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Companion worth taking

LEARNING TO TEACH RELIGIOUS EDUCATION IN THE SECONDARY SCHOOL: A Companion to School Experience. Edited by Andrew Wright and Ann-Marie Brandom. Routledge pound;16.99.

Anyone who embarks on the difficult journey towards qualified teacher status needs a good guidebook. As editors Andrew Wright and Ann-Marie Brandom point out in their introduction, most good teachers are made, not born. Their Companion is a valuable resource, although it fails to convey enough of the joy and humour most teachers are likely to find along the way.

The editors have assembled an impressive team of contributors: Vanessa Ogden writes authoritatively on teaching RE at post-16. Clive and Jane Erricker guide the reader skilfully through the intricacies of the spirituality in the classroom debate, and I particularly enjoyed the clear and comprehensive contributions from Trevor Cooling and Jo Bakkus in the teaching and learning section.

John Rudge's advice on assessment is sensible and encouraging.

There is a carefl balance too between the intellectual demands of current educational theory and sound contemporary classroom practice. It is encouraging to note that three of the contributors in the classroom issues section are practising teachers whose case studies and tasks draw on their experience.

The coverage of key issues is carefully structured with two contrasting chapters from Linda Rudge and Fred Hughes mapping the evolution of RE. The book continues through the curriculum to practical classroom issues including religious language, special needs and RE at key stage 4.

The section on cross curricular concerns contains the liveliest and most creative essay, by Andy Angel, on moral education, which captures the fun of RE better than anyone else.

The future needs of RE teachers are also anticipated with a discussion of continuing professional development and opportunities for ICT.

Janet Orchard Janet Orchard is head of humanities and RE at Central Foundation Girls' School, Bow

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