”John Watson is an inspirational teacher. I have the highest regard for his skill and professionalism – and perhaps more importantly so do his students! John has managed through his lessons to pass on to young people his own enjoyment of the subject.
His lessons have held the interest of the classes, and the range of activities which they have participated in has left them wanting more. If we have asked our students to describe a “good” teacher it has been inevitable that his name would be mentioned.
I am delighted that John has decided to share some of his ideas and philosophy with others in these books. The students at Eltham Hill have benefited from his work for 28 years, as have the many beginning teachers with whom he has worked. I am confident that other teachers will find something here which will make their lessons better – and more fun!”
Headteacher – Eltham Hill Technology College for Girls
It is well known that positive emotions like enjoyment and having fun can actually increase your learning power or IQ
A typical quotation on this is:
“Positive emotions allow us to access more of our intelligence.”
It is also well known that learning is enjoyable. We can focus either on making sure we or our students learn or we can focus on ensuring that we or our students have fun or we can do both.
Kevin Eikenberry sums this up well:
“When we are enjoying ourselves while learning we will learn better – and since we are built to be living, breathing, learning machines, I believe that as we learn we enjoy ourselves more.
Enjoy and learn or learn and enjoy. (Rinse and repeat).
What a great virtuous cycle.”
Both ‘Hit The Target’ and the rest of the series are based on about 30 years of teaching Religious Studies in London Comprehensive schools. They apply to mainly years 7-9 (11 to 14 year olds) but many of the ideas could also be used with any age from 7-17 years old.
If you would like to buy “Hit The Target” or any of the other Religious Studies books click on the images of the ebooks to be taken to a page where you can find out more about them and where you can buy them at a low cost.
You will then be able to download them immediately to your computer as a pdf file and read them when convenient. You can of course print them out if you prefer.
Who wants to enjoy teaching Religious Education?
Do you ever find yourself feeling depressed and frustrated after teaching a lesson in Religious Education?
The Religious Education books on the right are based on the premise mentioned above that one of the the most effective ways to educate students is to make your lessons fun.
By the mid 19th century, the Victorians had realised that one of the best ways to educate children was to entertain them. One way to do this was to use stories. The golden age of children’s literature began in the 1860’s with Alice in Wonderland.
It continued with Peter Pan and the House at Pooh Corner in 1928. After World War II, we have the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and many other children’s books. Recently, Harry Potter has astonished the world.
Often these children’s books dealt with the big questions of life unlike many modern books for adults which are obsessed with trivialities.
Even the business world has realised the value of training through activities which are fun. I came across an ad for “The big book of humorous training games” recently. The ad read as follows:
“The latest mind-brain research confirms something every trainer has long suspected: that people think and learn better when the process is fun.”
All the Religious Studies ebooks on the right are designed to make your religious education lessons more fun and therefore more likely to educate.
As you can see from my biography, I have a keen interest in religion, motivation, the causes of success and the martial arts.
I taught for thirty-three years in secondary education teaching 11-18 year olds in London comprehensive schools before retiring in 2000 A.D.
I had many unsuccessful lessons but found that more of my lessons became successful as I applied the ideas in these books to my teaching. In the end I received awards for my teaching but wish that I had known what is in these books when I first started out.
Hopefully you will find them useful whether you teach in a school or a Sunday School or any other kind of establishment where religion is a major interest.
In the UK, the religious education syllabuses involve the six major world religions including Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Sikhism.
As a result, these books apply to the teaching of these six World Religions and examples are drawn from all of them. The basic principles, in fact, apply to the teaching of any religion and could even be applied to related subjects like history.
The books are full of illustrations since these help adults as well as children to remember and understand what they are reading so much more easily.
Pictures involve the right side of the brain so that, as you read and use your left brain, your whole brain will be at work and will therefore work five times more effectively.
Educational psychologists have realised that humans have as a many as 7 different intelligences. Traditional teaching has not allowed for this and pupils who have some key intelligences have been labelled as stupid when they were anything but.
Some of the activities described in these books allow students to use these different intelligences in learning about religions. Their self-esteem goes up several notches as they show skills and intelligences which are not normally shown when the teaching is done through traditional sit at a desk and listen to the teacher methods.
Of course these traditional methods still have a huge part to play especially when the syllabus to be covered is a large one.
Teachers have realised for years that pupils learn best in different ways. Some like to listen; some like to see; some like to be physically involved and most students learn through all three methods. Again all three methods are used in these books.
On Tuesday 27th September 2005, the first program in a very interesting series for teachers was shown on Channel 4 on UK television. The program was called The Unteachables
Ted Wragg, the educational expert, was trying to reclaim 16 unteachable pupils and turn them into learners who would make good citizens later in life.
The unteachables were chosen from year 9 (13 -14 year olds)
Most excluded pupils in the UK are from year 9. Many of these pupils want to learn but have low self esteem from years of failure and have low expectations. Many of them are responsible for low grade and high grade disruption.
One boy put his failure down to:
“75% is being distracted by my friends. 25% is because I don’t believe I can do it.”
Psychologist Howard Gardner defined 7 distinct types of intelligence. .
This is good news for those who may not have done well at reading, writing and maths. There may be other intelligences that they can excel in. They are not inferior to those who have different intelligences.
Children with this kind of intelligence enjoy writing, reading, telling stories or doing crossword puzzles. In my books there are many ideas which would suit this type of intelligence.
Children with lots of logical intelligence are interested in patterns, categories and relationships. They are drawn to arithmetic problems, strategy games and experiments. There are not many methods in my books that appeal to this type of intelligence but there are some.
These kids process knowledge through bodily sensations. They are often athletic, dancers or good at crafts such as sewing or woodworking. A large number of the tools and ideas suggested in my books suit this type of intelligence.
These children think in images and pictures. They may be fascinated with mazes or jigsaw puzzles, or spend free time drawing, building with Leggos or daydreaming. Many of the methods in my book would encourage students with this type of intelligence.
Musical children are always singing or drumming to themselves. They are usually quite aware of sounds others may miss. These kids are often discriminating listeners. Again there is much scope in my series of books for developing this type of intelligence.
Children who are leaders among their peers, who are good at communicating and who seem to understand others’ feelings and motives possess interpersonal intelligence. Many of the methods used in these books allow students to commuicate with each other.
These children may be shy. They are very aware of their own feelings and are self-motivated. The books require students to examine their own experiences in the light of religious teachings.