

We had an interesting discussion about why these words had meaning and decided that each religion values these qualities (apart from Jesus).

It led to some interesting questions. One child asked me about my religion. In a church school I would have no problem saying that I am a Christian, but in this context I thought I shouldn't. I answered that it was not my job to tell them about my religion but to teach them about all religions and to respect them, the religions that is (and the children).

Another child asked if people could believe in two different religions (which she seemed to have some experience of). My answer to that was that people all have their own beliefs and they can change over time and if people don't follow a religion that's fine.

Some of the best things I took away from that lesson though were the images.

Loyalty – shaking hands

Love – hearts

Healthiness – a gym treadmill

And my favourite:

Friendship – two trees shaking branches with each other and two white doves above them.

- Malcolm

 

Related product: Our Basic Artefact Pack is a great introduction to the symbols and images of Christianity, which can help give children ideas for their pictures in lessons like this one.