Religious Education

RE is taught throughout Woodstock School from KG to grade 12. We consider the education of the whole person to be of vital importance, and this includes spiritual and moral education. We have a vibrant and well-balanced department with long-serving staff members working alongside bright young graduates. The Elementary and Middle Schools focus on the Judaeo- Christian Roots of Woodstock. High School also includes Christian courses alongside courses on World Faiths, Philosophy and Ethics. Students learn through interactive activities both inside the classroom and in the wider environment Field Trips include visits to local churches, mosques and temples and further afield to Amritsar's Golden Temple. Regular weekend retreats are offered as part of the curriculum in Elementay School and as voluntary activities in Middle and High School.. There is a very positive feel to RE at Woodstock, where we believe that we are offering a well-rounded curriculum to our students that will enable them to be spiritually articulate as they move on to college.

Faculty

Mrs. Dot Wildman, HOD

I came to WS after 22 years experience as a teacher in inner city Liverpool, UK, where I had first qualified as a teacher from St. Katharine's College. I have developed courses bases on resources from the Stapleford Centre in Nottingham which emphasise the need to teach core concepts in RE and use art, music and movies as a way of doing this. I have been very excited as the children respond to classical and modern art, music and film. We have recently been producing our own short videos using poetry and PhotoStory. I enjoy learning new ideas and technology from my young colleagues which I can incorporate into the classroom. Who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks! I enjoy life and relax in the beautiful surroundings of the hills with a cold drink on the patio of my heritage raj bungalow. I have fulfilled a lifetime's ambition to make a patchwork quilt since coming to Woodstock thanks to the skills of my American colleagues. I have also travelled all over India and surrounding countries taking in the culture and history of this amazing part of the world.

Howard Wilkins

Following many years in Bangladesh, Howard and his wife Jill first came to Woodstock in 1991, where he taught mathematics and religious education, and later was appointed as chaplain. Returning to his native Melbourne in 1998, Howard worked as chaplain at Carey Baptist Grammar School. He returned to Woodstock in July 2010 again as chaplain and RE teacher.

Jay DeCoux

Jay comes to Woodstock with two degrees from St Olaf College in Psychology and Philosophy. These were focused on social psychology and theological thought. After college Jay worked as the director of youth ministries at a growing church in southern Minnesotea before relocating to the far northeastern corner of Minnesota to direct and manage Wilderness Canoe Base, a year round adventure camp focusing on at risk and surburban youth. Jay has spent time in southern India studying religion and is dedicated to educating young people about the myriad wonders of the world, whether that be in a classroom discussion or hiking out in the hills. Jay has come with his wife Rose and his little boy, Ennis, who bring him constant joy and a true sense of home.

Senior School Course Descriptions

  • Grade 7: Picturing Jesus
    1. This course introduces the person and work of Jesus through the stories in the Gospels linked with paintings from artists all round the world. It seeks to show that Christianity is a world wide religion and people of different cultures have responded to its message through the eyes of their culture. Students will study a familiar topic in an unfamiliar way and so attempt to be creative in thinking about the Key Concepts of what the Incarnation, Death and Resurrection of Jesus means for Christians today.
  • Grade 7: Key Christian beliefs
    1. This course sets out to connect the previous semester's study of The Life of Christ to A Study of The Christian Religion. To further promote an enquiring, critical and sympathetic approach to the study of Christianity as a world religion. To introduce students to the challenging and varied nature of religion and the ways in which this is reflected in Christian experience, belief and practice, and finally to enable students to recognize and appreciate the contribution of Christianity to social norms in large parts of the world today.
  • Grade 8: Looking Inward, Looking Outward
    1. This course seeks to summarize and extend the work done in grades 6 and 7 by looking at what is important in life under the headings of: Human Nature and Human Potential, Knowing Myself, Who Am I?, Looking For Fulfilment, Can I Make A Difference To The World?, Visions and Values: Where Are We Going?
      Students will be given more time for independent study and research projects on the topics listed above. The aim of such study will be to engage in more reflective exercises and to move students more in the direction of applying all they have learnt to their own lives. Concentrate will be placed on the major themes of life: love, justice, kindness, friendliness, helpfulness, forgiveness, self-respect, charity and loyalty.
  • Grade 9: A survey of world religions
    1. This course gives an overview of the four major world religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism and Islam. The course begins with defining key terms about religion and an overview of what questions religions seek to answer, building on what students learn in grade 7 and giving students a common language for further study of religion in later years. In the course, each religion is studied in its own terms, although comparisons and connections between religions are studied as well. Students taking this course will gain a better understanding not only of the beliefs and practices of the four religions but a better understanding of history, art, politics, geography, and current events. Students will also have opportunity reflect on their own beliefs and practices as they encounter new ideas and learn about new traditions.
  • Grade 10 (option for 11 and 12): Rough Guide to Christianity
    1. This course seeks to give an in-depth analysis of the Christian religion with opportunity for students to reflect on their own faith, beliefs, and values. Students study the Jewish roots of Christianity with an overview of the key concepts in the Old Testament, the significance of the person of Jesus and the early Church through the writings of the New Testament. Finally, students look at the development of the Church up to the present day. This class prepares students for further study of Christianity and other religions in later RE courses. It also provides "cultural literacy," preparing students for a better understanding of literature, art, history and many other areas.
  • Grade 11/12: Religions of India
    1. It is central to Woodstock's vision that our students should understand and respect the faith of others. One of the ways we address this is through the High School course on Religions of India. This course is presented in a manner that promotes interfaith dialogue through lectures, essays/ research papers, discussions, class presentations and field trips. At the end of the course students will demonstrate the knowledge of the history of the religions, the lives and teachings of their founders, their basic concepts, religious texts and their importance, life-cycle rituals and practices, worship patterns and festivals. The study of the origin of Hinduism is based primarily on the historical and archaeological evidence, Vedic literature and traditional stories. The students' competency will be demonstrated through comparative and reflective essays on any of the two religions from amongst the religions studied. The students will be using both primary and secondary sources.
  • Grade 11/12: New Testament survey
    1. In this course, students seek to: engage in Biblical texts from the New Testament relating to the life and work of Jesus, the mission of the disciples and apostles, and the development of the early church; develop skills to interpret texts through historical, literal and theological analysis; think critically about the role of Jesus, Biblical texts, and the church in ancient and contemporary contexts; and nurture skills in dialogue of theological nature with fellow learners.
  • Grade 11/12: Philosophy of religion
    1. In this course, students seek to analyze the development of Western philosophical thought with a focus on various aspects of philosophy. Students study individuals and time periods as well as in-depth into different fields of philosophy such as theology, aesthetics, political philosophy, natural philosophy, epistemology and ethics. In addition to study, students are given multiple opportunities for reflection on their own world view. Students taking this course will see the influence of philosophy on many other parts of the world including art, history, language, science, mathematics, literature, and religion. Finally, students are required to read one major philosophical work as part of a research essay and to expose them to this genre of literature.

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