Research in RE
What do we need to consider?
Would it be worth conducting our own small-scale research project into RE?
There is much talk of the need for an effective teacher to be a 'reflective practitioner'. Many teachers undertake research as part of working towards accredited qualifications (such as an MEd) and, although the new Masters in Teaching and Learning is designed to be classroom based, a review of research literature remains an important component. There is nothing, of course, to prevent teachers carrying out their own independent small-scale research project.
Would it be worth accessing research carried out by others?
The Farmington Institute in Oxford has made grants available for many years to allow teachers who have applied and been selected ('Farmington Fellows') to carry out research into, and report on, aspects of RE of their own choice. Each of the reports is listed and summarised on the Farmington website, for example, on 'Resources for teaching Sikhism at Key Stage 1', 'Improving the resources for six world faiths in a rural area', and 'Appraising RE resources for primary children with special needs'. The full reports can either be requested or downloaded.
Do we need to be more methodical in looking at RE resource-related literature and following through possible implications for school RE?
A number of the articles published in RE and RE-related journals and magazines – such as the British Journal of Religious Education, REtoday incorporating the former REsource journal - relate in some way to resources used in RE. Occasional articles and reviews carried in the more general education press - such as the (Times Education Supplement) – also refer to particular RE resources or to RE resources in general.