Philosophy of Religion
The department has a progressive approach towards the teaching of religion. We seek to develop pupils' thinking skills by organising the curriculum around philosophical ideas. During the course of their studies at the Abbey, students will be introduced to some of the key concepts behind Christianity, Humanism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism. Our philosophy is that we are not here to tell our girls what to think but to get them to think. Students are encouraged to debate and listen respectfully to the views of others. Homework is often enquiry based and designed to stretch and challenge, with girls being encouraged to learn independently.
The lower school curriculum is organised around a series of puzzles. The students are given a question which they investigate over a period of time. In the Christmas term of Upper III (Year 7) we ask what it means to be human and whether all religions are paths to the same God. In the spring term we focus on philosophical arguments for the existence of God and ask whether it is possible to be both a scientist and a believer. In the summer term students examine different responses to the subject of wealth and poverty and are encouraged to ask to what degree we should help those who are disadvantaged. They are exposed to a variety of worldview responses to these issues and then are encouraged to make their own response. The starting point for all these investigations is Christianity and in the course of our studies we look at relevant Biblical stories.
In Lower IV (Year 8) girls have an extended puzzle on the life and teachings of Jesus. They explore different worldview responses to the key question; was Jesus the Son of God? The summer term sees an introduction to the GCSE course with an examination of the key ethical issues which are addressed in the film, My Sister’s Keeper.
The department starts full course GCSE Religious Studies in Philosophy and Ethics in year 9 (UIV) with all students taking their GCSE early in Year 10 (LV). Please see the GCSE page for full details and a link to the syllabus.
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