Skip to main content

Discovering Muslims in Britain: for Key Stage 3

Enhancing the teaching of Islam and Muslims in religious education (RE) through a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).

Video about the project

Background

There has been longstanding criticism of the way RE represents religions in the classroom. Often, these portrayals focus on theology and beliefs at the expense of their plural and everyday expressions of religion in society.

Islam has been particularly vulnerable to misrepresentations and stereotypical views (Revell 2012, Berglund 2016). The recent Commission on Religious Education (2018, p. 76) stresses the need to include the ‘lived experience of individuals and communities’ as a recommendation to improve RE.

Responding to these needs, this project aims to support RE in schools to meet these recommendations through the development of a fully resourced Key Stage 3 scheme of work investigating Muslims in Britain.

Based on the Islam-UK Centre’s hugely successful Muslims in Britain Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), we aim to embed sociological perspectives of religion in the RE classroom by using cutting-edge sociological research and academic scholarship in teaching resources. Furthermore, we also want to help support RE teachers to do so by designing an accompanying, and accessible, Continuing Professional Development course. The project began in February 2019.

If you are interested in hearing more about this project, please contact Dr Matthew Vince: vincem@cardiff.ac.uk. We are currently looking to speak to RE teachers to shape the subsequent design and focus of the course.

Aims and objectives

To improve the teaching and learning of Islam and Muslims in RE by:

  • identifying the current success, challenges, and needs of RE teachers for their teaching about Islam and Muslims in RE
  • building on the Muslims in Britain MOOC to develop materials that can be utilised in the classroom, incorporating current sociological approaches and scholarship to the study of religion
  • developing an ‘active curriculum’ that can be continually updated in response to cutting-edge research and new data about British Muslims
  • providing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and Professional Learning to support teachers in their teaching about Islam and Muslims, guided by the Muslims in Britain MOOC course.

Scheme of work

The scheme of work is based around a ‘big research question’: what does it mean to be a Muslim in Britain today?

This is then split into a series of 10 lessons (approximately one hour) and an assessment, each with their own ‘mini research questions’. These are:

  • How can we understand religion in society?
  • What does Islam mean to Muslims?
  • What sources of wisdom and authority do Muslims turn to for guidance?
  • How do Muslims in Britain practice their faith?
  • What is the history between Muslims and Britain?
  • Where are there Muslims communities in Britain?
  • What is a mosque?
  • How do Muslims express their faith through the arts?
  • How do Muslims in Britain experience Islamophobia?

Assessment: What does it mean to be a Muslim in Britain?

Access the course and teaching resources

You can register your interest in the online professional development course and the free teaching resources:

Discovering Muslims in Britain

An online professional development course exploring Islam and the everyday lives of Muslims in Britain, as well as how to understand religion from sociological perspectives.

Free teaching resources for Key Stage 3

An online course exploring Islam and the everyday lives of Muslims in Britain, as well as how to understand religion from sociological perspectives.

The project team

Professor Sophie Gilliat-Ray

Professor Sophie Gilliat-Ray

Professor in Religious and Theological Studies, Director for the Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK (Islam-UK)

Email
gilliat-rays@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 0121
Matt Vince

Matt Vince

Research Associate

Email
vincem@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 5479
Mark Bryant

Mark Bryant

Development Officer for the Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK (Islam-UK)

Email
bryantmw@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 0121
Seherish Abrar

Seherish Abrar

Research Assistant

Email
abrars@cardiff.ac.uk

Endorsements

We are delighted that RE Today has endorsed the Discovering Muslims in Britain CPD course, and the free associated Key Stage 3 teaching resources. The full text from RE Today is as follows:

The new teaching and learning resources from Cardiff University’s Islam UK Centre offer an excellent CPD course for RE teachers with linked classroom plans and materials for KS3. Discovering Muslims in Britain takes a sociological approach to the study of Muslims in Britain, incorporating current data and scholarship curated by the Islam UK Centre. As a renowned centre for study of Islam, Islam-UK’s expertise brings a unique offering to RE teachers, addressing some pressing concerns in RE curricula.

Instead of essentialised, abstract presentations of key beliefs of Islam, for example, the focus is on contemporary forms of Islam and the social realities of Muslim living in Britain. Teachers and pupils encounter Muslim voices through video clips and articles, enabling them to adopt a sociological approach in RE. This resource supports teachers in developing their own and their students’ substantive knowledge about Islam and Muslims, as well as introducing them to disciplinary knowledge – such as how sociology uses quantitative and qualitative methods to create and evaluate knowledge.

Islam is among the most popular topics at KS3 and GCSE-level teaching, and this resource offers thoughtful, detailed CPD for teachers and interesting ways of examining Muslim living. It roots study of Islam within recognisable contexts, providing meaningful and engaging opportunities for learning.

Teachers will find a wealth of associated resources, including recent, cutting edge research, to extend and deepen their own subject knowledge. It is great news that these resources are freely accessible and have been made available digitally. This helps to ensure that everyone can engage fully with the course.

Having reviewed the course and discussed it with the Discovering Muslims in Britain project team, we are pleased to recommend the course and its associated resources.

We are also proud that the Muslim Council of Wales has endorsed our CPD course and free teaching resources:

The Muslim Council of Wales is very pleased to support and endorse the Discovering Muslims in Britain lesson material and teacher training. The resources have been produced by the Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK at Cardiff University, which has a long history of positive relationships and engagement with broader Muslim institutions and communities, and this ethos is reflected in the resources produced.

Religious Education is a valuable and important component of every young person’s education, and it has an important role to play in preparing the individual for life in a diverse and multi-religious Britain. The teaching of Islam is even more important in order to counter misconceptions about Islam and Muslim communities. This is why the Muslim Council of Wales is very pleased to see that academic expertise and research has been utilised in order to prepare lessons and training material that capture the diversity of Muslim experience in Britain

It is especially valuable that the material foregrounds the voices and experiences of Muslims themselves. This helps show Islam is not a foreign religion, but one lived and practised by millions of people in Britain today.

We are really pleased to see a focus on Cardiff throughout, reflecting a City with some of the oldest and most established Muslim communities in Britain.

Dr Abdul-Azim Ahmed
Secretary General 
Muslim Council of Wales