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topic five – what is sacred?

teacher's notes - general approach

Respecting others in a multi-faith community demands tolerance and sensitivity. This is borne out of an understanding of what others hold dear, what others think is important and, above all, those things and places that are held sacred.

For some pupils the word sacred may have little, if any, meaning. Ways into this dimension of life may therefore lie in exploring their own feelings about certain valued personal possessions or thinking of places which have a particular significance for them because of some experience which has lifted their spirit above the ordinary. Resource sheet 4 page 29 Quite suddenly gives two illustrations of this. The devotional atmosphere in places of worship can similarly lift the spirit of worshippers.

strategy - preparation

To introduce this topic you could show the class something of value to you beyond the material explaining why. Then ask them either to bring something which holds similar value for them to the next lesson or to identify such an object at home and write about or draw it, on a large piece of paper.

It would also help to have artefacts associated with various religions. The best way would be for them to be brought in by members of the class in addition to their personal object, but teachers' resource centres often have examples you can borrow.

activity one

In order that the objects can remain anonymous, there should be a table on which they can be placed during the lesson, or a display board for any papers.

The first aspect to consider would be the reasons why these belongings are of value to their owners. Questions that could be explored together are on worksheet 9 page 27 Beyond price.

If the questions have been answered in writing these could be shared with the class before looking at and talking about the specifically religious artefacts.

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