Key stage 3
THE HINDU EXPERIENCE. THE JEWISH EXPERIENCE. By Liz Aylett and Kevin O'Donnell.
THE BUDDHIST EXPERIENCE. By Mel Thompson.
THE SIKH EXPERIENCE. By Philip Emmett.
All also available in Foundation editions for special needs pupils, by Jan Thompson Hodder amp; Stoughton pound;6.99 each
These key stage 3 books offer information and activities about the six major world religions. The foundation edition for lower-ability pupils has been edited by a special needs consultant: the text is simpler and the print size is larger, reflecting the lower reading age of the foundation students. However, the same basic concepts are included.
Questions in each section allow students to consolidate their learning and occasional tasks in the foundation series connect concepts with the student's experiences, but in general these are informational texts. The boks are beautifully produced with high quality photographs.
Information is accurate and the books are written to conform to the QCA model syllabuses, so RE teachers will find them very useful, but for the same reason they are also limited. They claim to reflect the necessary balance between "learning about" and "learning from" and they certainly allow the student to "learn about" accurately. However '"learning from" is less well addressed, as there is no depth of engagement with the children's own experience that would allow a real understanding of the concepts. In fact the foundation texts probably do this better than the texts intended for the higher ability students .
The two demands of providing good quality information and activities that represent good pedagogy are probably incompatible in one small text. Nevertheless, the authors do a pretty good job.
Jane Erricker is principal lecturer in education at King Alfred's College, Winchester