Recently in Higher RMPS we have been looking at the Buddhist practice of Meditation. Meditation is often a difficult concept for pupils to understand as, understandably, very few have encountered it before and any knowledge and understanding they do have is usually of meditation for relaxation purposes (which is quite different from Buddhist Meditation).
Pupils have been exploring the differences between Samatha (stilling) meditation and Vipassana (insight) meditation. As an introduction we looked at various calming images and thankas before trying a period of focussed meditation, concentrating on our breathing. As a stimulus I showed a meditation video downloaded from YouTube. As expected, several pupils found it all too much, but the majority of the class said, although it was hard, they could see the benefits of meditation as a regular practice.
For Vipassana meditation we discussed how hard it is to ‘strip away’ layers of reality (or the illusion of reality). This is a hard concept for pupils to understand and the best way I could think of to demonstrate it was by showing the Robbie Williams Rock DJ music video – surprisingly it worked well and pupils seem to now understand the differences between these two different forms of Buddhist meditation.
4 Comments »
In Higher and Intermediate2 RMPS this year we are using some new materials written by Joe Walker. The books are an absolute asset to anyone teaching the new Higher/Int2 course.
Issues of Buddhism is based around all of the SQA course materials but goes into much more depth on topics such as the Noble Eightfold Path and Five Precepts. What is so great about the book is that many of the tasks begin in the world of the child before progressing to knowledge and understanding, then analysis and evaluation exam style questions. Additionally, Joe has included some past exam questions and useful homework assignments.
Morality in the Modern World is much the same and can be used more widely for core RMPS lessons as well as in certificated classes. It begins by addressing aspects of moral philosophy from the ancient Euthyphro dilemma to modern utilitarian thought. After this there are detailed and up-to-date chapters on all the optional units (Crime and Punishment, Gender, War and Peace, International Issues and Medical Ethics).
I don’t have any criticisms to make of these publications but only wish the publishers had included some past papers (with marking schemes).
5 Comments »
Last Wednesday the Knox Academy Higher RMPS class were ambassadors for their school when they visited New College, Edinburgh University’s School of Divinity & Religious Studies. All pupils thoroughly enjoyed the day and earnestly took notes whilst listening to lectures on topics ranging from Evil in Harry Potter to Shamanism.
Teaching and support staff from New College commented on the professionalism and enthusiasm of Knox pupils since many were keen to ask further questions at the end of lectures.
I have to say the excursion left me feeling slightly nostalgic about by own university experience and I was extremely proud to share my academic past with present pupils (some of whom, I hope, will study at New College).
1 Comment »
Apologies for the lack of posts over the past few days – life is becoming increasingly busy. This weekend we took Higher RMPS pupils to Samye Ling.
Samye Ling is a Buddhist Monastery in the Scottish Borders. I think I can speak for both staff and pupils when I say this, we had a fantastic time (despite the predictability of the Scottish weather). Pupils were able to interview a monk, get a tour of the impressive temple and try out some Buddhist meditation. For someone who is not used to such exploits I think I did pretty well (despite falling asleep during lying meditation). For teachers interested in taking pupils to Samye Ling, visit www.samyeling.org.
4 Comments »