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Teaching Primary Aged Children - Comments

adiroth's Avatar Comment 1 by adiroth

I don't know what R.E. (religious education) is like in Australia, but it's the teaching of a particular religion right? Unlike Religious Studies, where different religious beliefs are compared?

Personally, I think any adventure stories are ok, even Harry Potter if they're not too young for it. Just give them the room to imagine and exercise their minds freely so that they'll eventually find the restrictive and unimaginative nature of religious narratives to be incompatible to their intellectual habits.

Thu, 12 Jul 2012 14:38:12 UTC | #948968

zengardener's Avatar Comment 2 by zengardener

Dinosaur books. Kids love dinosaurs.

Thu, 12 Jul 2012 14:57:31 UTC | #948972

RomeStu's Avatar Comment 3 by RomeStu

Give them Greek mythology - then they can compare the powers and temperaments of different fictional gods ...... and however capricious and malevolent Athena, Hera, Zeus et al. could be, they will see that nothing trumps the judeo-christian god for all round unpleasantness!

Thu, 12 Jul 2012 19:32:20 UTC | #948990

VrijVlinder's Avatar Comment 4 by VrijVlinder

I can't believe they are wasting children's brains with compulsory RE. Would it not be a better time spent learning a vocation ? Cooking class, Home Economics, sports, art, music. I guess those cost more than gods for a subject.

Ugh! I cringe at the thought of seeing all those children being indoctrinated, they will grow up to be the people we want to change their minds. Seems there is no end , we are doomed to have to live with religious BS till the end of time.

Very unsettling when you go to a shoe store and the 18 year old cashier tells you she knows for sure there is a heaven without any doubt amen. That kind of certainty can only come from childhood indoctrination.

If I wasn't in a hurry I may have debated her. Or ask at least how it is that she is so sure. She seemed the type that even burning at the stake she would think heaven is real and yell out "Take me jesus" !!

Thu, 12 Jul 2012 21:35:11 UTC | #949002

Nozoff's Avatar Comment 5 by Nozoff

I can still remember my primary school days when most of the kids were doing RE, myself and a few others who sat out played board games (chess in my case, great for developing strategic thought). Most of the other kids hated having to sit through boring god stuff while we got to play games. There was at least one kid who managed to convince his parents to opt him out as a result.

Thu, 12 Jul 2012 23:13:53 UTC | #949018

Mark Ribbands's Avatar Comment 6 by Mark Ribbands


Hi Rosemae

I love the idea of your eldest reading Magic of Reality in RE time. It’s quite funny. Once he’s finished that he can progress to the The God Delusion. :)

There’s no reason why five- and seven-year-olds can’t look at the pictures and understand a lot of the text in MoR. My 8 y/o son particularly liked the fish ancestry story and pictures, and the reduction of complex systems by starting fires.

Or perhaps buy the younger ones some evolutionary books aimed at their age group. As Zen said, one only very rarely goes wrong with dinosaurs.

John van Wyhe’s Charles Darwin: The Story of the Man and His Theories of Evolution is a lovely book, with lots of facsimile notes and pictures to take out and lose.

Another book my sons loved is Dragonology: The Complete Book of Dragons which likewise has lots of loose inserts, including REAL ‘dragon dust,’ the CORRECT systematic taxonomy of dragon species, and so on.

The latter tome is a useful analogy of how something which is so obviously made-up can draw you in and soon feel true.

BTW, is RE in Australia the teaching of one religion with the assumption it is correct? Or the comparative study of varying religious beliefs? The latter I have little problem with.

Fri, 13 Jul 2012 00:28:34 UTC | #949026

DocWebster's Avatar Comment 7 by DocWebster

When I was 7 I had several bible story books that were supposedly written for my age bracket. There were glorious illustrations of Jonah in the whale, Lot's wife turning to salt, a river turning to blood, losers banging on the hull of Noah's Ark, David killing Goliath.... In other words pretty damn gruesome stuff. They turned me into an Atheist before I even knew that people really thought God existed. I had assumed that everone knew they were all just horror stories. I have no problem with kids having a religion class, provided the teacher is compelled to answer every question honestly upon pain of tazer. I would even volunteer to apply the treatment as needed.

Fri, 13 Jul 2012 03:34:01 UTC | #949032

Grimace's Avatar Comment 8 by Grimace

@ Mark Ribblands,

No sure what goes on now, when I was in primary school (1988 - 1994) RE in Government schools in Australia was taught by a volunteer from a local Christian church.

I can only remember, for sure, that I got RE in year 3. The memory of it sticks out because the boy sitting next to me had hard core atheist parents and was withdrawn from the class, and there were two students with Jehovah’s Witnesses parents who were also withdrawn.

I can’t say for sure about any other year, but I have no recollection of RE at any other time.

Fri, 13 Jul 2012 05:49:06 UTC | #949034

DaisyD's Avatar Comment 9 by DaisyD

Anything will do, as long as they're not being asked to believe in some crap. Letting them read the Bible is not a bad idea. That's what I did around age 7 or 8. All the good Catholics I knew didn't like the idea, they kept telling me it was going to drive me mental. So no one was there to cherry-pick which parts to read. I turned out just fine.

Sat, 14 Jul 2012 14:12:48 UTC | #949181

papa lazaru's Avatar Comment 10 by papa lazaru

If he reads the old testament and he likes it, then it's time to worry.

Sun, 15 Jul 2012 01:02:20 UTC | #949216

DocWebster's Avatar Comment 11 by DocWebster

Well now anyone can like reading anything. If they start thinking the bible is the best book ever written then they have to be introduced to the classics. If they wonder why anyone would read that crap then they'll find good writing on their own.

Sun, 15 Jul 2012 04:16:04 UTC | #949227

ShinobiYaka's Avatar Comment 12 by ShinobiYaka

Comment 2 by zengardener

Dinosaur books. Kids love dinosaurs

Oh yeah! they do :)

Great OP by the way kudos ROSEMAE and kids...

Sun, 15 Jul 2012 20:12:21 UTC | #949260

ninja_matty69's Avatar Comment 13 by ninja_matty69

The bible

Mon, 16 Jul 2012 11:46:10 UTC | #949306

0.05's Avatar Comment 14 by 0.05

I would like my daughter to skip our UK schools 'collective worship', but she would be the only one, and I don't want her to feel different from the others - what a choice.

Why not have them lean more about something they have a real interest in - dinosaurs, space, etc?

By the way, I don't know about other parents, but I have learned a surprising amount about dinosaurs since my daughter turned 4...

Mon, 16 Jul 2012 19:27:06 UTC | #949341

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 15 by Alan4discussion

Comment 14 by 0.05

I would like my daughter to skip our UK schools 'collective worship', but she would be the only one, and I don't want her to feel different from the others - what a choice.

The normal format should be that withdrawn children would do some other activity during the collective worship, but would later come into a separate part of the assembly, where sports team results and school activities etc were announced.

You might find that others followed your example.

Mon, 16 Jul 2012 21:41:51 UTC | #949352

aldous's Avatar Comment 16 by aldous

It's very strange that there's no interest in revising the Education Act in England. Compulsory collective worship and compulsory RE are an anachronism. Religious organizations are very determined to keep them and the opposition is feeble and disorganized, although it's very widely felt that they are, at best, a waste of valuable educational time.

Tue, 17 Jul 2012 00:20:18 UTC | #949365

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 17 by Premiseless

Comment 16 by aldous :

It's very strange that there's no interest in revising the Education Act in England. Compulsory collective worship and compulsory RE are an anachronism. Religious organizations are very determined to keep them and the opposition is feeble and disorganized, although it's very widely felt that they are, at best, a waste of valuable educational time.

Not only that, but to the child's mind, there is this forever,

"Well surely education would not be labouring this point if it were not education per se."

to ponder. The drip drip understated subliminal messaging. Noone actually is kind enough to remind such sincere minds,

" No, this bullshit is seen by bullshiters as necessary bullshit and sadly we have to simply think about it as something slippery better placed in fields that we need to generally avoid when out and about and getting on with life."

It takes the sincere child a lot of pain and vast amounts of disrespect from their peers prior to any pennies finally dropping and voiding their wasted years on the muck heap, so to speak.

Tue, 17 Jul 2012 03:03:49 UTC | #949371

Roy72's Avatar Comment 18 by Roy72

My favourite non-dawkins science book is "A brief history of nearly everything by Bill Bryson-hugely informative and entertaining too.

Might be a bit advanced but a clever 12 year old who likes science will enjoy it.

Wed, 18 Jul 2012 11:29:24 UTC | #949492