Current Projects

Current Projects

Current Projects

Current Projects

Current Projects

Templeton World Charity Foundation will provide an initial £4.5 million over 6 years to support research, training, and the development of resources for promoting teaching and learning about how knowledge works in science and RE.

Broadening Secondary School Science

Broadening Secondary School Science

Professor Michael Reiss

Professor of Science Education, Institute of Education, University College London

In their final two years of secondary school, British students may study as few as three subjects. Such narrowness often leads to hyper-specialized training. And it can stifle students’ consideration of big questions that cut across science, philosophy, religion, and history.

Broadening Secondary School Science (BRaSSS) seeks to broaden students’ view of what science is, and help them make connections between science and other subjects. Through educational research and professional development for teachers, Michael Reiss and his team will promote wider views of science and ways to teach it.

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Argumentation in Science and Religious Education

Argumentation in Science and Religious Education

Professor Sibel Erduran

Professor of Science Education, University of Oxford

How and why did life originate? What is the universe? What is a person? And how do we know? By eliciting curiosity, such questions fuel students' motivation to learn. And while religious education encourages the exploration of philosophical ideas, science lessons rarely do, even as science is not devoid of values and assumptions.

Sibel Erduran and her team will create and evaluate a cross-curricular professional development program to help teachers of science and religious education teach argumentation: the use of evidence and reasoning to make complex judgments. By helping students understand what arguments are and how they are made in different subjects, teachers can improve interdisciplinary learning and ignite curiosity about life's big questions.

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Key Moments in History – A Fossil Hunter’s Story

Key Moments in History – A Fossil Hunter’s Story

Marianne Cutler

The Association for Science Education

In the nineteenth century, British fossil collector Mary Anning made vital contributions to the then-nascent field of paleontology. Today, her remarkable life and discoveries can inspire students’ appreciation of the nature and process of scientific enquiry and the different contexts in which discoveries are made. Through studying Anning, they can also learn to draw connections between knowledge from science, history, and religion.

The Association or Science Education will produce a short film about Anning and the big ideas of science, accompanying cross-disciplinary primary education materials, and teacher resources. By designing an immersive learning experience for primary school students, these materials will help them recreate the journey that scientists like her undertake as they make sense of the world.

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The Epistemic Insight Initiative

The Epistemic Insight Initiative

Professor Berry Billingsley

Professor of Science Education, Canterbury Christ Church University

How can the English education system open its classrooms to big questions? What can it do to help young people access a range of ways to think about integration of knowledge across disciplines? 

Berry Billingsley aims to establish a research-based solution to these questions by helping students and teachers engage with epistemic insight (EI). EI means “knowledge about knowledge”—in particular, knowledge about disciplines and how they interact. Research has shown that students express interest in big questions of the universe and our place in it. But pedagogical pressures and barriers dampen their enthusiasm. This project seeks to determine how current and future teachers can foster students’ appreciation of the complex nature of reality.

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What Distinctive Contribution Does Religious Education Make to the Development of Epistemic Literacy in relation to Big Questions in Religion and Science?​

What Distinctive Contribution Does Religious Education Make to the Development of Epistemic Literacy in relation to Big Questions in Religion and Science?​

Dr Joanne Pearce

Institute of Education, University College London

Epistemic literacy refers to capabilities that help us appreciate the distinct systems of knowledge, methods, language, and data relating to particular disciplines. Little research exists to support the epistemic literacy of religious education (RE) teachers as they tackle the questions of meaning in scientific and religious knowledge. 

Joanne Pearce and Alexis Stones hold that RE is the ideal subject to promote epistemic literacy as an educational aim. RE covers a breadth of perspectives: scientific, sociological, historical, psychological, cultural, philosophical, and theological. Too often, students and teachers navigate these diverse perspectives with insufficient degrees of epistemic literacy. Because of its interdisciplinary nature, RE can help rectify this.

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“How Knowledge Works” in British Science and Religious Education: Considering the Impact of Big Questions in Classrooms

“How Knowledge Works” in British Science and Religious Education: Considering the Impact of Big Questions in Classrooms

Rosie McLeod

New Philanthropy Capital

How can the concept of “how knowledge works” be promoted in UK schools? This project will assess the current education landscape in science education and religious education in relation to this question. It will consider opportunities and trends in school-based learning for deepening teachers’ and students’ understanding of how different subjects and disciplines relate to each other. Rosie McLeod and her team will also provide strategic recommendations to educators and education advocates for how to encourage engagement with the concept of “how knowledge works” in the education ecosystem in England.

 

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Challenging Knowledge in RE: Big Questions, Different Perspectives

Challenging Knowledge in RE: Big Questions, Different Perspectives

Stephen Pett

RE Today

Religions are dynamic and complex, but these features are not always taken into account in religious education. A multidisciplinary approach to learning about religions and worldviews can reveal their historical, geographical, and cultural contexts, as well as the personal contexts of those who practice religion. The big questions that religions address also require the perspectives of different disciplines.

RE Today will produce resource books and professional development for exploring RE through the disciplinary lenses of theology, philosophy, religious studies, natural sciences, psychology, and sociology. By giving primary and secondary RE teachers access to creative and engaging strategies, resources, and training, Stephen Pett and RE Today’s advisors will stimulate thinking and teaching about how knowledge works in religious education.

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