Solarity: Secondary Sessions
These sessions for secondary age students are aimed at 11-16 year olds, though they are appropriate, with a little tweaking, for older students too. They should supplement and add interest to examination courses in religious studies and philosophy and ethics, or provide an introduction to further studies. They might also be used to support post-16 provision for religious education, depending on the type of syllabus or enrichment programme being followed by a particular school, college or academy.
They can also serve as supplementary material for parents educating their children at home, though most of the sessions involve group activities, so it will be important for individual children to meet up with at least two or three others to get the most out of the sessions.
In general, the sessions themselves are presented with the instructions for group leaders in brown text, and titles, questions and other information to be presented to children in blue.
Since many of the sessions depend on stimulus material found on the web, it will be important for the group to meet in a room where there is internet access and an audio system to play films and music.
Each session can be viewed on-screen or downloaded as a pdf. The list on the right, which has links to all the web pages, appears beside every session and there is also a link to the relevant pdf at the bottom of every page. A list with links to all the web pages and the pdfs can be found here.
Aims of the sessions
The general aims of the material presented here are similar to those for school religious education in that they promote learning about contemporary religious and non-religious worldviews and encourage children and young people to develop their own ideas, values and identities. From a Sea of Faith perspective, however, the materials are also intended to help children and young people THINK about and EXPLORE some of the following themes, all of which have featured in recent Sea of Faith conferences:
- Building mental, emotional and ‘spiritual’ health;
- Learning from the wisdom and compassion of others;
- Living with uncertainty;
- Knowing what is of real value in the world;
- Keeping people out of ‘bad lives’;
- Human goods or desires (e.g., decent length of life, bodily well-being, freedom and power, respect and self-respect, relationships, goods of culture);
- Reverence for nature;
- Celebrating the power of enoughness;
- Going beyond what is ‘fair’ and being very generous;
- Living without bitterness or ill-feeling.
Beginning each solarity session
These opening lines should be said together. The words help to bring the group together and remind them of the purpose of the club. The actions help children to free up their imaginations and help to distinguish the club from lessons in school.
“In Religion and Philosophy Club we:
- Think up answers to big questions (draw a huge question mark in the air with their finger)
- Listen to one another (say ‘listen to one another’ round the circle in a whisper, like Chinese whispers game)
- Share and respect views (cross arms to shake hands with the person either side)”.
Finish with a loud shout out / whisper / word said in a certain way:
Now we are ready to do some thinking.
SECONDARY SESSIONS: LIST OF TOPICS
1. Happiness Part 1: status anxiety
2. Happiness Part 2: religion and happiness
3. Happiness Part 3: what is happiness?
4. Morality Part 1: what is morality?
5. Morality Part 2: should we live by ‘moral laws’?
6. Morality Part 3: where does our sense of morality come from?
7. Are You Religious?
8. What Is a Religion and what is a Cult?
9. What does it Mean to be Religious Today?
10. Religion in Numbers Part 1: how many people on Earth?
11. Religion in Numbers Part 2: how many people are ‘religious’?
12. Religion in Numbers Part 3: how did believers got to where they are?
13. Are All Religions Equal?
14. Transactional Analysis: learning how to feel equal
15. Bloom’s Taxonomy
16. Harry Potter and God
17. Without Fear or Favour Part 1
18. Without Fear or Favour Part 2
19. It’s Not Fair
20. Mind, Memory and Justice
21. Karma, Memory, Freedom and Justice
22. The Religion of Ordinary Life Part 1: Religion Without God
23. The Religion of Ordinary Life Part 2: God and Morality
24. The Religion of Ordinary Life Part 3: Is Life Beautiful?
25. Can Atheists learn anything from Religion?
26. What do Buddhists Believe about God?
27. Is Seeing Believing?
28. Are We Being Hypnotised?
29. Sex and Relationships
30. Truth, Proof and Evidence
31. How should we deal with the range of different opinions in today’s world?
32. Is Religion a Force for Evil or Good?
33. Do Religious Experiences Prove God?
34. What Is Evil?
35. God and Evil
36. Can we verify Religious Experiences?
37. How Spiritual are You?
38. What is Philosphy?
39. The Power of Words
40. Art and Beauty
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