Hints and tips - 6 minute read - this blog post was originally published on 7 April 2020 and 20 May 2020 and now includes updated links to learning resources.
Ewan Brady, OCR Subject Advisor
We are again facing difficult and uncertain times and we are continuing to work to support teachers and students. It is a big challenge for all of us, especially for those teaching, studying or working remotely. So, I have written this blog to help, flagging up resources on our website and others that may be useful in supporting home learning.
We have published a range of resources this academic year to support teacher and students in preparing for the now cancelled 2021 exams. These resources are included here - as we still hope you will find them useful.
Last year we published several general blogs about supporting students. More have since been added.
Cambridge Assessment International Education has created a section on their website to support schools in this time where schools are closed. Some of the information is specific to their courses – but you may find some of the guidance here useful. They have tools and resources to support remote learning, along with webinars and links to support from publishers.
There are other websites that are relevant to all subjects - these are two of my favourites:
The first is Crash Course on YouTube. I used to show their videos to my own classes from time to time when I was a teacher. These are videos across subjects including science, computer science, engineering, media, history, literature, drama, mythology, statistics, chemistry, physics, philosophy, psychology, sociology, business, biology and economics.
Secondly, there is Google arts and culture which lets you virtually visit museums and art galleries around the world, including the likes of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Lastly, Hodder Education are offering free access to some resources for one year. They also have webinars supporting home learning, amongst a range of provision.
For GCSE the specification is the place to start. It explains the aims and learning outcomes of the qualification. The specification details what students should know, understand and be able to do. It lists the content in detail and provides suggested sources of wisdom and authority.
We have an editable scheme of work which covers the most popular options – Beliefs and teachings and practices - Christianity, Islam and Judaism; and religion, philosophy and ethics - Christianity. The scheme of work gives content, number of lessons, suggested sources, suggested resources and activities.
There is also the new assessment guide, ‘Assessment story: exploring our question papers’ – this explains about the course, question papers, teacher support, assessment objectives, assessment structure, different papers, the command words and marking.
Linked to the assessment story is a command words resource which explains the words we use in our question papers in a simple two-sided format.
We recently published a new guide for teachers, ‘Revision tips for teachers’, with suggestions on developing a revision strategy and ways to help students revise to answer the different types of questions.
Two resources have been published for students – a revision checklist and a blog with exam guidance and tips, which is also available as a PDF.
Here are some useful web links to other organisations resources:
For A Level Religious Studies the key document is the specification. It explains the aims and learning outcomes of the qualification. This details what students are expected to know, understand and do. It gives the content and key knowledge, issues for discussion and suggested sources. Students can be directed towards these suggested sources for further reading and the issues for discussion can be discussed online and tackled in essays.
The other main planning resource we have are the curriculum planners. These are available for each of the seven components and give suggested hours, teaching and learning and resources.
We have published a command words resource – this gives the command words we use, with explanations, examples and illustrations.
We also published a blog for A Level RS students with a review of the 2018 and 2019 exams and tips for students.
Some suggestions for other useful resources:
Between May and July 2020 the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Chester put on a series of twelve webinars for A Level RS students covering a range of topics including The Person of Jesus, Secularisation and Women in Buddhism.
The Panpsycast is a weekly 'informal and informative' philosophy podcast inspiring and supporting students, teachers, academics, and free thinkers worldwide. The show has covered our Religious Studies A Level specification as well as a range of other topics. The goal of each episode is to make exciting and challenging research accessible to students, teachers, academics and the general public.
Oxford University Press have published a number of blogs that teachers may find helpful - including one on remote learning and another on the transition from GCSE to A Level.
Hodder Educations ‘RS Review’ magazine has sadly been discontinued. However, a range of free resources from past editions are still available on the Hodder website.
The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy is a fantastic resource which organizes scholars from around the world in philosophy and related disciplines to create and maintain an up-to-date reference work.
Crash Course is a YouTube channel started by John and Hank Green in association with PBS. It features videos on You Tube covering different aspects of Philosophy.
A History of Ideas from the BBC Radio 4 programme is another collection of videos on YouTube. The series answers big questions answered and explains big theories in under 2 minutes from the BBC Radio 4 programme – A History of Ideas. The videos were scripted by philosopher Nigel Warburton.
In Our Time is a BBC Radio 4 series where Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history of ideas and a wide range of subjects including Philosophy and Religion.
Ethics Online are offering free access to their films during the current period. They have 39 films covering a number of issues.
Are there other resources or websites that you would like to share? you can comment below. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call us on 01223 553998 or follow us @OCR_RS.
You can also sign up to subject updates and receive email information about resources and support.
Ewan Brady joined OCR as a subject specialist in June 2014. Since joining OCR Ewan has been responsible for a number of subjects including Law, Government and Politics and Sociology. Ewan led the redevelopment of our new AS and A Levels in Law for first teaching in 2017. He took over responsibility for Religious Studies as Subject Advisor in 2017.
Ewan taught for 16 years in Scotland and England and has eight years of leadership experience in humanities, teaching subjects including history, law, politics, citizenship and religious studies.