Strategies for Engagement #5

…to experience God’s world in its wholeness

Encouraging learners to engage in broad experiences in all subjects can help to lay the foundations for a way of thinking that assumes there is always more to know. Such an attitude does not assume that we know all about something once we have labelled it and know a little. It is the opposite of the tick box mentality that says ‘done that’. Reducing something to its parts is a useful tool but students need reminding that things are more than the sum of their parts (humans, for instance, are not just chemicals or economic units).

  • Learners can have real flowers on their desks in science or have a presentation of images of flowers and be asked to articulate the difference between their diagram and the real thing. Being able to name all the parts of the flower misses something essential about a flower.
  • Learners can engage in a range of exercise activities in PE and be asked to track the effect on the whole person so that pupils see that human beings are complex and not just bodies or just minds or just spirits.
  • Learners can experience the nature of faith in religious education by interviewing Christians. As part of the interview, pupils can explore the way in which faith involves thinking, feeling and living. This may help to prevent people seeing faith as just an intellectual assent to a list of beliefs.
Activities like these bring to learners’ attention something of the breadth of what they are studying. They open up vistas rather than close down thinking.