Belief Systems
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The Rainbow Serpent

Aboriginal people have their own set of their spiritual beliefs which are often conveyed through stories. The Dreamtime is the Creation Period in Aboriginal spirituality and there are many stories surrounding The Dreamtime, such as the story in this video clip. This video features the Rainbow Serpent, named Goorrialla; a sacred creature that Aboriginal people believe to be the creator of humans. In this video we are told the story of how mountains, trees, birds and animals were created.  This video was created by two prominent Aboriginal people; Dr Richard Walley and Dick Roughsey.

 

Although this video clip is only three minutes, it tells not only this Aboriginal story but also gives an insight into how Dreamtime stories are incorporated into other elements of Aboriginal culture, such as digeridoo music in the auditory background and Aboriginal themed art in as the visuals. This tells students that a belief system is not an isolated entity, but exists alongside other aspects of a culture, making them inextricably linked.


In a classroom, I suggest this video could be linked to English studies as students could sketch pictures as a storyboard in order to show the series of events which occurred and how character’s actions influenced the creation of landforms and animals.

 

This video is a great resource as it gives great insight into Aboriginal Dreamtime stories as well as some understanding of Aboriginal culture and religious beliefs. 

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Religion - City of Sydney

Religion - City of Sydney | Belief Systems | Scoop.it

This website is set up by the City of Sydney Government and shows statistics of religious groups in Sydney and New South Wales. This site takes its statistics from 2006 and 2011, the most recent Australian census years. The website shows its data on column graphs which depicts data visually, as well as in terms of percentages.

 

I would recommend in a classroom that the ‘current area’ tab is used according to the suburb of the school. When a specific suburb is chosen the webpage relates all its content to that suburb! I think it would be useful to choose the suburb of that particular school to relate the content directly to the students’ local area. Furthermore, when a suburb is chosen, its statistics on religious adherence may be compared, for example, to NSW or Greater Sydney under the ‘current benchmark’ tab.  

 

While Stage 1 students may find this website a bit challenging to use unassisted, I would recommend the teacher take the class through this website, perhaps with the use of a projector to show them statistics relevant to their location. It would depend on the level of academic, mathematical and technological skills present in of that class as to whether the whole class, small groups or pairs would investigate this website further. I suggest that this website could also be used as an integrated learning tool; incorporating mathematical statistics or graphing with their HSIE studies. 

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Religions of the world

This youtube clip shows the growth of the five largest world religions in a world map using a time line. The time line spans from 3,000BC to 2,000AD, along which viewers travel, seeing on the world map when and where the spread of religions occured. Each world religion has its own colour which means that each religion is very clear in what could easily be a very complicated video!

 

This video is interesting as in its mere two minute time span, without any sound, it conveys that religions are from thousands of years ago and from many countries. The time line in this clip I think is very useful as, beginning in 3,000BC, it shows the link between religion and world history. This historical aspect is enhanced by the inclusion of historical battles (eg. The Crusades) which affected the spread of religions across the world. Therefore, this clip depicts the idea that religions are a global phenomenon which occurred throughout history, not isolated personal or family beliefs.

 

I think teachers should be aware that only in the last second of the clip (1’55) we see the current state of global religious adherence, which I suggest is paused for the class to see and perhaps discuss, especially in relation to the current religious followings of different countries. Overall I think this video is a useful learning tool in which students may experience the ever changing nature of global religion. 

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Faith in schools: The dismantling of Australia's secular public education system – Opinion – ABC Religion & Ethics (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Faith in schools: The dismantling of Australia's secular public education system – Opinion – ABC Religion & Ethics (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) | Belief Systems | Scoop.it

This article discusses a current area of debate in Australia about the way in which religious education is taught in public schools. There is a call for a shift in educational practice surrounding religious education, arguing it should not be based solely on Christian philosophy, but instead educating students on many religions. Furthermore, there are allegations that in some cases religious education “indoctrinates” students into following Christian beliefs.

 

The ABC website, from which this article is taken, has an array of interesting and up to date articles of similar nature under the ‘Religion and Ethics’ section of its website. Due to the thousands of articles in this section, I suggest search terms involving ‘education’ or ‘schooling’ to refine the search to be relevant to teachers.

 

This article follows a conference hosted by the Humanist Society of Queensland in which discussions specifically included; Religious Instruction carried out in the classroom and Chaplains in state schools. This article calls for a national review of Religious Education in public schools as many people feel that only focusing on a Christian perspective is outdated in Australia’s multicultural country.

 

Whatever the teachers’ personal religious views are, I feel it is important for any teacher who teaches Religious Education to be mindful of what they are teaching students and how it affects their students’ worldview, particularly students in their early years of schooling and life.  

 

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World Religions for Children

World Religions for Children | Belief Systems | Scoop.it

This website gives information on the six largest world religions in a way accessible to school students. It gives statistics on the number of followers worldwide for each of these major religions, as well as clearly formatted information on each of these religions. Students, I feel, need a solid understanding on the basic facts of these prominent world religions and this website is the best one I have found for students at Stage One level.

The ‘World Religions’ Main-page provides statistical information on global religious adherence plus individual tabs for each of the following religions; Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism and Sikhism. Other information around the website is specific to Christianity and/or Britain so I suggest for a better overview the user stays within the aforementioned search areas.

 

Within each specific religion page there is more information than probably needed at Stage One level, but even though there is a great deal of information it is written quite simply. I like this website in the way which is set out in a ‘question-answer’ style, meaning it is easy to find specific information about the religion.

 

I suggest that if using this website for Stage One students, a teacher could set specific questions to be answered, thus allowing for the demonstration of IT and comprehension skills. This would also limit the amount of difficult religious concepts that Stage One students would have to read. It is almost unavoidable for religion to be complicated as its ideologies are complex and ethereal, but I think the way in which this website deals with the important facts and questions in a straight forward manner is advantageous in the classroom setting. 

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