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Dirk Willems

BACKGROUND Cultural Relativism is the idea that what seems right and good to any individual depends on their culture. Whatever we have grown up with, and are surrounded by, seems normal, right and good. We may disagree with some of the things that are believed in our society, but overall we should not be surprised if people from different cul...

Ages: Ages 16-18 (KS5), Ages 14-16 (KS4), Ages 11-14 (KS3), Ages 7-11 (KS2)

Subjects: RE

Doing Without Doing

Stimulus Describe (and draw) the following two scenarios: Scenario A: You see someone walking along and next to you is a plank of wood. They are not looking where they are going. You decide to place the plank of wood in front of the person so that they will trip over. You do this and they don’t notice and they trip over and hurt them...

Ages: Ages 11-14 (KS3), Ages 7-11 (KS2)

Subjects: Ethics

Themes: Responsibility, Consequences, Causation, Action

Entrepreneurialism: wants and needs

Set the class the following task: to invent (or simply to name) something that people will need but not want, something they will want but not need, and something they will want and need. Conceptual comparison exercise Task Question: What are the differences/similarities between ‘need’ and ‘want’? Place two ho...

Ages: Ages 16-18 (KS5), Ages 14-16 (KS4), Ages 11-14 (KS3), Ages 7-11 (KS2)

Subjects: Ethics

Themes: Value, Entrepreneurialism, Conceptual analysis

Flat Earth

Before reading this you may want to read my comments on ‘permissible lies’ in ‘As if: truth and lies in fiction’ on page 8. This session is based around the curriculum themes earth, sun and moon and direct and indirect evidence. In this session the teacher role-plays the ancient Egyptian thereby giving a dynamic and respo...

Ages: Ages 11-14 (KS3), Ages 14-16 (KS4)

Themes: Knowledge


The year is 1943. Simon Wiesenthal was a jewish architect incarcerated in Lemberg Concentration Camp. He was summoned by the guards. He assumed it was to his death or to heard away the dead bodies of other jews. The Nazi guards escorted him through a ghetto towards a hospital, Simon notices butterflies flying from sunflower to sunflower in ...

Ages: Ages 14-16 (KS4), Ages 11-14 (KS3)

Subjects: Ethics, Humanities

Friends Forever

Set-up This session is particularly appropriate for classes who need practise speaking and listening to each other. Draw a fairly fleshed-out character on the board, including features such as hair, fingers and shoes. This is your friend, they are all the things you like in a friend. However, we don't know what they are yet s...

Ages: Ages 11-14 (KS3), Ages 7-11 (KS2)

Subjects: Metaphysics, English

Themes: Identity, Friendship, Difference


STIMULUS This is the story of a goddess called Parvati and her elephant-headed son, Ganesha. Parvati was alone in the house and feeling sad. Her husband, the mighty god Shiva, was away from home. For a long time she had been hoping to have another child but no baby ever came. To cure her loneliness, she used mud and dirt on the ground to buil...

Ages: Ages 16-18 (KS5), Ages 14-16 (KS4), Ages 11-14 (KS3), Ages 7-11 (KS2)

Subjects: RE

Glass Of Water

Stimulus There was once, in an old city in Afghanistan, a very rich merchant called Dara. He made his money from selling beautiful clothes and jewellery. The clothes were made of silk sewn with gold thread; the jewellery had precious stones like diamonds and emeralds set in gold and silver. After many years of success in business, he rode h...

Ages: Ages 16-18 (KS5), Ages 14-16 (KS4), Ages 11-14 (KS3), Ages 7-11 (KS2)

Subjects: RE

Here and Elsewhere

Thought Adventure 41 This is not only a curriculum topic (at the time of writing), it is also a topical topic, and, in my experience in schools in South East London, one that has special significance for the children I have run this session with, many of them being immigrants – or the children of immigrants – themselves. Equ...

Ages: Ages 16-18 (KS5), Ages 14-16 (KS4), Ages 11-14 (KS3), Ages 7-11 (KS2)

Subjects: Humanities

Themes: Tourism, Migration, Identity, Holidays

Here's a Thought

Write the following question on a piece of paper, whiteboard or IWB (interactive whiteboard): Is there a thought on this piece of paper [or whiteboard or IWB etc.]? Nested Questions: What is a thought? Where are thoughts? How are thoughts created? Where do thoughts that aren’t being thought about go? Where is William Sh...

Ages: Ages 14-16 (KS4), Ages 11-14 (KS3), Ages 7-11 (KS2)

Subjects: Metaphysics

Themes: Thinking, Mind/Brain