To teach the Christian beliefs or not to teach them? That is the Question.
Especially at Easter and Christmas.
My personal feeling (and I am a Christian) is that if the students are living Great Britain, whatever their religion it is helpful for them to understand some of the background to the otherwise bizarre rituals they see here during the major Christian festivals.
I always takes pains to emphasise that not everybody in Britain is a practising Christian (far from it) but that everybody knows the basic facts. Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus and Easter his crucifixion and resurrection. I have never had any trouble with this approach. On the contrary, I receive more Christmas cards from my Muslim students every year than from any other group. Anyway, it ticks off that 'Citizenship' box on my Scheme of Work very nicely!
This year, as usual, I taught Easter traditions to all my classes. If you haven't discovered this website, it's brilliant for lessons themed around special days, and I used several of the resources. I've just revisited the site to check the link for you and found work on World Penguin Day. It's today! What a shame it's my day off!
The lesson I have in mind was with my Sixth Form class. (I currently have 3 groups- Entry 1 adults, CAE au pairs and Entry3/Level 1 Sixth Formers so you can imagine my approach had to be different for each class).
I wanted to teach both the Christian and the 'secular' traditions so I started by describing in brief what Christians believe happened on each day from Good Friday to Easter Sunday. It was a student who used the phrase "He died for our sins", not me so I asked this student to explain what it meant. (Cop out, I know, but I didn't feel up to a full theological explanation) Well, she was doing very well, although the young Nepali she was debating with ewas having none of it, when another girl interjected
"So, where does the Bunny fit in?"