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Teaching Toolkits

Humanism is an important teaching area within Religious Education/Religious and Moral Education curriculum. These toolkits will help you integrate key understandings about Humanism through ready-made whiteboard presentations supported with teaching notes and photocopiable worksheets.

The Toolkits have been created to match curriculum needs at the main learning levels. Toolkits are dedicated to learning at Key Stage 1, 2 and 3 (ages 5-7, 7-11 and 11-14) although they can also be used with ages above and below, or as a short course for any age range.

What Makes Us Special? (Ages 5 – 7)

For humanists, one of the most important attributes of humans is the ability which we have to ask questions about the world around us and investigate those questions. This attribute is important for humanists for two reasons: it means that we can find out about and understand the world around us, and it means we can use the answers to our questions to change the world around us.

The aim of this toolkit is to introduce pupils to these ideas and to stimulate them to explore their own responses to them.

What Do We Celebrate and Why? (Ages 7 – 11)

The aim of this toolkit is to explore two key humanist ideas. The first is that our relationships with others are important: humanists say that it is our human relationships, and the love, commitment, and responsibility in those relationships, which give us the support we need in life, and that there is no god or life after death.

The second is the humanist idea that because this is the only life we have we should therefore try to live a full and happy life and help others to do the same.

How Should We Treat Other People and Why? (Ages 7 – 11)

The aim of this toolkit is to explore the ways in which humanists make moral decisions. It focuses on two key ideas: the Golden Rule and the use of reason. Humanists say that our ability to reflect on issues of right and wrong comes from our own human nature and that the way to answer questions of what actions are right and wrong is to ask what the effects of those actions will be on people.

How Do You Know It’s True? (Ages 11 – 14)

This toolkit explores the ways in which humanists approach the question of what is true. Humanists use reason and evidence to work out what is or may be true.

They look for evidence, weigh up the strength of evidence, look for ways to test the evidence, and look for the simplest explanations of it.

How Do You Tell Right From Wrong? (Ages 11 – 14)

In this toolkit students explore the concepts which humanists use to make moral choices. They look at the ways in which these concepts can be applied to practical ethical decisions. They compare the humanist approach to ethics with their own ideas and with those of people from religious traditions they have studied.

What’s It All For? (Ages 11 – 14)

The aim of this toolkit is to explore what humanist beliefs about what gives a sense of meaning and purpose in life and why. It focuses on three main points: humanists base their ideas about the world on reason and evidence, humanists therefore conclude that this is the only life we know we have and that there is no evidence for life after death, humanists say that there is no evidence
of ultimate purpose or destiny in the universe and that therefore we have to make our own meaning and purpose. We must also look to our own human attributes to deal with the problems in the world and make our own destiny.

Humanism for Schools

Humanism is a non-religious approach to life, which the 2013 national framework for RE in England recommends be studied in schools as an example of a 'non-religious worldview'.

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