What is REsilience?
REsilience is supported by the Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC). This website is for REsilience in English schools.
REsilience is a self evaluation, planning and training opportunity for teachers of RE. The programme is school based and can be tailored to individual needs. Its purpose is to help increase teachers’ confidence when addressing contentious issues, particularly where religious ideas are sometimes used to try to justify extremism and violence.
Belief-based extremism raises contentious and highly sensitive issues and is a topical area of public interest. Most young people are aware that throughout history some extremists have used belief-based arguments to justify violence against people with whom they disagree. Whether young people are equally well-informed about the motivation for such attacks, or about the attitude of mainstream believers, is less certain.
Reasons for lack of confidence in tackling contentious issues in RE lessons vary from teacher to teacher, and circumstances vary from school to school. The issues arising from religious and other belief-based extremism require specific teaching and learning methods. Using thinking skills and approaches that encourage collaboration, students learn to recognise and consider wider perspectives. REsilience aims to help teachers foster debate, dialogue and the development of respect and understanding.
In RE, young people explore the faiths, beliefs and values of our communities; but raising or responding to questions about extremism poses challenges for even the most experienced teachers. An important aspect of this subject is the dispelling of ignorance and misconceptions that create suspicion and barriers between communities. Hence the need for REsilience.
The aims of REsilience are to:
- increase confidence in addressing contentious issues, particularly those sometimes linked with violent extremism
- provide continuous professional development opportunities for all teachers of RE
- encourage reflective practice
How does REsilience work?
The programme offers:
- a portfolio of resources including Gateways - specially developed for use by teachers to boost their own knowledge and confidence. They are not intended for classroom use but, rather, to give quick pointers and information to teachers who have little time to spare. They all include ‘signposts’ to further information and other resources (including classroom resources in some cases) for teachers who want to pursue the topic further.
- self evaluation and action planning tools
- if desired, a mentor who acts as a facilitator to support each school through the process. Mentors may support individual schools and their teachers for up to a term through face-to-face meeting and email or telephone contact and discussions, as dictated by the needs of each school. For further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org