Teaching Buddhism for new A level Religious Studies specifications

This course aims to provide detailed guidance and subject knowledge development for the Buddhism element of the new A level Religious Studies courses.

The revised A level criteria requires detailed understanding of teachings and practices in the chosen religion. In this course on the Buddhism strand, we will explore the requirements of the different specifications and identify the areas which are likely to pose the need for further research and resourcing, with a particular focus on Mahayana.

Key topics will include:

  • Key differences between Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism
  • Mahayana- the visualization of Bodhisattvas, the Trikaya, the Lotus Sutra, Madyamaka philosophy, sunyata
  • Human destiny: Arhat (Arahant) and Bodhisattva ideals, Buddhahood
  • Pure Land: Amitabha Buddha
  • Zen Buddhism: vipassana, zazen, satori
  • Buddhism and new religious movements

This course aims to help teachers to:

  • Gain a good grasp of the requirements of the revised A level courses
  • Understand key beliefs, teachings and practices in Buddhism
  • Explore creative learning opportunities for more effective teaching of these topics
  • Access relevant resources and teaching materials.

Presenter Profiles

Professor Denise Cush was Head of Study of Religions at Bath Spa University. She specialises in Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and alternative spiritualities, as well as religious education. She has also taught Religious Studies in a sixth form college, and trained both primary and secondary teachers of religious education. She is deputy editor of the British Journal of Religious Education.

Ed Pawson spent 23 years as a secondary RE teacher, most recently as subject leader in a successful and popular RE department. He currently works as an educational adviser and consultant, contracting to the Diocese of Exeter and as adviser to Devon SACRE. He is on the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE) national executive, having been Chair for 6 years. He is a member of the Board of the Religious Education Council (REC) and he is the Project Director for the Learn, Teach, Lead RE programme in West of England (Somerset, Bristol and Swindon). He is passionate about the way in which RE can offer young people a unique opportunity to develop skills such as critical evaluation and dialogue. He believes that, at its best, religious education enables young people become more inquisitive, reflective and engaged learners.

Feedback from teachers on Denise and Ed’s course

A big help, thank you. This has helped to address some confusion that I had about various topics. It was nice to meet up with other teachers who are also unsure about how much depth to go into!
I found the session on Buddhism and gender very helpful and it was good to be able to network with other schools.
Wonderful, positive and insightful! Fantastic energy and goodwill.
A most enjoyable, thoughtful and engaging course. Thank you.
Thanks very much – nice to have such a good networking chance with relevant material - !!
Pitched well – great for people immersed in teaching Buddhism.
I didn’t know what to expect, but I came away with some excellent ideas and places I can look for to develop ideas/teaching methods. Excellent discussion on many issues.
Excellent – just what we needed! Helping to banish my ignorance.
Tremendous amount of content included – will look forward to working through it.
Knowledgeable and engaging throughout – well done! A really useful course.

Cost: £250 per delegate which includes lunch and resources; £299 for 2 teachers from the same school booking on this course

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