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Types of knowledge in RE

Types of knowledge in RE

There are three types of knowledge in RE.


Substantive knowledge: knowledge about various religious and non-religious traditions.

Ways of knowing: 'how to know' about religious and non-religious traditions

Personal knowledge: building awareness of our own presuppositions and values about the religious and non-religious traditions studied.


Substantive knowledge

Substantive content includes:

-ways people express religion/ non-religion in their lives

-knowlege of artefacts and texts

-concepts and vocabulary relating to faith eg- dharma, incarnation, ritual, prayer, sacred 

(Some concepts are common in multiple religions eg- sacrifice and some concepts are specific to a religious tradition eg- incarnation).

NB: When learning substantive knowledge, many pupils will base their knowledge and conceptual models to a considerable degree on what they learn in the RE curriculum.


'Ways of Knowing' in RE

'Ways of Knowing' in RE is about being scholarly in the way substantive content and concepts are approached. It is about different ways pupils learn how it is possible to explore substantive knowledge.

'Ways of Knowing' in RE can be simplified into disciplines; theology, philosophy and human/ social sciences. How questions are phrased within a unit of work will alter how it is appoached, eg- 'Why do different Hindu stories talk about light?' or 'How does a festival of light bring Hindus together?' Each question enables pupils to consider the question through different discplines. 


Personal knowledge

When pupils study RE content they do it from their own 'viewpoint'. This is influenced by their own values, prior experiences and own sense of identity. Pupils need to be aware of their 'viewpoint' to enable them to be aware of the assumptions they may bring to discussions.

Content relating to meaning and purpose, human nature, justice in society, values, community and self-fulfilment all have potential to develop pupil's personal knowledge.