Religious Studies at Dunottar aims to produce strong minded and thoughtful pupils. We are eager for learners to form opinions and reach judgements about the world in which they live. Classroom lessons therefore, drive to meet this. Teachers in the department are skilled at running discussions and debates and use targeted questioning to really ensure that pupils question their own values and judgements, and those of others. Furthermore, pupils are expected to discuss and question each other in a respectful and tolerant fashion. It is only through respectful dialogue that we can aim to understand others views and attitudes. The aim is that when pupils leave Dunottar they are able to engage critically, but respectful with issues that affect them.
The content of the lessons aims to target difficult aspects of life and make pupils curious about the world in which they live. For example, Year 9 pupils study a unit on Philosophy. They ask questions such as: ‘What do we mean be truth?’ and ‘How can we make value judgements about reality?’ Other topics such as social justice push learner’s curiosity when we expect pupils to ask questions about difficult and complex issues. Furthermore, the department ethos is that some of the best learning happens when pupils are independent. This is why each year pupils are set Extended Learning Opportunities. This gives them the time and opportunity to produce a larger piece of work, manage their own time and reach goals that would have otherwise not been possible. Project titles have included: ‘What does it mean to be a Muslim in the modern world?’ and ‘What happens after we die?’
Pupils are encouraged to be aspirational within R.S. GCSE pupils have gained phenomenal results every year within this subject. However, aspiration is embedded and targeted much earlier than this. In Year 8, for example, pupils work towards the Spirited Arts competition where they select a religious, philosophical or moral question of their choice and produce a piece of art work to represent their chosen area.
To enrich and enhance pupils’ understanding of the topics covered in R.S. we offer a variety of trips, including a visit to Wintershall to watch the dramatisation of the Life of Jesus and the chance to visit a Buddhist temple. Visiting speakers have included representatives from Life Matters, a Euthanasia Charity deliver sessions on the importance of life and why they believe that the law should not be changed.