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MA Students

David Hampshire


David Hampshire, Adviser in RE for Cornwall, with Mrs Hampshire, their son Mike and Professor Bob Jackson. David received his MA at the January 2012 degree ceremony and is now doing a part time PhD at Warwick.

Gemma O’Dell

My school-based research for my MA dissertation led to my being invited to join a research team in Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit, working as part of a European project on Religion, Education, Dialogue and Conflict (REDCo). I worked with a group of researchers – four of them former Warwick MA in RE students – as part of a ‘community of practice’. Each of us combined school-based action research with using the key concepts from Robert Jackson’s interpretive approach to the study of religious diversity. We had a series of weekend meetings (funded by the project) to bring our work together and to relate our studies to one another.

Our research is coming out in 2009 as a book called Religious Education Research through a Community of Practice: Action Research and the Interpretive Approach (published by Waxmann), edited by Julia Ipgrave, Robert Jackson & Kevin O’Grady. Both Julia and Kevin are former Warwick MA and PhD students.

My chapter in the book is based on my MA dissertation and presents the findings of a four month action research project aiming to enhance my own teaching practice in RE. I pay particular attention to issues of gender and personal identity, and investigate boys’ perceptions of RE as a ‘feminine’ subject, exploring this as a possible barrier to dialogue. I apply the interpretive approach to promote a sense of the understanding of plural identities; students are encouraged to see their own identities as diverse. My study focuses on gender constructs, and the deconstruction and reconstruction of ‘masculinities’. I also suggest that the understanding of one’s own plural identity can raise awareness of the heterogeneous character of religious traditions.’

The modules I completed for the MA were directly relevant to my teaching practice and have been significant and influential in how I came to develop as a teacher. The most valuable aspect of the MA was going through the process of becoming a more reflective practitioner. The research I carried out for my dissertation allowed me to combine educational theory and approaches to religious education with practice and led me to initiate changes to the way in which I taught.

Ed Pawson

Ed Pawson is a secondary RE subject leader and chair of NATRE (National Association for Teachers of RE). He is passionate about the way in which RE offers young people a unique opportunity to transform their own lives, by learning the skills of dialogue, reflection and inquisitiveness.

His MA dissertation, which he will be linking with a Farmington Fellowship, will explore the impact of a skills-based curriculum on secondary Religious Education.






















Gemma (2nd from the left) at a community of practice seminar.









Ed Pawson, subject leader and chair of NATRE