The “GSUS live” bus was an outstanding teaching tool that provided a high quality learning experience for our pupils. When I arrived at school on Monday morning the “bus” was parked in the front playground. It was more of a large container than a bus and there was a buzz of curiosity from the pupils as they arrived for school that morning. We had scheduled all of year 8, 9 and 10 pupils to experience all the bus had to offer over the next three days along with the GCSE and A level R.E. pupils. This generation of students are very technologically minded. They are familiar with and regularly use smart phones and tablet technology as second nature. So a fully interactive teaching resource was ideal to engage their interest and stimulate their minds. As the pupils entered the bus they were given instructions on the format of the lesson. There were three scenarios that they could choose from, namely teenagers dealing with problems that any teenager might face. One story was about bullying, another about a life-threatening illness and the last about hurt caused by a family member. Every pupil was encouraged to select the story that most appealed to them. They were given the chance to respond and then they could select from interactive pictures such as the Internet, Bible, iPod or TV, which would inform their decisions. It was amazing how engaged they were from the moment they began their interactive lesson. The pupils were challenged to empathise in ways they had never thought of before and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. There were many positive feedback comments but the most notable outcome was from a group of pupils who worked with their R.E. teacher to produce posters pointing to Bible verses that provide help in times of trouble. These posters are displayed around the school to guide their peers who may be worried or facing a difficult time. It is important for us to connect with our young people in a way they are familiar with and understand and the GSUS live experience does just that. When Jesus was teaching the people He used stories they could relate to and examples with which they were familiar. Two thousand years later through the power of His Holy Spirit we can do the same by using the technologies that are available to bring Jesus alive to our young people.
Jill Ashenhurst, Vice Principal, Ashfield Boys’ High School.