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Religious Studies trip - passage to india

A Level Religious Studies trip: a passage to India

What were we trying to achieve?

  • to enrich students’ understanding of Hinduism and other eastern religions through live, first-hand and multi-sensory experiences
  • to nurture students’ insight into what religion means through meeting and conversing with members of various religions
  • to assist students to reflect and respond thoughtfully and ethically to the challenges, ambiguities and opportunities of life
  • to help students build cultural bridges and promote mutual appreciation and social cohesion
Religious Studies trip - passage to india
Sixth formers step beyond their comfort zone to learn about others and themselves.

Who was involved?

12 students were involved in this Religious Studies trip (16-18 years old, mixed gender, mainly studying Religious Studies) and 2 teachers; during November half-term break (extended either side)

Preparation

Students were academically well-versed in Hinduism and other religions. They were asked to consider various issues such as appropriate dress. Detailed health and safety and risk assessment checks were undertaken. The tour operator and guide ensured good organisation.

How did we organise the learning? Religious Studies trip - mendhi

The visit provided opportunity for engaging, personalised and meaningful learning through :

  • visiting various sites (e.g. forts, temples, shrines, temples and memorials)
  • directly experiencing how spirituality pervades all aspects of Indian life and reflecting on experiences – through fun, play, creativity and more disciplined learning
  • responding to challenges, uncertainty and ambiguity: the unusual driving, the climate, seeing a corpse in the Ganges, people staring, the material poverty, the simultaneous depth of culture and spirituality, getting closer to nature – experiencing exotic animals
  • interacting culturally, through food, dance performance, shopping, trying on saris, a Bollywood film
  • building bridges, linking the unusual to the familiar, and exploring the historical links between India and the UK (e.g. visiting the war memorial, the ashram where the Beatles stayed or riding the railways)
  • promoting inclusivity (e.g. meeting and conversing with priests, shopkeepers and rickshaw drivers)

What was the impact of the experience?

‘Tremendous – the experience of a lifetime. One student talked about his “hair standing on end” whilst watching a religious ceremony. Students will never forget this experience.’

‘Students were even more enthusiastic about questioning, learning and the subject of Religious Studies.’

Follow up

The students assisted by teachers, organised a presentation evening for parents, school staff, governors and other students. Students brought their experiences and insights back into the classroom, enriching the quality and effectiveness of peer teaching, confronting stereotypes and augmenting their ‘text-book’ knowledge.

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