Valuing religious education

13th February 1998 at 00:00
Why do so many things in education seem to have to be so naively black or white? William Robb ("Values bid to replace RE classes", TESS, February 6) suggests that RE, among other things, should be scrapped in favour of values education. Chief among his arguments seems to be that its removal would soften the blow of RE on teachers who find themselves "uneasy" about delivering it in the classroom. We really are on a slippery slope when we start removing subjects because teachers feel uneasy about them. Next stop burning books which make us "uneasy"?

Values education is part of a whole school's ethos - all teachers "teach" morals, either explicitly or implicitly, and values are part of every subject in all sectors of education. RE teachers in the secondary school have developed a fair degree of expertise in the area, and have the time to consider values more explicitly than anywhere else. As for the primary school, RE provides as good a vehicle for the discussion of ethics as do many other subjects. That RE perhaps raises some of the more uncomfortable questions of morality is a benefit - not something we should shirk from because it makes us feel uneasy.

Importantly, there is no such thing as "value-free values education", which is, I suspect, what Mr Robb's aim ultimately is. To introduce yet another subject into the already crowded curriculum won't help.

JOE WALKER

Teacher of religious studies Kirkfield View, Livingston Village West Lothian

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now