School asks pupils to write to their parents telling them they have converted to Islam

The Mirror is reporting that a school has sparked controversy by asking pupils to write to their parents stating they had converted to Islam – and explaining how it changed their life for the better.

The 12 and 13 year-olds were asked to consider what it would be like to become a Muslim as part of a Religious Education lesson .

They were tasked with penning a letter explaining their decision to their parents – and how they hoped their family would accept the decision.

The homework exercise was set at Les Beauchamps High School in Guernsey – where Muslims number less than one per cent of the island’s population…

But some locals weren’t happy…

The full clarification with the homework read: “Please also note this is a piece of creative writing and completely fictional YOU ARE NOT ACTUALLY CONVERTING TO ISLAM.

“It is purely to test your knowledge of what we have learnt this year and how well you can argue objectively!”…

More at School asks pupils to write to their parents telling them they have converted to Islam

 

It seems there has been a mixed reaction amongst parents and locally to this exercise  but what do you think – anything unreasonable about it?

If so, in what way(s)?

Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…

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Comments

  1. teach_well

    Nairb1  Really? I see this as overstepping the line from learning about to advocating for a particular religion. There are a million and one tasks that would have led to the same outcome they argue for without this.

  2. thiskidsthinkin

    Could probably have been done as a project book about Islam, with paragraphs used to describe the different practices. If it was a letter writing exercise, it could have been done from the perspective of a Muslim person writing a letter to a newspaper about their faith.

  3. Nairb1

    Yes, really. Have you read the parent comments in the original newspaper article? Suggestions that pupils will become radicalised and go to Syria because of this homework?
    As far as I can see this is a well constructed piece of homework which will encourage pupils to think not just regurgitate. That isn’t advocating a particular religion and I hope the teacher employs a similar approach when teaching about Judaism, Hinduism etc. Or even how a pupil would explain converting to Christianity to atheist parents.

  4. teach_well

    thiskidsthinkin  Exactly – I wouldn’t be happy giving this task to a child or receiving it for a child to do. Completely inappropriate.

  5. teach_well

    Nairb1  Regardless of what the parents have to say about it, the whole issue of conversion is one that is not part of any guideline for teaching RE that I have come across, and I was the RE lead at my previous school. 

    There are national guidelines for local SACRE’s which they follow to produce a locally agreed syllabus. The purpose is to teach about the different religions so all children understand the fundamental beliefs and tenants. 

    The issue of conversation is not one that is touched on for the obvious reason that it can be misconstrued or even used as propaganda for a particular religion or non-religious world-view. 

    Conversion is a personal, spiritual choice but not something to be promoted or denounced. The school has broken its statutory duty to its children by pushing them to consider the benefits of converting to Islam. That is overstepping the mark completely. 

    If Muslim pupils had been asked to write a similar letter about Christianity, it would have been deemed racist and inappropriate.

    I don’t know what your agenda is here but it certainly isn’t to support teachers carrying out their statutory duties when teaching RE.

  6. Nairb1

    I have no agenda other than viewing all religions as superstitions. The teacher’s note ‘This is a piece of creative writing and completely fictional’ seems very appropriate. However this isn’t relevant to this issue.
    As far as I’m aware, and I bow to your superior knowledge here, SACRE’s specify the RE syllabus, they do not specify the teaching methods to be used. This seems a perfectly good way to help pupils learn about religion in a challenging way which would encourage them to think about key points.
    I agree that if Muslim pupils had been asked to do the same task about Christianity then there would have been more of an objection from the Muslim community. Again, so what? I’m not keen to join the race towards the lowest points of intolerance.
    As for it being deemed racist, I’m not sure … as far as I know Muslim isn’t a race.

  7. Terminal_Boy

    SchoolsImprove fascistCOW Everyone involved in this idea need to be fired and blacklisted so that they never teach again.

  8. Kathfanderson

    SchoolsImprove Could have any focus for task so why pointlessly anger parents who object to the presence of religion in schools at all?

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