Why does RE matter today?

Why does RE matter today?

Soulscape’s REvive project aims to bring Religious Education to life. We support RE in schools with interactive workshops, real-life stories and creative activities.

Given all the other pressing issues we discuss with young people, some might think that RE would be way down the list of priorities. Why do we still think that doing RE in schools is important?

What the experts say

Politicians say that RE “helps communities to get along”. This article explains that “RE gives children chances to consider religious and ethical issues from alternative points of view.” Stephen Lloyd MP said that RE teaching is “more important than ever before”.

He said religions were “often portrayed inaccurately” in society at large, and teaching RE could break down the prejudice that could develop as a consequence.

“Schools and colleges are a safe and trusted place to explore religions, conflict and world views in a constructive and positive way.”

But about 50% of teachers and teaching assistants say they lack confidence teaching RE.

That’s why we developed the REvive project. We agree that to live in our society today, it’s vital that young people gain an understanding of faith and how it affects people’s lives – but sadly, RE lessons are often affected when school finances are tight.

How we do it

REvive creates a safe space to debate and reflect. Through games and creative activities, we help students think more deeply about topics on the curriculum, like how does your faith affect what you do? How and why do people pray? What’s the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation?

We carefully choose a range of volunteers to explain their different beliefs, opinions and real-life experiences of these issues. This authentic approach takes RE out of the realm of theory and into everyday life. It helps young people to hear and appreciate different points of view, instead of relying on the stereotypes of religion they may see in the media, or the limited range of the textbook.

This not only helps them to remember information at exam time, but equips them to live thoughtfully in a society full of people with different beliefs, passions and motivations.

What the students say

We’ve run two dedicated REvive days in Wokingham schools this term. The students told us:

“It helps our understanding, as they engage with us and we can see their points of view, helping us become aware of things more thoroughly.”

“Yes, it’s worth Soulscape coming in to school. It puts religion into perspective and makes it more ‘real’.”

“Because of you guys coming in today, I could get a better understanding about prayers. It was interesting – and better to hear someone who has actually experienced stuff like this talking about it than just sticking to what our teachers and the textbook tell us.”

“We had meaningful conversations and discussion as well as learning others’ opinions.”

“They make the lessons fun and interactive. If I had a test now, I would get a much better mark.”

“It is worth having Soulscape come in, as rather than reading out of a textbook, you can emotionally connect with real life stories coming from people like us.”

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