Religion and Culture in the Classroom and the Curriculum Developing an Inclusive Curriculum Friday 7 September 2007 Dr Emma Tomalin, Subject Centre for Philosophical and Religious Studies and Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Religion and Culture in the Classroom and the Curriculum Developing an Inclusive Curriculum Friday 7 September 2007 Dr Emma Tomalin, Subject Centre for Philosophical and Religious Studies and Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of

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Title: Religion and Culture in the Classroom and the Curriculum Developing an Inclusive Curriculum Friday 7 September 2007 Dr Emma Tomalin, Subject Centre for Philosophical and Religious Studies and Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of


1
Religion and Culture in the Classroom and the
CurriculumDeveloping an Inclusive
CurriculumFriday 7 September 2007Dr Emma
Tomalin, Subject Centre for Philosophical and
Religious Studies and Department of Theology and
Religious Studies, University of Leeds
2
Supporting Cultural and Religious Diversity in
Higher Education
  • The PRS Subject Centre has been working with
    other subject centres to explore the implications
    of cultural and religious diversity in higher
    education.
  • For example, how does cultural and religious
    diversity impact upon teaching style, content,
    assessment and student support?
  • The project was set up in response to interest
    from the academic community as they find
    themselves working with an increasingly diverse
    student population.

3
Changing Dynamics in Higher Education and Wider
Society
  • Internationalisation
  • Widening participation
  • Debates about multiculturalism
  • New legislation The Employment Equality
    (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 were
    introduced in response to the EUs Employment
    Directive. Outlaws discrimination on grounds of
    religion or belief in employment and vocational
    training. Associated legislation, but outside of
    the immediate remit of this project, includes
    anti-racism legislation and the proposed
    anti-religious hatred laws.

4
The project so far.
  • Design and dissemination of questionnaire to
    individuals working in higher education
  • On-line resources to assist individuals in
    answering specific questions relating to cultural
    and religious diversity in their work
    environments
  • Faith Guides
  • Collection of good practice case studies.

5
Main focus of questionnaire
  • Asked respondents
  • to tell us about situations when they felt it was
    necessary to make adjustments to accommodate
    students cultural and religious needs.
  • what hindered and what helped them.
  • for suggestions about how Higher Education
    Academy subject centres could support staff in
    the future in similar situations.

6
  • My own lack of cultural awareness certainly
    hindered me at first. It is still something that
    I am learning on the job. There are also some
    issues relating to an institutional lack of
    cultural awareness within the NHS (healthcare).
  • I feel ignorant about religious beliefs and what
    the rules and customs are e.g. drinking
    behaviour, making jokes about the typical student
    lifestyle that might offend (psychology).
  • I would very much like some sort of general
    advice guide as to the branches of Muslim belief
    and other religions and an outline of the
    practices of these religions. For example,
    knowing that fasting may cause students to go to
    sleep in
  • class! (law).

7
  • A typical situation was finding or using relevant
    examples to illustrate the course content -
    management studies related to social services and
    care homes, in this example. Many of these
    students worked only within racial minorities and
    language, custom and practice differed from those
    of white colleagues. The situation is not unique
    to ethnic minorities of course - some parts of
    the UK are very different to others (business
    management and health).
  • I am pretty unaware of the potential needs a
    Muslim female might have for residential
    fieldwork arrangementsso a check list of things
    to consider, perhaps as a constructive way of
    having that conversation during making
    arrangements, might be useful (physical
    geography).

8
Main findings and their relationship to the
curriculum
  • In terms of situations that respondents had
    faced, four main categories
  • Religious festivals and holy days
  • Course content
  • Teaching styles
  • Student participation

9
Course content
  • reflecting worldviews, cultural background of
    students (e.g. teaching of psychology reflecting
    'western' values)
  • avoiding 'sensitive' issues? Sex(uality),
    politics (e.g. Islam and terrorism), evolutionary
    theory etc...
  • BUT, At what level is it appropriate to challenge
    views of students?

10
  • Teaching stylesBeing aware of teaching styles
    students are familiar with
  • Avoiding imposing stereotypes
  • Student participation
  • In social events (e.g. food and alcohol
    restrictions, gender issues)
  • In the classroom (e.g. mixed groups,
    anti-vivisection, clothing - health and safety
    regulations)
  • In work placements (e.g. clothing, restrictions
    facing women, cultural constraints concerning
    certain occupations)

11
Forthcoming paper
  • Tomalin, E., Pedagogy and Beyond Supporting
    Cultural and Religious Diversity in Higher
    Education. Teaching in Higher Education, 2007,
    12(5-6)  (special edition on Diversity and
    Commonality in Higher Education).
  • Web details for resource on religious and
    cultural diversity http//www.prs.heacademy.ac.uk
    /projects/diversity/index.html

12
Workshop activity
  • In groups/pairs discuss
  • An example from your own teaching experience or
    broader subject area where religious and cultural
    diversity has had or could have an impact upon
    the curriculum
  • How you did or could deal with this
  • What hindered and what helped
  • What support could be offered to academics to
    deal with religious and cultural diversity in the
    classroom
  • Whether and/or to what extent the curriculum
    should be broadened to accommodate religious and
    cultural perspectives
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