Thursday, 13 November 2014

Emily, an A2 Student, writes...

As a student who studied GCSE RE as well as currently doing my A2 Religious Studies I find the new spec slightly daunting as the 50% split between the Philosophy and Ethics and the Textual studies. The idea of having 50% of the course now being dominated by Textual studies is one which I feel would deter students away from the course because it is a difficult concept to understand especially for GCSE students. The current A-Level and GCSE specs, I believe encourage students to engage their minds in the issues we face in society as well as having the right balance of religious education being taught in lesson. However, in the new specification I feel that such emphasis on Textual studies is effectively making students undertake a very hard-line and traditional take on RE lessons, which for some would make them disengage with the subject as the contemporary nature the current specification offers is almost being lost to the typical, old-fashioned textual studies. The disengagement of pupils is a worry as this subject deserves a lot more credit than it currently gets so the new specification should be increasing engagement and popularity of the subject rather than acting against what attracts the students to Religious Studies.

We need to find a way to have a mix of the current specification as well as the old. Having a larger emphasis on the religious texts is vital to adding more depth to the subject but doing it in a way which will not deter students from taking the subject further. For example, in GCSE in the exam there could more emphasis on religious texts and quotes to reach the top of the mark schemes and at A-Level progressing this further to have a specific percentage of the marks coming from textual knowledge e.g. 20% of the marks coming from the analysis of religious texts and relating it to the question. There would need to be more teaching time dedicated to textual studies during the course to allow students to get to grips with a text and then being able to apply it in exams. Doing this, will still allow students to broaden their minds in philosophy and Ethics, however, it will also allow students to show off their abilities to argue using contemporary examples and knowledge as well as recalling and applying textual and historical studies to their work. Measures such as these would result in a more religious specification which encourages religious knowledge which allows students to analyse religious works and scholars more effectively. Although less time is spent on text (compared to the proposal), the quality of the analysis is of a higher level as teachers can really hone in on specific areas of the syllabus and bring in religious text to a high degree where possible making the course have a larger focus on text compared to the current syllabus but the spec still contains the key elements that draw students in to learning and enjoying RE.

Emily Walker (A2 Student of Philosophy and Ethics, Finham Park School)

No comments:

Post a comment