The aims of REsilience are to:
- increase confidence in addressing contentious issues, particularly those sometimes linked with violent extremism
- provide continuous professional development opportunities for all teachers of RE
- encourage reflective practice
Belief-based extremism raises contentious and highly sensitive issues and is a topical area of public interest. Most young people are aware that throughout history some extremists have used belief-based arguments to justify violence against people with whom they disagree. Whether young people are equally well-informed about the motivation for such attacks, or about the attitude of mainstream believers, is less certain.
Reasons for lack of confidence in tackling contentious issues in RE lessons vary from teacher to teacher, and circumstances vary from school to school. The issues arising from religious and other belief-based extremism require specific teaching and learning methods. REsilience aims to help teachers foster debate, dialogue and the development of respect and understanding.
In RE, young people explore the faiths, beliefs and values of our communities; but raising or responding to questions about extremism poses challenges for even the most experienced teachers. An important aspect of this subject is the dispelling of ignorance and misconceptions that create suspicion and barriers between communities. Hence the need for REsilience.
This page offers:
- a portfolio of resources including lesson ideas, reviews and Gateways specially developed for use by teachers to boost their own knowledge and confidence. The Gateways are not intended for classroom use but, rather, to give quick pointers and information to teachers who have little time to spare. They all include ‘signposts’ to further information and other resources (including classroom resources in some cases) for teachers who want to pursue the topic further.
- self-evaluation and action planning tools
These resources relate to REsilience in English schools. For further information, please contact us
The REsilience programme developed a series of Gateways - a range of materials to support teachers in tackling controversial issues which may arise in RE lessons.
Each Gateway document responds to key questions:
- Why is this a contentious topic?
- Why is RE relevant to this topic?
- What classroom challenges might arise in RE?
- How can teachers address such challenges?
There are four sections - each responding to a section of the Self Evaluation Questionnaire. Each Gateway also gives suggestions for further reading and resources.
You can download the Gateways individually from this page, depending on the topic you are interested in.
1.1: Controversial and contentious issues – terms at the heart of REsilience. View
1.2: Key terms. View
1.3: Terminology related to religious education View
1.4, 1.5 and 1.6: Why do people have different beliefs? Why do people have different interpretations of the same religion? Why are the consequences of faith not the same for all people who profess the same religion or tradition? View
1.7: How do different traditions find answers to ultimate questions and ethical issues? View
1.8: Shared values View
The primary or secondary Self Evaluation Questionnaire (SEQ) will assist a school in reviewing and analysing how confident teachers feel in tackling controversial issues.
Once the SEQ has been completed and analysed, the action planning tool can assist a school in clarifying the issues raised and help to develop a clear, targetted action plan to achieve desired outcomes.
This unit overview for Identity, tradition and belonging exemplifies some possible teaching activities for two lessons within the unit:
- Lesson 2: Stereotyping and fears: why do people fear difference and how does this fear manifest itself?
- Lesson 3: Marital traditions and beliefs: are all traditions and beliefs acceptable?
Each lesson is accompanied by a series of resources.
Lesson 2: Stereotyping and fears: why do people fear difference and how does this fear manifest itself?
Resource 1: Genesis 11, The Tower of Babel View
Resource 2: Quotes View
Resource 3: Albania and Besa View
Resource 4: Account from brothers Hamid and Xhemal Vesel View
Resource 5: Story of Nuro Hoxha, told by son Sazan Hoxha View
Resource 6: Story of Besim and Aishe Kadiu, told by daughter Merushe Kadiu View
Resource 7: Story of Destan and Lime Balla, told by Lime Balla View
Resource 8: Story of Ali Sheqer Pashkaj, told by son Enver Alia Sheqer View
Lesson 3: Marital traditions and beliefs: are all traditions and beliefs acceptable?
Resource 1: Forced marriages report from Birmingham View video
Resource 2: What religions have to say about marriage View
Resource 3: Generational Differences of beliefs and practices about the purpose and value of marriage. View
Resource 4: Role play View
Resource 5: Activity - Conscience Alley View
Resource 6: Information sheet View
As part of the REsilience programme, a series of book, website and other reviews were written by REsilience mentors in 2011. All of these resources are referred to in one or more of the Gateway documents. The reviews have been collated into the following downloadable PDFs, which you may like to consult as you are using the Gateways: