Artefacts and Visual Images
What does our school need to consider?
Do we have access in school to a sufficient range of religious artefacts and visual images?
Many schools have their own collections of artefacts that have been gathered through various means, for example from local or national suppliers, or as gifts from faith communities and families. Increasingly, digital images of both artefacts and other visual images are also being collected together. Some libraries and museums also have artefact-loan facilities.
Are we making the most effective and challenging use of religious artefacts and visual resources?
Many teachers have developed a wide range of imaginative ways of including artefacts and visual images in RE. The use of artefacts is central to a number of developed pedagogical methods, including Gift to the Child and Godly Play/Spirited Play. The storage and handling of religious artefacts also conveys important messages about their value.
Should we be providing or seeking more guidance on the use of religious artefacts in RE?
Although the use of religious artefacts has been standard fare in good RE for many decades, evidence from the DCSF report on RE resources suggests that many teachers feel the need for more guidance. This would probably relate to issues such as the best way to integrate artefacts into teaching and learning (see above), being aware of sensitivities, and appropriate and inappropriate ways of handling. Many of the books that have been published on the use of religious artefacts in teaching contain helpful guidance and tips. Some of the national suppliers of religious and cultural artefacts offer such publications in their teachers' resources sections.