Bringing the new GCSE Religious Studies curriculum to life

22 August 2016

Susan Kambalu

Susan Kambalu is CAFOD’s Secondary School INSET Coordinator. In this blog she explains how she has worked with teachers to share a global dimension of the new Religious Studies GCSE.

One of the aspects I really enjoy in my role training teachers about global justice issues, is getting to trial and share new resources. It’s even more satisfying when a resource I’ve developed for training purposes becomes a classroom resource as a response to teacher requests.

This recently happened with our new Catholic Social Teaching cards (CST cards). When I used them in training, teachers would comment on how useful they would be in their lessons. These have now become one of our key resources to support the new GCSE Religious Studies specifications.

Catholic Social Teaching cardsThe set of 48 cards covers some key Catholic Social Teaching principles, such as dignity, stewardship and solidarity. They include:

  • definitions;
  • Scripture quotes;
  • passages from Church teaching documents;
  • quotes from contemporary films;
  • scenarios that young people might face;
  • stories from the work of CAFOD around the world.

Teachers often feed back that the great thing about them is their flexibility. They are double sided, with easier or shorter quotes on one side, so they can be used for differentiation purposes, for different age groups or simply to double the number of relevant passages or stories. You can simply match the principles to the quotes, choose the relevant cards to cover three or four principles, or try to complete the “full house”.

The accompanying teachers’ notes also give 17 suggested activities, but we’re sure teachers will be able to think of more!

The cards are only one of our many resources that we’ve produced to support the new GCSE. Other resources include:

  • learning about conflict and peace-building;
  • the causes and effects of poverty and Christian responses to that;
  • finding out more about stewardship and CAFOD’s approach to sustainability;
  • activities and films related to refugees.

Photo of Susan Kambalu delivering INSET to teachersIt’s been great to be able to share examples of global justice in action through these activities, and I’ve enjoyed teaching with them in some of the schools that have welcomed me as we were trialling them. Students got particularly frustrated by the injustices they experienced in one of our short sessions on exploitation. I was really struck by the rich debrief at the end of this short starter activity.

We also have many videos that can be used in class or watched by young people independently. One of our newest videos that we’ve already had a great response to is our animation about human dignity, which fits into the Catholic specifications.

As RE teachers face these new GCSE specifications, I hope they will find our resources a help in bringing some of the issues they now need to cover to life.

Register for your free Religious Education resources, mapped to the exam specifications, at: cafod.org.uk/gcse

Browse through all secondary RE resources listed in the Global Dimension database

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