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WASACRE played an active role in the REsilience project, which is managed by the RE Council for England and Wales. A WASACRE representative was included on the project’s Executive Delivery Group, the Advisory Group, and the Welsh Advisory Group.
What is REsilience?
REsilience is a project for teachers of RE in maintained secondary schools. Its purpose is to help increase their confidence in addressing contentious issues, particularly when such issues are sometimes used to justify violent extremism. REsilience is managed by the Religious Education Council for England and Wales (REC) under contracts with DCSF (for England) and DCELLS (for Wales).
Religious and other belief-based extremism raises contentious and highly sensitive issues and is a topical area of public interest. Most young people are aware that throughout history some extremists have used belief-based arguments to justify violence against people with whom they disagree. Whether young people are equally well informed about the motivation for such attacks, or about the attitude of mainstream believers, is less certain. An important aspect of community cohesion is the dispelling of ignorance and misconceptions that create suspicion and barriers between communities. In RE, young people explore the faiths, beliefs and values of our communities; but raising or responding to questions about extremism poses challenges for even the most experienced teachers. Hence the need for REsilience.
Who is REsilience for?
REsilience is for teachers of RE (whether or not they are formally qualified as RE teachers) working in maintained secondary schools in England and Wales.
How does REsilience work?
Reasons for lack of confidence in tackling contentious issues in RE lessons vary from teacher to teacher, and circumstances vary from school to school. REsilience will work with individual schools to help identify needs and plan to meet them. The issues arising from religious and other belief-based extremism require specific teaching and learning methods. Using thinking skills and approaches that encourage collaboration, students learn to recognise and consider wider perspectives. REsilience aims to help teachers foster debate, dialogue and the development of respect and understanding.
During the project, REsilience training was provided through:
REsilience in Wales
Mentors helped 40 individual schools and teachers in Wales over a six-week period through face-to-face meetings, email or telephone contacts, as dictated by the needs of each school. The REC hopes to seek sources of funding to extend the programme beyond 31March 2011.
Where can I find out more?
For more information about the project, visit the official REsilience website.
If you have any questions about any of this material, please contact us.