Judaism question controversy

8th June 2012 at 01:00

Racism can never be justified. That's why the AQA exam board's question on a GCSE Judaism paper asking students to "Explain, briefly, why some people are prejudiced against Jews" provoked such outcry from the Board of Deputies of British Jews, among other organisations.

As a religious studies teacher teaching the AQA GCSE, I think that a discussion around stereotyping and scapegoating is important and legitimate. However, I can't help thinking that in this situation some students might just list all the worst sorts of objectionable things about the group specified, without making reference to flawed upbringing or ignorance as an explanation for the racist views - and there is no doubt that this is what AQA had in mind when it wrote the exam. My real worry is that these kinds of badly written exam questions can limit and lead to "bad RE" teaching. The best religious studies teaching is done by teachers who attempt to convey religions and their context in society in an engaging and authentic way.

Flora Richards, Teacher of religious studies and chair of the Jewish Teachers' Association.

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