chapter  5
16 Pages

The role of language in religious education

ByJeff Astley, L. Philip Barnes

Language is used in a multiplicity of ways in classrooms: instructing, questioning, encouraging, answering, the production of text, debating and so on. Language is the currency of much classroom interaction, and the meaning of what is 'going on' in religious education (RE) is chiefly communicated through language. This chapter explores the importance and role of language to teaching and learning in RE. It distinguishes between forms of religious language and how these relate to religious experience. The chapter reviews policy documents in order to assess their value and worth with regard to the role and importance attached to religious language. It focuses on successful strategies of teaching and learning that further the aim of religious literacy. The chapter also explores the hermeneutically responsible ways of using sacred texts in the classroom. Religious language does many things and has many different roles other than describing the transcendent, and pupils need to be aware of these functions as well.