News / Bringing real life faith experiences into the classroom

Bringing real life faith experiences into the classroom

News / Blog / Schools

F&BF Communications

26 / 08 / 21

We are excited to announce our flagship Encountering Faiths and Beliefs Workshops are returning this Autumn! 

Our Encountering Faiths and Beliefs Workshops workshops bring real-life experiences of faith, belief and identity stories into the classroom via a panel of trained volunteer speakers. With the assistance of a skilled facilitator, students have the opportunity to engage with and pose questions to speakers from different faiths/beliefs – an experience that humanises people of faith, builds empathy and challenges assumptions and misconceptions. 

We will be using our innovative hybrid model of delivery, offering our Encountering Faiths & Beliefs Workshops, School Linking Programme and Online Resources  programmes to both primary and secondary schools. For 2021 we will be working in depth in the London boroughs of Ealing, Brent and Camden, as well as Birmingham in the East Midlands. If you would like us to work with your school this year, please get in touch with: jaishree@faithbeliefforum.org 

“You guys had them on a hook – the session somehow got back to the Deputy Head who came up to me and said that your session was all they were talking about.” Jewish Studies Teacher, Yavneh College 

We have over 50 unique Volunteer School Speakers who hail from a myriad of faiths and beliefs, and who generously offer their time to engage directly with curious pupils on their life stories.  

We recently trained 12 new volunteers who were eager to learn more about how their story could help in interfaith dialogue. The aim of the training day is not only to train volunteers as speakers, but also to provide them with an interfaith encounter opportunity. It is often an emotional, inspiring and sometimes moving experience as people gradually learn about the complexity of one another’s identities over the course of this carefully structured day.  

Stories shared by the trainees included a faith/belief path that had spanned Pagan/Christian/Hindu traditions, a life navigating the different faiths of two parents, a journey in embracing the traditions followed by ancestors for millennia, amongst many other trajectories.  

“Personally, as an Orthodox Jewish man, I don’t shake hands with women – but I’m always happy to explain why, as I wouldn’t want to offend the women I work with.”  

What do you think of this statement?  

This was just one of several faith-related statements the trainees considered in one of the sessions of the day. Rather than passing judgement on the sentiment expressed in each statement, speakers were invited to reflect on whether it was a helpful way to communicate in an interfaith environment – in this particular example the consensus amongst the trainees was that the statement was indeed helpful! 

In addition to exploring tools for skilful interfaith communication, trainees also engaged with F&BF’s methodologies for creating inclusive interfaith spaces, exploring identity, and how to craft their personal lived experience of faith/belief to engage primary and secondary school students.  

If you would like us to work with your school this year, please get in touch with: jaishree@faithbeliefforum.org 

We are always welcoming volunteer speakers for our encountering faith & belief workshops in schools  – get in touch if you would like to know more!  

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