The Implementation- How we teach what we teach
Discovery RE advocates an enquiry model (recommended by Ofsted in “Religious education: realising the potential”, 2013) with a 4-step approach as the basis for implementation.
Every unit (enquiry) is based around a key question. The key question for the enquiry is such that it demands an answer that weighs up ‘evidence’ (subject knowledge) and reaches a conclusion based on this. This necessitates children using their subject knowledge and applying it to the enquiry question, rather than this knowledge being an end in itself.
Discovery RE focuses on critical thinking skills, on personal reflection into the child’s own thoughts and feelings, on growing subject knowledge and nurturing spiritual development.
The children start from their own experience to ensure understanding of the concept being studied then move into investigating that concept in depth from the point of view of the chosen religion. This continues over three lessons of investigation and discussion throughout Step 2, which embeds subject knowledge. These lessons not only support the children with embedding their RE knowledge, but also contribute to their oracy and critical thinking skills. Exposure to and analysis of religious texts can also enhance their reading, comprehension and inference skills. In Step 3, they complete an assessment activity to evaluate the question again in light of their new knowledge, and have further opportunities to embed their own reflections on the learning in Step 4.
The recommended Discovery RE model for Key Stages 1 and 2, of studying Christianity plus one other religion in each year group, means both religions have multiple enquiries (or 6 week units) per year. This ensures that the children revisit prior learning for both religions throughout the year to build on the previous enquiries, and Christmas and Easter enquiries are built on year-on-year throughout the child’s primary school journey.
In addition to this, the medium-term nature of the Discovery RE planning allows teachers the freedom to plan with detail and attention to their individual children. Learners can be scaffolded, and any individual needs can be supported where necessary. Greater depth children can be challenged to ensure that they are being given the opportunities to enrich their learning further.