Religious Education: What is the place of discussions in the teaching of Religious Education?

CHAPTER THREE

3a iv). Examine topics which can  be discussed by the whole class in order to ensure                       effective understanding.

Topics which call for whole class discussions are:

  • Effects of irresponsible sexual behavior,
  • drug abuse,
  • corruption,
  • effects of modem science and technology on the environment,
  • issues related to money, wealth and poverty among others.

v). Give examples of participatory activities which fall under discussion and verify                 there  significance as a method of learning.

Examples of participatory activities, which fall under discussion, are:

  • whole class discussions,
  • panels,
  • symposia,
  • roundtables,
  • forums,
  • committees
  •  small groups.

In these activities, there are techniques that provide opportunities for the learners to present their ideas, opinions and information and for the expression of differing viewpoints. They are interactive in nature. They include the following:

  1. Roundtable: This is a quite informal group, usually five or fewer participants who sit around a table and converse among themselves and with the audience. Normally, there is active learning and responding. It is also characterized by effective exchange of ideas, opinions and viewpoints. A topic like Risk behaviour and situations with regard to HIV / AIDs would be ideal for this type of discussion.
  2. Panel: It is a fairly informal setting in which four to six participants with a chairman discuss a topic among themselves, and there is a give and take with the class. It allows for free flow and exposition of ideas. It is wide open and spontaneous in exchange of views. Each participant makes an opening statement, but there are no speeches. The class is given room to make comments freely, giving their views.
  3. Forum: A type of panel approach in which a panel gives and talks with the audience.
  4. Symposium: This is a more formal setting in which participants present speeches representing different positions and open up for questions from the floor. It requires thoughtful preparation and can be useful in a religious class when discussing topics of controversy like science and technology.
  5. Debate: A very formal approach consisting of set speeches by participants of two opposing teams and a rebuttal by each participant. It calls for careful planning for it to be productive.
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