Places of Religious and Spiritual Significance
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Pilgrimage: 14 Of The World's Most Popular Spiritual Destinations

Pilgrimage: 14 Of The World's Most Popular Spiritual Destinations | Places of Religious and Spiritual Significance | Scoop.it
Every year millions of pilgrims travel to places with unique spiritual significance in hopes of experiencing elevation, transformation and attaining a new degree of wisdom.
Melanie Sharp's insight:

The Huffington Post, an online news blog has identified 14 of the most popular pilgrimage locations across the world. Recognising the significance of pilgrimage to billions of people worldwide and the diversity in religious and spiritual places, the article captures the essence of many popular pilgrimage sites.

 

Photo journalism is used to identify the major spiritual destinations and is accompanied by a short description of the site, making this an exceptional resource of a stage 2 classroom. It could be used for a whole class activity on the IWB, or the images and information printed to be used in small groups or pairs. Students may have limited prior understanding of some of these locations and sites, and therefore by providing facts in a relevant context their learning can deepen (Schellen and Valcke, 2005).

 

Key teaching points could be extended from significant places to include aspects of visual literacy, various text types, as well as visual arts appreciation. The images chosen portray powerful meanings and through their analysis students gain insight into the religion as they strengthen their visual literacy skills. Similarly, the presentation of this article allows students to explore various texts that provide information. Exploring the similarities and differences between this article and other news articles, television news reports, newsletters etc. may encourage the use of text type to be considered further. Appreciation of the artistic nature of the photographs provides an additional teaching point and KLA link.

 

A significant amount of this could be done simply through teacher questioning to challenge students, for example: 

What can you see in this picture? 

What makes it special? 

What country might this be in? 

What religion is this site associated with?

How has the photo been framed?

 

This resource provides a global perspective on places of religious and spiritual significance, however another classroom activity could be built around students replicating this article with sites from their local community. Students could be given an assessable take home project where they select, photograph and research a place that is significant to them.

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Religious Buildings - Resources - TES

Religious Buildings - Resources - TES | Places of Religious and Spiritual Significance | Scoop.it

"Think. Educate. Share

Religious Buildings: Power point to go with special places resources."

Melanie Sharp's insight:

Another aspect of places of religious and spiritual significance is physical places of communal worship. TES is the world’s largest collection of free teaching resources. Teachers are able to share and benefit for each other’s resources as they strive for excellence in the education sector, thus making it a valuable point of reference for teaching. This specific link has a downloadable PowerPoint and two supporting worksheets that provide fundamental information on places of worship for stage 2 students.

 

The PowerPoint introduces the topic with questions for students about their special place, how they respect and value their special place and why people may have different special places. The PowerPoint can be used to facilitate a whole class discussion. The first of the worksheets gives students the opportunity to individually consider and process these questions on a more personal level. Individual work is also beneficial as it allows for a greater diversity of responses, encourages greater depth and complexity and allows accurate evaluation and reflection (Kingore, 2004).

 

 

They also could be used effectively as not only an introduction activity, but at the end of the topic as a way of observing students’ changes in understanding and personal development.

 

The following slide introduces the vocabulary of six religious buildings including Gurdwara, Temple, Mosque, Synagogue, Mandir and Church in a fun and interactive manner. The remainder of the PowerPoint identifies each religious building, connecting it with a world religious tradition and includes various photos of each building. 

 

The other accompanying worksheet revises the PowerPoint content and extends the learning as students consider worship and what it may look like in these places. Here students are able to direct their own learning as they think critically about their new and prior understanding. 

 

This resource also increases the students written literacy and semantic knowledge, as well as providing a more concrete form for teachers to assess understanding and provide feedback to every student.

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Watch now: Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly | Religion and Social Media | PBS Video

Do Facebook and Twitter deepen or weaken the bonds of faith communities?
Melanie Sharp's insight:

This video resource by PBS presents an alternative perspective on places of religious and spiritual significance as it explores the growing trend of online church movements and the introduction of social media to the religious sphere. The PBS video suggests that places of religious and spiritual significance are now no longer exclusively physical, but virtual as well with thousands of people participating in church services online. This new virtual religious community seeks creative ways to reach out and connect with the wider community, bringing church into comfort zones and familiar physical settings. 

 

This resource may classify as more of a challenge or extension activity, and therefore require additional support and scaffolding. For instance, students should be introduced to the videos key ideas beforehand, including any particular vocabulary that may be crucial to understanding the video. A viewing guide could also be provided (example available from http://pov-tc.pbs.org/pov/docs/Copies%20of%20Viewing%20Guide.pdf) to encourage student engagement and participation. 

 

After viewing, students could be encouraged to be involved in a small group discussion comparing online and real world special places. With this talking and listening activity they can contribute not only their thoughts and ideas from the video, but also consider how technology and the internet in particular has shaped their own lives and places of significance for themselves. 

 

To include a further literacy aspect to the use of this resource, students could create a persuasive piece of writing that aims to convince the reader of the benefit of either physical or virtual places of worship. To support this, T charts and graphic organisers could be used to assist students to organise their ideas, allowing them to rearrange ideas based on priority and clearly compare and contrast their ideas. Organising ideas is also an important step to develop students in their thinking about how to convince another person to see a different point of view (Northern Territory Government Department of Education and Training, 2010). This task could be assessable, enabling the teacher to understand how students have grasped the concept of various places of religious and spiritual significance.

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NSW Atlas of Aboriginal Places | NSW Environment & Heritage

NSW Atlas of Aboriginal Places | NSW Environment & Heritage | Places of Religious and Spiritual Significance | Scoop.it

"The Atlas comprises a map and table of declared Aboriginal Places in NSW."

Melanie Sharp's insight:

This interactive atlas of NSW contributes a unique Indigenous perspective on spiritual places of significance, making it an ideal resource to engage students in their HSIE learning. Zooming in and out on the map view, students can manipulate the map to explore and discover a range of declared Aboriginal places in NSW. Further details are also provided for each place, describing the location and explaining its history and importance to Aboriginal people, as well as suggesting resources for additional information. 

 

The table view presents similar information in a varied form, listing Aboriginal places by name and identifying the local government area, Aboriginal land council and additional comments. A type filter is also available, distinguishing between sacred sites, burial grounds, settlements and other places, making for easy navigation around the webpage.

 

Through this resource students can gain an authentic insight into the special relationship of Aboriginal people to the land. As Aboriginal perspectives are required to be embedded across all Key Learning Areas, this resource is of great value and provides an opportunity for students to learn about, acknowledge and respect the history and culture of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders (Harrison and Greenfield, 2010). Summaries on some sacred sites are given, however it is noted that the location information of particular places have been generalised for culturally sensitivity. The material provided is accurate and up-to-date, demonstrating the link between a significant history of a physical place, as well as the significance of the places and their current state of use.

 

This resource could be utilised within a computer room setting, students could participate in a jigsaw activity where every student becomes an expert on a differing place and composes a small information report. Working in groups of three or four, students can then discuss the similarities and differences between the places and further explore spiritual places of significance.

 

While the composer of this resource does not appear to be Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, there is recognition and acknowledgement that there has been Indigenous participation in the research, writing and presentation process and through specifying the local Aboriginal land council the diversity of Aboriginal societies and cultures is acknowledged. 

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Places-of-worship.pdf

Melanie Sharp's insight:

This PDF provided by the Red Cross Crescent Statutory Meetings provides a comprehensive list of places of worship situated close to Sydney CBD, from a variety of religions and denominations. The clear and easy to read format provides important information such as the type of religious tradition, the location, as well as a contact number for each place.

 

This would be an ideal resource for any primary teacher interested in organising an excursion to places of religious and spiritual significance in the local Sydney area. Literature is conclusive about the idea that excursion experiences form long-lasting memories, therefore supporting the inclusion of excursions and recognising their value in learning (Falk and Dierking, 1997).

 

This resource is also a helpful beginning point for teachers in understanding that religion, in particular Christianity is multifaceted, and is expressed differently within various churches. For example this list differentiates local Anglican churches from Baptist and Presbyterian churches, encouraging teachers to explore some of the finer differences in places of significance rather than stereotyping Christianity as a whole.

 

When participating in an excursion, students could take note of stand out features of the place of significance, as well as have the opportunity to engage with that particular community and discover why various places are significant to them. One possible assessment could be a group investigative task, where students select a religion and research and present on significant places for that religion.

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