Religion is suddenly perceived as high profile internationally (9/11, Israel-Palestine, London bombings). It arouses interest at the level of popular reading ("The Da Vinci Code"), critical diatribe (Dawkins), and educational controversy (Faith Schools). Against that background, there is a renewed interest in how schools can best equip boys and girls to be critically intelligent about beliefs and values. It is evident in continental Europe, in the US and in Asia. Throughout the world, Citizenship Education and Moral Education are receiving special attention, but in themselves they are incomplete, for they commonly overlook religion. This book argues the importance that public education should have as a priority not only that pupils become literate, numerate and sociate, but also 'religiate'. In this fascinating study, Professor Brian Gates sets out the grounds for the distinctive approach to Religious Education. He argues that this approach, central to which is a comprehensive network of local ecumenical councils, is a model worthy of global imitation. As part of the argument, Professor Gates examines four areas of complementary concern.
The first is the logic of religion in education and the second concerns the process of religious development. Are there stages of understanding? What sense do children and young people have of God and transcendence, as of death and finitude? The third is the relationship between RE and Moral Education - their respective autonomies and mutual challenge. And the fourth is that of Collective Worship and its appropriateness or otherwise in public educational provision.
Brian Gates is Professor of Religious and Moral Education in the Division of Religion and Philosophy at St Martin's College, Lancaster, UK (becoming the University of Cumbria in 2007). He is Chair of the Religious Education Council of England and Wales and Deputy Chair of the European Association for World Religions in Education.
INTRODUCTION: Some common threads; PART ONE: Rationale and curriculum content; 1. Varieties of Religious Education; 2. Religious Education: a proper humanism; 3. Groundwork for the future: curriculum innovation in RE; 4. Teaching world religions in Great Britain; 5. The One & the Many: world religions in English and Welsh schools; 6. The real context for world religions in education?; 7. National Curriculum and Values in Education; 8. The matter of provision; 9. Secular Education & the Logic of Religion: shall we reinvent the wheel?; 10. The End of Religion in the UK and Beyond. 11. E pluribus unum: the test and promise of religious education; 12. Signalling transcendence: beyond the National Framework for RE; PART TWO: Children's religious and moral development; 1. Readiness for religion; 2. Religion in the child's own core curriculum; 3. The politics of Religious Education; 4. On picturing God: a personal view; 5. Children understanding death; 6. Children prospecting for commitment; 7. Sensing God; 8. Who do you love?; 9. How far do RE Programmes relate to Social + Psychological Development; PART THREE: Moral Education; 1. Religious Education & Moral Education: end of a beautiful relationship; 2. ME + RE = Kohlberg with a difference; 3. Religion, morality & education: constitutionally incongruent?; 4. RE and ME: autonomy and interdependence; PART FOUR: Collective Worship; 1. School assemblies and the boundaries of Moral Education; 2. Worship where the child is; 3. Where we go from here; PART FIVE: Church-related Schools, Colleges, and Universities; 1. Religious Studies in polytechnics and colleges of higher education; 2. RE and worship: integral mission statements for a church college; 3. The role of a Christian university in a secular & multi-faith society; 4. 'Faith Schools': beyond the polarities; 5. Faith Schools and Colleges: 1800 - 2000; CONCLUDING REFLECTIONS: Challenges ahead.