Edge Hill University
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Examining Student Perceptions of the Effectiveness of Safe Spaces in Secondary Religious Education.m4a

posted on 2022-10-31, 14:21 authored by Fiona Levens


The long-term effects of Covid 19 on Scottish students are still unknown, however what has become clear post lockdown is the detrimental effect it has had on the mental health of young people. Anxiety and depression are at an all-time high, school non-attendance rates have increased, and young people are struggling with the readjustment back to fulltime education. 

The question of how we can ensure young people feel safe, confident, and included in our classrooms is a challenge faced by teachers across all curricular areas, and at all stages of the Scottish Curriculum for Excellency. By considering how we do this and why it is important for young people to be involved in this dialogue is an area vital to Covid recovery. 

This research examines the perceived need for and importance of students to be in a ‘safe space’ to be able to learn and examines the terminology of ‘brave’ ‘civil’ and ‘respectful’ spaces to look at what effect this has on learners in a secondary RE environment. The intervention involved using explicit teaching and understanding of these vocabulary, student discussion and debate, and questionnaires ranking the importance of each of these methods by the students.
Data collection was collected in a mixed method approach, using pre and post intervention questionnaires, starters and plenaries embedded into lessons, observations, and case studies and final thematic analysis were conducted. 

This study concluded that students show preferences away from ‘safe’ spaces and aim to create a classroom environment in which civility and respect are central. 


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