Tuesday, 29 December 2015

BCYS Guest Blog: The Greatest Story Ever Told

I have been involved with the BYCS since I first went to Lourdes in 1999. They asked to write an advent reflection. I focused on the story of the Nativity - the accurate biblical version! This is quite different to most of the other blogs on here...

Despite the Nativity being one of the most frequently told, and certainly acted out, stories in the Bible, it is often inaccurately shared and its richness, depth and complexities overlooked. Few Christians realise that it only features in two of the four Gospels, that the Magi probably visited anything from six months to a year after Jesus was born, and that only Luke refers to the shepherds. Even Pope Benedict XVI felt the need to address commonly held Nativity myths in his book, Jesus of Nazareth – The Infancy Narratives [2012], after which the Daily Mail labelled him a ‘killjoy’ who ‘crushed’ nativity traditions.

The word Nativity has it’s roots in the Latin nativus ‘arisen by birth’, and gives us the start point of Christianity; the moment “God became flesh through Virgin Birth”. This monumental occasion deserves the undivided attention of all Christians; can we afford to be ill informed about such an event?

Often people’s’ understanding of the story can be vague and superficial. Indeed the classic retelling of the story of the Nativity through primary school plays has adapted so that a cast of Mary, Joseph, shepherds and wise men is no longer sufficient. Reportedly in some schools there are now parts for aliens, punk fairies, Elvis Presley, footballers, a lobster and a drunken spaceman. Naturally carols have also been replaced with Christmas-themed pop songs including those by Justin Bieber and Michael BublĂ©.

Read more <here>

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

My Nativity Lesson

Last year I wrote an article for UKEdMag on teaching the nativity (see <here>) and have recently written a guest blog for the BYCS on the importance of studying the scripture of the nativity (coming soon!). For RE teachers, there is no excuse for wasted lessons at the end of this term. As a number of teachers seem to be struggling, I thought I would share my end of term 'fun' lesson:

It's not perfect, and perhaps needs to be further polished. I also haven't got to the tasks at the end yet in a 50minute lesson.

Both my Y9 classes loved the lesson today, as did my Y7s... one even said it was the best lesson ever!

Despite our tiredness, it is a privilege for our students to be in the classroom, and really they should be learning to the end. It does frustrate me a little when I hear of teachers watching random videos... especially in RE when there is a real opportunity for learning during the Christmas period.

Image courtesy of: http://www.dosmallthingswithlove.com/2013/11/33-nativity-crafts-christmas.html

Monday, 14 December 2015

UKEdMag - The Best Moments in RE: UNCUT

My latest article for UKEdMag is a collection celebrating why it is so great to be an RE teacher. Many thanks for all those who contributed in different ways. The final article is here: http://issuu.com/ukedchat/docs/uked_magazine_dec_2015/19 

Due to space constraints a few had to be chopped (nothing to do with quality), so here are the Best Moments UNCUT:

“A Muslim student once told me he no longer thought the Jews were behind 9/11 because I had pulled that theory apart” @tombennett71

“Being asked by a Year 13 not to report to his parents on his RS A-level because he had continued to study it secretly” Anon

Read them all <here>