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religious education

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Introduction

Wajid Hussain Religious Context Faith based youth work. In this essay, I want to look at the advantages and the disadvantages of developing faith based approaches to youth work with young people and discuss some of the challenges faced by youth workers in this religious context approach. I want to look at what youth work means first before I talk about faith. Youth work has many meanings for many people. The term 'youth work' is difficult to pinpoint and so when people talk about youth work they can mean different things. Some may see youth work as just running a youth club while others will see it as an informal way of educating e.g. doing detached youth work. In the republic of Ireland the Youth Work Act of 2001 defines "'Youth work' as a planned programme of education designed for the purpose of aiding and enhancing the personal and social development of young persons through their voluntary participation." However there are critics who will look at this definition and say that this is a limited view and that 'central to a definition of youth work is the notion that youth work should aim to engage with society and bring about social change in an unequal society'. ...read more.

Middle

It can be argued that faith groups work with young people from just a youth work principle however if a youth club is named after a religion then it automatically is calling young people from that faith and so young people from other faiths when seeing or hearing of a Christian or Muslim youth club may not want to come. Yes faith groups can work with other people from other faiths but if were talking about religious spirituality or religious work then them people will not understand and grasp the full benefits of the work. Faith based youth work can work with young people from either another faith or no faith at all but if not done correctly it might feel to the young person that he or she is trying to be converted to that faith. Faith based groups do tend to try and guide people to the organizations aim of passing on the faiths core values and practices to the new generation. As S.Banks (pg 110) says 'this urgency may lead to poor practice where a desire to 'convert' results in the exploitation of the religious vulnerability of young people'. A challenge in faith based youth work is that if a youth worker is in a faith based setting, he or she may use their religious beliefs to solve the young persons issues/problems rather than the young person to address their problems themselves. ...read more.

Conclusion

'Participation creates a sense of community which gives meaning to human existence and fosters social integration' James Midgley (1986 pg 3). A young person can feel part of a community by participating, he or she can feel they are part of a close community and in this sense; a person can gain confidence in his or her life. It helps people interact with each other and it forms close bonds with each other. People can feel they are important people and that what they think and feels matters a lot to other people and the community they are in. From studying the module on religious education, I have thought about and understood the strengths and weakness, the advantages and disadvantages, pros and cons of faith based youth work. Different people have different views and I am the view that although faith based work can be seen to have disadvantages the advantages stand out more. Faith based work especially for the Muslim young person is needed because it can meet the needs of the Muslims. Youth workers should have the same values and principles as they would if they worked in a normal setting. You can follow a faith and work as a youth worker but there always will be ethical dilemmas. Faith based youth work is youth work but there is extra added ingredient and that is faith. The goal of both is the same, which is empowerment. ...read more.

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