The two lesson plans I have uploaded are for the Religion and Philosophy course at Saint Francis Xavier Sixth Form College. The first lesson plan was on disability and the second lesson was on the meaning of life.
The lesson begins with pictures of famous disabled people on the first slide. The students are given six minutes to see who they recognise. The pictures are picked deliberately so most of the disabled people have hidden or sensory disabilities. This is to elicit the question ‘what is their disability’ from the students. The following slide has the definitions of hidden, sensory and physical disabilities which the students then write down. This worked well, though the pictures that displayed famous people with physical disabilities gave away the topic of the lesson a bit too quickly.
After this was the main task, which I split into two tasks for the lesson plan at 12.5 mins each. Originally, the disability lesson at the school had been planned with the main task that got the students to act out different disabilities, in the hope, the task would increase empathy. There was some uncertainty regarding the appropriateness of this task, so I developed a new task in which the students had to read blogs written by disabled people on SCOPE. The aim of this task was to increase empathy towards disabled people. To increase the effectiveness of this task I used the jigsaw model which I read in an article by Geoff Petty. Four groups are made, to begin with, each group was given one article to read. Each group has a worksheet with sections for all case studies on, however, they only fill in their own section. After this, each group is mixed again, one person from each group. The groups use each other’s information to complete the rest of the sheets. I found this task worked very well and is great at making each student speak and engage with the lesson material.
The following task was to fill in the worksheet on the social model. I also spoke to the head of ALS (additional learning support) to develop the content of my lesson. She informed me of a new model that has replaced the model on the current syllabus, the biopsychosocial model which is used rather than the social model. Though I am now aware of this, the purpose of the lesson was to increase empathy towards the disabled. The social model is a simpler concept, and the jigsaw task takes about a third of the lesson. Thus, I decided to teach the social model, though I explained what is considered as its main weakness by the ALS, is that disabled people don’t necessarily wish to identify as their disability but rather as individuals.
Lastly, we went over the equality act. I asked the students to memorise the different sections, then moved the slide to see how many they could remember. The students seemed to enjoy this and were giving answers enthusiastically. After that we had a group discussion and asked each student say one thing that they had learned to assess knowledge, further facilitating learning by getting students to model correct answers. Through the completed worksheets and discussion, I was able to assess the students learning.
The meaning of life to Hindus and Christians lesson started with a slide presenting images supposed to represent the cycle of samsara. The students were asked what the picture represents and to generate discussion points with the person next to them. For the Hinduism lesson, I wanted to try a new discussion technique which I learnt from my mentor. Each learner was given a question sheet. Two opposing lines were made from the class divided in half, one labelled A and the other B. Each line faced each other, and a direction in which to move was assigned. The first learner in the ‘A’ line asked the questions on the sheet to the first learner in the ‘B’ line. These learners would then move to the back of their lines. The lines self-sustain themselves until all the questions have been asked. The questions were all controversial to generate discussion, though at this point the learners only recorded a ‘true’ or ‘false’ answer. I found that the task worked well, although the pace of the activity needed to be maintained in order to get through all the questions in time.
The activity after this one focused on generating discussion from those questions. I got this idea from Brookfield and Preskill’s book Discussion as a way of teaching. While they advise getting the students to make their own truth statements, I didn’t have the opportunity to provide my students with prior material, thus I made my own. In the book, it is written that Frederick and Van Ments came up with the idea, Frederick (1999) writing ‘The complexity and ambiguity of knowledge is clearly revealed as students present their truth statements and other students raise questions about or refute them”. The lesson was largely aimed at introducing Hinduism, as Hinduism will become a main topic in the student’s Philosophy and Ethics course.
The task should have highlighted the gaps of knowledge that needed addressing, and incorrect assumptions that the students may have held. As the students seemed to be familiar with Christian concepts, the lesson used Christianity as a point of comparison with Hinduism. The truth statements should have exacerbated this comparison. The lesson was a booklet lesson, which meant that the students had to complete a certain worksheet by the end of the lesson for the assessment of learning. After the statement task, I got different students to read a paragraph each, and then got them to complete their booklets with the information. Once the students had shown me that they had completed the work they could leave, which seemed to increase engagement.