Religion and Belief

Religion & Belief Tandem Learning

Each year, the University of Sheffield Chaplaincy Service hosts a programme of dialogue for staff and students of all religions and beliefs. Students and staff with an interest in this type of dialogue and questions of religious and belief identities are welcome to participate. The great thing is that you determine what you want to learn, and you can arrange to meet up whenever and wherever you want.

'Religion & Belief Tandem Learning' has been developed by the Chaplaincy in conjunction with the Modern Languages Teaching Centre. It is a form of autonomous learning in which students and staff participate in structured conversations on a range of issues relating to ethics and belief. Following the principle of reciprocity or mutual benefit, each participant has to benefit equally to their own satisfaction from working in tandem.

Participants are encouraged to increase their social and cultural awareness by engaging actively with questions of religious and belief identities. Religion & Belief tandem learning takes place when participants of two different belief perspectives work together in order to learn about each other's faith and to explore their own self-understanding. The task is not simply to engage in abstract debate but to understand religious identity in terms of personal reality and real experience.

To get started, you need to download the 'Setting Objectives' form and answer some simple questions. You will then attend two introductory sessions to pair up with a tandem partner and to develop your listening skills. Task Sheets with topics for structured conversations are available from this website. If you want to gain credit  to be included on your HEAR, you will also need to complete the Learner Diary. If you need any advice or support during the programme, the Chaplains are available to help.

These are some of the reflections of students who have participated in the past:

"To be honest when I first heard about it I was sceptical.... I thought it's never going to work. But I really enjoyed it. I thought it was completely different to any interfaith thing I have experienced before. It was good."

"I can ask the kind of questions I wouldn't be able to ask a priest or someone, because I would expect them to give me a textbook answer. But because it was another student and their experience of it, it was interesting to see how they actually put it into practice. Rather than what I was almost expecting to hear, I got a sense of their faith as a real experience."

This programme has been funded by the University of Sheffield and the HE Academy Subject Centre for Religious and Philosophical Studies.