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Calderglen High School

Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies (RMPS)

Staff

Mr D Munn  (Faculty Head)

Mr L Brown 

Ms C Rankin

Why study RMPS?

The purpose of this course is to develop knowledge and understanding of religious, moral and philosophical issues and how these relate to personal or practical context. It will explore the questions they raise and the solutions or approaches they offer. Learners will have the opportunity to critically reflect on these and on their own experiences and views. Religious and non-religious perspectives will be included.

Units of work cover key themes of the subject area, requiring learners to study a world religion in detail, understand a range of philosophical and religious approaches to morality, and key aspects of contemporary religious debate. Good literacy skills are important in order to progress in this subject.

S1

Religion & Philosophy

The first unit in S1 starts with a general study of religion in the world and its impact on all our lives. The pupils then engage in some Philosophical Enquiry tasks. The final section involves a group presentation where the links between important life questions and action are explored.

Christianity & Social Action

Christianity is the largest of the world faiths with an estimated 2.2 billion followers on the planet. It has been a huge influence on western culture and on Scotland’s society. It continues to be a huge part of the fabric of our community

Despite the prominence of Christianity in our world it remains a religion where there are still misconceptions.

The unit that pupils follow in S1 helps them to understand the core beliefs and practices of Christianity. It has a particular focus on Jesus and what impact He has on the lives of Christians today. We examine Jesus’ teachings and how Christians follow His example. We examine the shared beliefs that most Christians have as to who Jesus actually was.

Through this study the students also learn FROM Christianity. We examine ideas such as social action and how everyone can make a positive contribution to the weakest and most vulnerable in our world. This is done through a “Dragon’s Den” style social enterprise project and through our annual Social Action day.

One misconception linked to Christianity relates to the ongoing issue in Scotland of sectarianism. Through this unit we examine this problem. Pupils learn that Protestants, Catholics and Orthodox are all Christian denominations, sharing many core values and beliefs. Pupils see the incompatibility of hatred and bigotry to the teachings of Jesus. There is a short study of the sources of sectarianism and how we can all tackle this problem together.

S2

Islam

Islam is the second largest religion in the world today, with over 1.4 billion followers. It is the second largest in Scotland. Islam is also one of the most misunderstood faiths of this world.

This unit offers a great insight into the beliefs and values of Islam. Pupils examine how Muslims practice their faith and how this links to their beliefs about Allah(God). The importance of the Prophet Muhammad(Pbuh) and The Holy Qur’an are studied.

The Scottish Curriculum for Excellence states that the challenge of religions to our society are to be explored. Through Islam the social issue of alcohol is explored.

One of the most pressing problems facing our society is the exponential rise in Islamophobia and hate crime. This unit examines how the media’s portrayal of global events and terrorism can distort non-Muslims’ views of the religion. This unit tries to remedy this and to help pupils see that they themselves can play an active role in combating this potentially divisive problem.

Judaism & The Holocaust

Judaism may be one of the smaller of the world’s great faiths in number of adherents but its influence on our world has been immense.

In this unit we study the basics of the Jewish faith. Particular emphasis is placed on the Covenant and the role of the Mitzvah in the lives of Jews today. An enterprise project is undertaken where pupils are required to design a new Kosher restaurant. This leads to a great comprehension of the link between interpretation of the Torah and daily life.

Sadly one reason Judaism is one of the smaller of the world religions is due to the appalling history of persecution that those of the faith have had to face. This culminated in the events of The Holocaust (Shoah) during the 1930s and 1940s. A study of Anti-Semitism and the events of the Holocaust is a crucial part of this unit. The project culminates in a search through the archives of those who perished to research an individual and to remember them.

The important lessons for today from the Holocaust is also emphasised by the unit.

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – (George Santayana)

 “The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good People Do Nothing” – (Possibly Edmund Burke)

 S3/4 Core

Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies 

All pupils in S3 and S4 have one period of RMPS per week. RMPS plays an important role in the development of key skills and in gaining a better understanding of the world we live in. It is part of the preparation of young people for life. Employers recognise that skills gained in RMPS are highly transferable.


RMPS has many aims. These include:-

  • to have an awareness that religion continues to play an important role in the world
  • to develop an understanding of the moral issues that affect us all, to comprehend differing views points on these and to have the ability to explain your own views on these issues
  • to develop an understanding of the moral issues that affect us all, to comprehend differing view points on these and to have the ability to explain your own views on these issues
  • to encourage the development of philosophical thinking, the skill of giving reasoned argument and the ability to evaluate concepts
  • to  foster attitudes of tolerance, justice and open-minded enquiry

S3

In S3 pupils will follow an RMPS course as part of a broad general education, covering level 4 outcomes and experiences.  During S3 pupils will also overtake some of the National 4 and National 5 outcomes. Students who elect to do the RMPS course in S3 follow a curriculum that fulfils the requirements of the Broad General Education and prepares them for the National 3 – 5 courses in the subject. During the year pupils will study two world religion units, a morality unit and a philosophy unit. The course begins with a general skills development unit.


Further details of units and course content can be obtained from:-

www.sqa.org.uk/curriculumforexcellence.

www.sqa.org.uk/cfeforparents

 

Skills

RMPS develops many important skills for life, learning and work. To start the course we have a short programme of study that focuses on identifying and developing these skills. These include research, analysis, evaluation, philosophical thinking and problem solving. Pupils will research a moral issue, such a voluntary euthanasia and differing responses to this. They will be required to present a short piece of work describing their own perspectives on the issue covered.

 

Units

Christinity 

Christianity is the largest of the world’s major faiths and the most influential in this country. Students undertake a study of various aspects of the religion. This includes an examination of Christian Rites of Passage. This allows us to also touch on moral issues such as marriage, divorce and sexuality.


Moral Philosophy 

Students are made aware of the process of moral decision making. They examine various theories as what is the best approach to this, including non-religious moral stances such as Utilitarianism. The moral philosophies studied are then applied to actual issues, such as Nuclear Weapons. The unit further develops the vital skills of analysis and evaluation that are the main focus for assessment at SQA levels.


RPQ

The main aim of this unit is to allow students to explore some of the major philosophical questions that have tested humanity. At National 3-5 Level at Calderglen the question covered is The Existence of God.

Students explore what theistic religions actually believe God to be, dispelling any notion of a “beardy guy in the sky”. They examine the nature of God and ask whether believing in such an entity is valid in the modern scientific age.

Two of the main philosophical arguments that are made to prove the existence of God are the Cosmological and the Teleological. In this course we critically examine both of these arguments. We evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each. We also look at how modern day science can be used by some to attack these arguments and how some actually believe that science supports them.

As always, we have balance in these units. We will crucially examine arguments that have been put forward to disprove the existence of God. Ideas from the likes of Richard Dawkins are used as sources for this.


Hinduism

Hinduism is the third largest of the world’s religions. Recently it is believed that it has now topped over one billion followers across the planet. Hinduism is also the oldest of the major world faiths, perhaps stretching back as far as 5000 B.C.E. Hinduism is very much associated with India. The history, language, customs and culture of this colossal land are inextricably linked to Hinduism.

By studying Hinduism the students gain an excellent broad understanding of the religion. They will be expected to explain its key philosophies and see how they affect the lives of the followers today. By studying Hinduism students gain an important grasp of life in India, one of the U.K’s most important business trading partners.

 

Assessment of Course

The course will be assessed and marked throughout the session by teachers. These assessments are appropriate to the subject and level of study. Assessments may include a combination of practical work, case studies, examinations and projects.

 

Progression

At the end of S3 pupils will progress to a course leading onto a qualification at National 3, National 4 or National 5.


At the end of S4 pupils could choose from the following progression routes:
 

  • A pupil achieving National 3may progress to National 4
  • A pupil achieving National 4 may progress to National 5
  • A pupil achieving National 5 may progress to Higher

 
Homework

There will be an expectation that homework tasks appropriate to the context and skills of the course will be undertaken. These tasks are an integral part of the course and may be of an investigative nature.

S3/S4 Group Award

Bob Marley/Rastafarianism

Belief in Action – Bob Marley and Rastafarianism

It is vital in this unit that pupils comprehend the very close link that exists between our values and how we live our lives. A case study of an individual who clearly had strong beliefs that influenced their actions is always a good place for pupils to begin.

Bob Marley was once described as the developing world’s first superstar. This pioneer of reggae music was a devoted member of the Rastafarian faith and had a clear commitment to values such as justice and equality. We see how Marley’s background and experiences forged his values and how he tried to use his music to get his message heard across the world.

Through this study we explore the basic tenets of Rastafarianism. We also use Bob Marley’s life to begin to investigate issues such as poverty, racism and personal freedom.

 

SQA Values in Action Project

Belief in Action Project

A major part of this unit is a structured project undertaken by the pupils. The focus of this is on the pupils own values and putting these into action.

The project can be done on an individual basis or as part of a larger group. The pupils select an issue or cause that they feel strongly about. They then research this and plan some form of practical way that they can contribute to the community, either locally or globally.

After the project is completed the pupils have to reflect on what they have done. This includes identifying how their values compare with that of world religions and how the study may have altered their views.

Recent years have seen pupils picking a very wide range of different issues and causes to help aid. This has included, Water Aid, Hate Speech, Sexual Harassment, Glasgow’s Children’s Hospital, Amnesty International and Mental Health charities.

One group set about helping the charity/pressure group Sea Shepherd by encouraging pupils to participate in a “nurdle hunt”. Small plastic pellets (called nurdles) are a colossal cause of marine damage. Sea Shepherd has tried to organise volunteers to count these on the sea shore so that accurate data can be collected to try to press for changes in practices in the plastics industry. The pupil’s project tried to raise awareness of this issue and to get fellow pupils to contribute to Sea Shepherd’s work.

In future sessions we hope to expand further the range of issues and causes covered. For example, the school has forged links with a charity that works helping those with facial disfigurements.

National 4/5

National 4

The National 4 Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies Course enables learners to investigate and describe religious, moral and philosophical questions and responses, make comparisons, and develop the ability to express reasoned views.

National 5

The National 5 Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies Course enables learners to investigate and explain religious, moral and philosophical questions and responses, make comparisons, and develop the ability to express detailed and reasoned views.

 

Course Content

The course is comprised of three units. These are:


Hinduism

Hinduism is the third largest of the world’s religions. Recently it is believed that it has now topped over one billion followers across the planet. Hinduism is also the oldest of the major world faiths, perhaps stretching back as far as 5000B.C.E. Hinduism is very much associated with India. The history, language, customs and culture of this colossal land are inextricably linked to Hinduism.

By studying Hinduism the students gain an excellent broad understanding of the religion. They will be expected to explain its key philosophies and see how they affect the lives of the followers today. By studying Hinduism students gain an important grasp of life in India, one of the U.K’s most important business trading partners.

Topics included in the Hinduism unit are:

  • Brahman (God)
  • Atman(Soul or Self)
  • Avidya
  • Krishna
  • Karma
  • Samsara
  • Moksha
  • Dharma
  • The Three Margas
  • Hindu Worship

 

War and Conflict

Unfortunately war shapes the world in which we live. In Calderglen we study the Morality and Belief unit that covers this incredibly important moral issue. We examine the causes of war and the impact the conflict has on all affected. We study the issues raised by modern armaments such as drones and nuclear weapons. The views of the religions and non-religious philosophies are analysed and evaluated.

Topics included in the Morality and Belief: Conflict unit are:

  • The Causes of War
  • The Types of War
  • The Justifications for War –Just War Theory
  • The Geneva Convention
  • The Consequences of War – human, economic, environmental
  • Modern Armaments – WMDs, smart weapons, conventional weapons
  • Alternatives to War – pacifism, sanctions, diplomacy

 

RPQ Existence of God

The main aim of this unit is to allow students to explore some of the major philosophical questions that have tested humanity. National 3-5 Level at Calderglen the question covered is The Existence of God.

Students explore what theistic religions actually believe God to be, dispelling any notion of a “beardy guy in the sky”. They examine the nature of God and ask whether believing in such an entity is valid in the modern scientific age.

Two of the main philosophical arguments that are made to prove the existence of God are the Cosmological and the Teleological. In this course we critically examine both of these arguments. We evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each. We also look at how modern day science can be used by some to attack these arguments and how some actually believe that science supports them.

As always, we have balance in these units. We also will crucially examine arguments that have been put forward to disprove the existence of God. Ideas from the likes of Richard Dawkins are used as sources for this.

Topics covered in this unit are:

  • The Nature of God according to World Religions
  • The Teleological Arguments – Strengths and Weaknesses, Relation to Modern Science
  • The Cosmological Arguments – Strengths and Weaknesses, Relation to Modern Science

 

Added Value Unit

20% of the overall award at National 5 is the Added Value Unit or Assignment. A version of this is also a requirement for National 4.

The student is required to identify an issue that is related to religion, morality, philosophy or a combination of these. There is a degree of personalisation and choice in this process.

The student must then undertake research into this issue with some guidance from departmental staff. The SQA set out the requirements as:

  • identifying an appropriate religious, moral or philosophical issue for study, about which there are alternative or different points of view
  • commenting on the significance or impact of the issue
  • using sources of information
  • drawing on knowledge and understanding to explain and analyse the issue and viewpoints, one of which must be religious, moral or philosophical
  • drawing and presenting a detailed and reasoned conclusion on the issue

For students sitting National 4 a project meeting the above requirements would need to be submitted. This could take a variety of different forms.

For National 5 students a formal essay based on their research needs to be completed under exam conditions. Students are permitted to have 200 words of prepared notes with them aid them in this task.

Some students chose issues related to the other units in the course at Calderglen, such as nuclear weapons or varna(caste) system in Hinduism. Others have chosen to do other topics that interest them. Among the variety of issues from recent years have been euthanasia, capital punishment, genetic engineering, poverty, advertising and the existence of a soul.

Higher

Higher RMPS is, as the name suggests, an academic study of religion, moral issues and some of the most important philosophical questions of our time. It is not RE.
 

Entry Requirements

All students will be considered for the Higher course. National 5 RMPS is not an entry requirement. Those entering the course are expected to have achieved a good pass at National 5  in English and/or a Social Subject. They will also usually have successfully completed one of the SQA RMPS Units studied by all students in S3-4. Anyone requiring further information about entry requirements or any other part of the course structure should contact Mr Brown in the RMPS department.

 

Course Content

The course is comprised of three units. These are: 

World Religion: Buddhism

A comprehensive study of the key teachings and practices of the fourth largest of the world’s great faiths. Students examine the philosophy of Buddhism, analyse its scriptures and evaluate its place in the modern world. The study of this eastern religion/philosophy helps students to break out of western ways of thinking and to explore the way in which other religions approach existential questions.

Morality and Belief- Relationships

Students will study moral issues surrounding the areas of gender and relationships. These will include topics such as the place of marriage in society, gender inequality and discrimination, sexual relationships and LGBT+ issues. Students will be required to explain the importance of these in our society and in the wider world. Their tasks will include investigating differing moral views on these topics. These will include religious viewpoints as well as secular stances such as Utilitarianism and Feminism.

Religious and Philosophical Questions – Origins

An in depth study of the turbulent relationship between faith and science. Students examine the challenge of scientific theory to religious belief. They analyse the various responses to this challenge ranging from Richard Dawkins to the increasing growth of Literal Creationism. Students objectively evaluate the arguments given by all on issues such as Big Bang, human nature and evolution. The question of the compatibility of a scientific world view and a religious view will be discussed.

Assessment

Each unit in the course is assessed internally. Students will be tested on their knowledge and skills. The course assessment is a final exam where the student will be required to answer a series of structured questions from all three units. The final exam is worth 75% of the course. There are two papers, one of 2 hours and 15 minutes and another of 45 minutes. The assignment is worth the remaining 25%.

Assignment

All students will be required to complete an in depth study on an area of religious, moral or philosophical significance. The choice will be the student’s but must be one that they can research successfully and write a prepared essay on under exam conditions. Many students will choose to cover a moral issue such as medical ethics, war and conflict or relationships. They will need to ensure that religious and secular viewpoints are included. The essay has to conclude with a developed conclusion including their own viewpoints. The Assignment allows the student to focus on an issue of their choice at some depth and demonstrate important skills.

Methods of Study

Students will be required to develop their learning in many ways. RMPS requires some extensive study and reading of resources. Much of this must be done outside of class time. This will be in addition to regular homework tasks.

An educational trip to the Samye Ling Buddhist Centre is also a planned part of the course.

In class the skills of philosophical debate are encouraged. They enhance learning and develop broader skills.

Careers with RMPS

RMPS is recognised and respected as an entry qualification to all Scottish Universities and Colleges of Further Education. The ‘scope’ of the subject will be an advantage to those applying to study most subjects, particularly Medicine, English, Law, social subjects and other humanities. The philosophy aspects have also been seen as useful for business courses. In a recent survey of Scottish Universities all stated that they believed that RMPS is an incredibly important and valuable qualification.

For example, Dr Christopher McCorkindale, Academic Admissions Selector and lecturer in law at Strathclyde University stated:

“Not only in law but ALL university subjects one of the first qualities that we, as academics, look for in students is a capacity for critical thinking and a desire to apply that way of thinking to the world given to them. I can say with absolute certainty that not only the substantive content of RMPS and Philosophy, but in addition the development of students’ critical thinking faculties, are amongst the most desirable qualities sought by universities and by employers who constantly face new challenges – and require a dexterity of thought – in responding to an ever-changing world. “

RMPS/RME is a compulsory subject in both the Primary and Secondary sectors. Higher RMPS would be an advantage to all those considering a career in education. Harvard University has stated that Religious Literacy is increasingly crucial to a more understanding and cohesive society. Social work, medicine, nursing, law and the Armed Forces are all careers where RMPS qualifications are looked upon favourably.