Education and Arts

2010 Abstracts

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Abstracts from Journal of Religious Education, Volume 58(4) 2010

I listen, I listen again and I learn - The value of using iPods in Religious Education


In March, 2010, 250 Year 9 students from Xavier College, Kew, participated in a newly designed learning experience that focussed on a Podcast tour of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, East Melbourne. The aim of this paper is to explore how students and teachers experienced this different type of tour, how this aligns with contemporary thinking about the use of mobile technology in education, and what the advantages of this type of tour were compared with more traditional tours, in terms of student learning.

Planning Guide For Celebrating Liturgy In Catholic Schools


Those schools which have a close affiliation with a particular religious tradition will inevitably wish at some time or other to give some ritual expression to the faith life that many of the parents, staff and students profess. Those faith traditions that have a strong sacramental tradition will often celebrate the first communion and confirmation of their students as a school group, prepared by school staff, even though the actual liturgy might be held in the parish church, include other children not in a Catholic school, and be rightly seen as a parish event. Catholic schools have a stronger tradition than many of celebrating eucharist with the staff and children to commemorate patronal feasts, significant events in the liturgical calendar, or in the life of the school community. For all of these communities, no matter where they might find themselves on the scale of the frequency of these rituals, careful preparation is essential if the celebration is to have any efficacy at all.

Certainly in the Catholic school system, efforts are made to provide schools with some assistance in this preparation through some form of planning guide. There are no doubt sitting in bookshelves in staffrooms and Religious Education Co-ordinators” Offices around the country copies of Liturgical planning guides produced at various times by a Catholic Education Commission, Catholic Education Office, or their equivalents. The intentions are always to review such documents and to bring them up to date in the light of new liturgical changes, Vatican documents, or new theological understandings. Due to pressure to work on other more urgent or more important areas, these Guides are sometimes left in their original state for some time and as a result fall into disuse, or worse still continue to be followed when the wider praying and worshipping community has moved on.

One such document is the Planning Guide for Celebrating Liturgy in Catholic Schools (Guide) published by the Catholic Education Commission of Western Australia in 1998. One could safely say that is overdue for a revision. I dare say that it would not be alone.
This article will attempt to evaluate this resource against the principles for celebrations with children as set forth in the Directory for Masses with Children (DMC) (Congregation, 1982) and other sources of expert comment on liturgy, in the hope that this exercise might prompt a revision of similar ‘older’ documents in Dioceses around Australia. The same principles and suggestions applied to the West Australian document can be applied to any other similar document, hopefully with fruitful results. While this examination is focused on an, obviously, Catholic document, many of the principles and practical suggestions might find resonance in other faith traditions as well.

The Power of Parables for Religious Education

In the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus often uses parables to teach about the reign of God, to challenge his audience to think differently about God and themselves in relation to God. Today’s religious educators often draw on these parables in their own teaching. Understanding the power of the parable for its original first-century audience allows students to then make parallels within their own context. It is crucial for religious educators to be aware of the confronting nature of parables so that they might assist students to identify the subversive elements in these stories. This paper presupposes a basic knowledge of the parables and at the same time aims to assist educators with their understanding of the potential power of parables.

Peer Review and its contribution to the Professional Growth and Learning of Pre-service Teachers of Religious Education

In recent times peer review strategies have been incorporated into the learning and teaching plans of many tertiary education courses across a variety of disciplines. Recent studies have found that the inclusion of peer review strategies has increased student motivation (Topping, 1998), promoted collaborative learning and improved academic skills (Malone & Riggsbee, 2007), fostered constructive feedback from peers (Bernstein, 2008) and improved learning outcomes for students (Van Weert & Pilot, 2003). This paper reports on some of the key findings about the inclusion of peer review strategies in a religious education subject undertaken by pre-service teachers enrolled in a postgraduate diploma in secondary education at Australian Catholic University (Melbourne campus), Australia. The study involved sixty pre-service teacher participants who were undertaking a curriculum and teaching religious education class. Each participant was involved in the peer review process and then invited to share their perceptions by participating in a focus group as well as completing a questionnaire. This study was located within a constructivist paradigm and drew upon Glaser and Strauss’ (1967) original principles of grounded theory to identify the key findings. The study found that there was a significant alignment between the benefits of peer review strategies in other discipline areas, and religious education. Furthermore, the study found that the peer review process contributed to the pre-service teachers’ ability to critically self-reflect on their learning and their professional growth as religious educators.

New wine, new wine-skins: Revisiting Catholic Sacramentality through the Eyes of a Child’s Spiritual Being

This theoretical paper discusses the spirituality of childhood within the context of Catholic sacramentality, specifically the child’s experience of the Sacrament of Eucharist. The authors argue that readiness for a child’s reception of the Eucharist needs to take into account the spiritual being of the child, as well as the child’s cognitive capacity to grasp the meaning of the Eucharist. Future research directions arising from this theoretical paper are discussed in the conclusion.

Doing God’s Work: A Study of Ukrainian Greek Catholic Catechists in Alberta

Many religious communities rely heavily on the work of parish based catechists in assisting the intergenerational transfer of religious beliefs and practices. The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) in Alberta, Canada is no exception. In this study, based on questionnaire responses and interviews, UGCC catechists were found to be experienced, well qualified and motivated. They, nonetheless, face a number of challenges in their role such as working in a culture that no longer supports and privileges religious commitment and the need to develop a cogent and distinctive educational program for children and youth who enroll in parish based programs. A number of recommendations such as the need for greater networking and provision of more focused Eastern Catholic educational are made. A key conclusion is that the role of the catechist needs to seem as augmenting and not replacing that of parents as agents of catechesis.

“I speak textbook Jewish”: Confessions of an outsider

Two religious education modes have co-existed in public education for some time. In NSW, these are known as General Religious Education (GRE) and Religious Instruction (RI). GRE is seen as non-sectarian in nature. Teaching of GRE is typically conducted by the classroom teacher, perhaps supported by visiting experts. Its aim is primarily to inform about the faith and its adherents; education by outsiders, catering for outsiders. RI, by contrast, is usually conducted by a visiting faith adherent, and is persuasive in purpose.

This paper compares each approach, and asks who is best positioned to instruct on religion/s, in terms of the subject’s audience and purposes. It investigates what faith ‘insiders’, or outsiders bring and fail to bring to GRE pedagogy. Can outsiders transcend ‘textbook knowledge’? This dichotomy is illustrated by encounters between the (outsider) author and an insider-colleague. Three strands intertwine in this paper: my discussions with a colleague; my understanding of my teaching; the implications for related curriculum.

Overcoming Challenges in Understanding Metaphysical and Spiritual Concepts

One of the challenges for followers of any religion is to understand and internalise metaphysical and spiritual concepts that are often abstract or hard to conceptualise for an ordinary believer. Islamic spiritual and metaphysical concepts are no exception to this challenge. Understanding certain concepts which appear in the Qur'an, the holy book for Muslims, such as "God is everywhere" and "God sees all", can be difficult for Muslims to grasp, because of their intangible and ‘unseen’ nature. But at the same time, understanding such concepts is a critical part of one’s spiritual development. Understanding is the first step in spiritual development, followed by internalising and experiencing.

Even if one is able to understand, internalise or experience such concepts oneself, explaining or teaching such metaphysical realities to people who have different levels of education, spirituality and life experiences, is not an easy matter. Without diagrams, experiments or demonstrations to support ones statements, explanations of such concepts may seem superficial or even delusional. This is an extremely important point needing consideration when teaching religion. As youth become more dependent on visual stimuli and as material existence is the only type of existence accepted by some, belief in the existence of a metaphysical and spiritual world becomes almost impossible for many. However, arguably, a mission impossible is made possible through clever use of analogies which compels one to consider concepts which would otherwise be disregarded.

In this paper, the topic at hand will be addressed by firstly explaining three challenges that exist in our contemporary world which make it difficult for individuals to grasp metaphysical and spiritual concepts; separation of religion and science, the abstract nature of metaphysical and spiritual concepts and the materialistic nature of societies.

Secondly, the approach taken by the Qur’an and the Risale-i Nur, a contemporary commentary of the Qur’an, will be explored to better understand how they overcome the above mentioned challenges by the use of analogies and allegorical comparisons.



Abstracts from Journal of Religious Education, Volume 58(3) 2010

A Case For A ‘Big Picture’ Re-Orientation Of K-12 Australian Catholic School Religious Education In The Light Of Contemporary Spirituality

This is the second of two articles that argue a case for a ‘big picture’ re-orientation of Australian Catholic school K-12 religion curricula. The first article (Rossiter, 2010) considered that there has been such a great change in the landscape of contemporary spirituality that the traditional framework of religious meanings within which Catholic school religion curricula are written is out of synch with the meanings that inform contemporary spiritualities. A proposed responsive change in orientation suggests that more prominence needs to be given to the critical interpretation and evaluation of cultural meanings, while not neglecting the more traditional aim of giving young Catholics meaningful access to their religious heritage. The apparently different estimates of spirituality for children and adolescents also need to be taken into account. If many of the pupils in Catholic schools will never become actively involved in parishes when they grow up, then religious education needs to offer more than familiarising them with Catholic theology and religious practice; it also needs to skill them in addressing the spiritual and moral issues they will encounter in life. Attention is given to what this entails in both content and pedagogy, at primary and secondary levels.

The Development Of A Religious Education Curriculum For Catholic Early Childhood Services In Aotearoa New Zealand

This paper outlines the development and content of the recently published Religious Education Curriculum Statement for Catholic Early Childhood Services in Aotearoa New Zealand and its relationship to Te Whāriki Early Childhood Curriculum, the normative document for early childhood education in Aotearoa New Zealand. It also explores educators’ understandings of the concept of spirituality in the context of a Catholic early childhood service.

Spirituality And Early Childhood Education: ‘Belonging, Being And Becoming’ At A Midwinter Festival

Early childhood education is at an interesting place in Australia and as always a particular time and space is reflected in changes of policy and direction. Currently there is a strong political focus on early childhood education (Sumsion, Cheeseman, Kennedy, Barnes, Harrison & Stonehouse, 2009) and this coincides with a growing demand for more kindergartens and preschools and more choice for parents. Along with this there is the increasing professionalisation of the childcare ‘industry’ and a shift in focus from care to education. A new national curriculum framework for early childhood education (DEEWR, 2009) been introduced. The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia, referred to in this article as the EYLF (DEEWR, 2009), is called Belonging, Being & Becoming. For the first time in Australia the document refers to spirituality and there is an emphasis on holistic approaches that include the spiritual dimension. The spiritual is defined in the EYLF as “a range of human experiences including a sense of awe and wonder, and an exploration of being and knowing” (DEEWR, 2009, p.46). For proponents of the inclusion of spirituality in education in contemporary Australia this is a step forward (de Souza, 2010; Hyde, 2005; Tacey, 2004).

In this article I am presenting research carried out in New Zealand that explored the spiritual experience of young children. In this context the inclusion of the spiritual in education is an affirmation of indigenous (Māori) knowledges and worldviews (Pere, 1991; Smith, 1999). Taking a narrative approach, a particular ritual that I attended in a kindergarten is described. My work is represented as a ‘messy’ text (or bricolage) because this gives me an opportunity to introduce diverse elements into the discussion and to analyse the EYLF in some detail as it relates to spirituality in early childhood education. The position I take here is as a Pākehā (not Māori) researcher from Aotearoa New Zealand (Aotearoa – land of the long white cloud), now living and working in Australia. This perspective carries no assumption that indigenous understandings are “generic” (Martin, 2005, p.28) in New Zealand, Australia or elsewhere.

A Game To Be Played: Play And Authority In Religious Education

This paper argues for the centrality and necessity of play in religious education for both children and adults as a means to learn and teach the art of using the Christian language system to create existential meaning. Play involves games which, in some form or other require structure and rules. In religious education these rules and structures provide the scaffolding needed for mastering and using the art of the Christian language system. This paper proceeds by describing play and games generally, noting the necessity of guiding rules and structure. It then explores the two fundamental types of games which may be involved in the Church and in religious education. The suggestion of “playful orthodoxy” as a way forward in religious education is then posited. Such a notion recognizes both the playful and discovering nature of the participant as well as the need to teach for closure and orthodoxy. In this way both the opening and closing tendencies of the creative process are honoured and the tradition taught is grounded but creative. The paper concludes by suggesting some ways in which religious education can be centred around play.

Nurturing Spirituality Through Symbol Literacy In Religious Education

Spirituality is the characteristic that distinguishes our species, the Homo Sapiens Sapiens, from any other creature. From the very beginning, humans have been able to conceptualise and create symbols for them to be able to construct meaning and give order to their cosmos. By so doing they were able to transcend everyday reality. It is argued that in our post-modern reality, which is marked by an individualistic and fragmented ethic, many have lost the ability to read symbols. This has considerably diminished access to the Spiritual and impoverished the quality of their Spirituality. It is suggested that the inclusion of symbol literacy in Religious Education programmes will not only serve as a means of teaching religious facts but above all it holds the potential of opening the doors of meaning, giving access to the Spiritual.

Narrative Fiction And The Ethical Imagination Of Children: A Preliminary Study

Recent times have seen a resurgence in the study of narrative. This article focuses on the role of narrative fiction in shaping the ethical imagination of children, and in fostering the holistic development of the child. It introduces Phase One of an action research study that is currently being designed by the author on the use and role of children’s narrative fiction in several educational contexts in Canada. The article provides a contextual framework for the study by way of introduction, and sets out its basic parameters and salient themes. The proposed research is inspired by a practical hermeneutical approach that shapes much of the religious education curriculum in Catholic schools in Canada. This hermeneutical approach upholds the imagination as an invaluable ingredient in religious education and teaching.

Joseph Who Honors The Sabbath: The Construction Of A Spiritual Gaze, A Case Study

The aim of this paper is to analyze how children construct the spiritual meaning of the Sabbath. More specifically, it attempts to discover how children interpret a Jewish folk story that focuses on the way a Jewish person honors the Sabbath. The story enabled the girls to understand the meaning of honor in its intrinsic meaning, as a mediator to create their own spiritual dignity. To honor the Sabbath means to construct a purified spiritual presence through specific objects. To honor the Sabbath means to develop a spiritual eye, to be sensitive to the spiritual facets of reality. The analysis shows how the Sabbath can bring young girls to new spiritual landscapes and transform the beauty of the objective material into a subjective spiritual presence.

Every Sabbath, after I light the candles, I get a spiritual feeling that the Sabbath is a special gift that God gave especially to me. Only God could invent such an outstanding creation called the Sabbath. As a workaholic, being obliged by religious law not to touch my computer, not to answer the phone, not to write e-mails or faxes and only to rest, gives me a lot of time for real spiritual contemplation. I always try to prepare a special meal for the Sabbath and before it begin I set the table for Sabbath dinner with the nicest dishes and the most beautiful flowers my husband could find in the market, I put on my best clothes, and do my best to receive the Sabbath with tranquility. My children used to say that my face changed after I lit the candles, which filled our house with a very special atmosphere. Surprisingly, in spite of the temptation, I don’t touch books, notebooks, exams, or anything that has any connection to my academic world, which is so precious to me. I often wonder how, through a long socialization process, the spiritual dimension was instilled and constructed to enable me to withstand temptation and to deepen my appreciation of God’s invention. Every week I feel that more than I try to honor the Sabbath, the Sabbath honors me.

The aim of this paper is to analyze how children construct the spiritual meaning of the Sabbath. More specifically, I would like to discover how children interpret a Jewish folk story that focuses on the way a Jewish person honors the Sabbath. I will analyze children’s interpretations of the well-known story “Joseph who honors the Sabbath” [Yosef mokir Shabbat], which is also a well-known English fairy tale entitled “The Ring and the Fish.”



Abstracts from Journal of Religious Education, Volume 58(2) 2010

Charism: Promise And Possibility (Part One Of Two)


Catholic education in Australia has been enriched by the charisms on which Catholic schools are founded. Charisms are God’s way of letting educators know that there are many ways of seeing, understanding and coming to know God who gifts us with both graced promise and endless possibilities.

Charism allows educational leaders to address the many demands confronting them. This paper explores why charism in the context of twenty-first century Catholic education allows those responsible for leadership to build on the tradition of the Church and form enduring understandings for the future.

This is a paper in two parts. Part one of the paper explores some of the practical concerns of Catholic education today in areas such as spiritual capital, values education and meaning making. It is our position that these practical concerns can be most appropriately addressed by deepening our understanding of the vision of God that charism invites and demands.

How Shall We Know Them? Part 1 - The Construction Of ‘Child’ And ‘Childhood’ In Official Church Educational Documents

Historically, childhood has been viewed and constructed in a variety of ways, including as: a blank slate, on the way to becoming, innocent, miniature adults and so on. All of these constructs suggest the notion of a universal childhood, that is, all children are the same. Contemporary views of childhood challenge this view of universal childhood suggesting that children’s socio-cultural backgrounds directly impact on who they are. Early childhood educators recognise the diversity of childhoods and their classroom practice reflects this deep knowledge and understanding of a contemporary view of childhood. However, pertinent to early childhood teachers in the Catholic school setting is the view of the child according to the Church. How is childhood constructed by the Church? This paper presents the first part of an investigation that analyses key Church educational documents to determine the official view of childhood as constructed by the Church. (A follow-up paper, Part 2, explores the implications such constructions might have for classroom teachers.)

The Evolving Role Of The Family In The Faith Development Of Children: A Historical Perspective (Part Two)

Throughout its history the Church has assumed a diversity of positions regarding the role of parents as the prime educators of the faith of their children. This article is part two of The Evolving Role of the Family in the Faith Development of Children: A Historical perspective. Part one presented an historical context of the shift in understandings of the role of parents in the faith education of their children from the early Church to the most recent documents written by Pope John Paul ll. Part two will address the historical context of the Australian Church on this matter from its establishment as a British colony to the renewal of the Second Vatican Council.

Religious Education And The Changing Landscape Of Spirituality: Through The Lens Of Change In Cultural Meanings

A number of constructs like secularisation, privatisation of religion etc. have been used to describe the significant change in spirituality of many of the young people in Australian Catholic schools over the last 50 years from a more traditional religious spirituality to something that is more secular, eclectic and individualistic. To some extent, this change has been acknowledged; but the religion curricula in Catholic schools still give the impression that all of the students are, or should be, regular church goers – as if Sunday mass attendance was to be the end point of their education in spirituality. An interpretation of change in spirituality in terms of change in cultural meanings has been developed for the purpose of understanding contemporary spiritualities in other than a deficit model. Such an interpretation may be more persuasive in promoting a view of religious education that will enhance and resource the basic human spirituality of young people – whether or not they ever become active members of a local community of faith. The argument, that provides a useful framework for interpreting how and why spirituality has changed, has relevance to education in spirituality in other contexts.

This Is Our Faith: Evangelization, Confessionalism And Criticality

Under the auspices of the Curriculum for Excellence initiative the Scottish Catholic Education Service has published This Is Our Faith. This is a set of authoritative guidelines outlining a new approach to the teaching of Catholic religious education in Scottish schools. The document is analyzed from the perspective of teaching Catholic religious education - not in Catholic schools but in state secondary schools that have no religious affiliation. The greatest need for Catholic students in such a secular environment is to develop rudimentary skills for evangelization. The confessional and theological pedagogy advocated by the authors of This Is Our Faith is found to be inadequate for developing such skills: rather, a critical and evidential pedagogy is preferred. This critical religious education pedagogy draws upon recent developments in religious and moral education as it seeks to identify common ground within the secular environment of state secondary schooling. Such a critical pedagogy may enable young Catholics to begin evangelization within an environment that is often inimical to their faith.

What Did Luke’s ‘Eyewitnesses’ See? Once More, Richard Bauckham’s Jesus And The Eyewitnesses

Richard Bauckham’s prize-winning book of 2006 Jesus and the Eyewitnesses has directed thinking about the creation of the gospels away from the model of community-based theological literature towards authored histories of Jesus. His work has given a strong impetus to reactions against the priority long enjoyed by historical-critical methodology. At one point, this shift turns on the ‘eyewitnesses’ mentioned in Luke’s preface. Bauckham’s neglect of a closer analysis of what underlies Luke’s advocacy of ‘eyewitnesses’ (autoptai) leaves an opening for a more precise reckoning of the authorial intention. A short investigation opens a view upon a Christian community that has long been engaged in literary processes. This is in contrast to the sustained process of orality argued by Bauckham. Such Christian literary activity has prompted Luke to extend and enrich the earlier initiatives by the creation of his own theological narrative about Jesus.

Memory In The Religious Education Classroom (Part 1: Historical Perspectives, Constructivism And Foundational Content)

This paper is about memory, its place in the religious education classroom and the way it might inform the practice of religious education. The paper is in two parts. Part 2 will be published in a later issue of this journal in 2010.

In Part 1, the argument is put forward that memory and rote learning are under-utilised in the religious education classroom. Further, Part 1 appeals for a balance between constructivist educational models and models of teaching that incorporate memory and rote learning so that student knowledge of foundational content is enhanced. Part 2 will offer a perspective that the arts, namely music performance, may be a source of inspiration to religious educators for embracing memory.

Securing The Future Of Live-In Retreats In Australian Catholic Secondary Schools: Part 2 Psychological And Spiritual Issues Related To The Nature, Purposes And Conduct Of Retreats

This is the second of two articles reporting the conclusions drawn from a doctoral research study on teachers’ understandings of the nature, purposes and conduct of live-in retreats for senior secondary students in Catholic schools (Tullio, 2009; Tullio & Rossiter, 2009). It discusses critical issues for the future of retreats, in both theory and practice, referenced to the psychological and spiritual issues raised by the sample of teachers in the study. Of special significance is the personal and community dimension, and how this in turn underpins the potential of retreats to enhance young people’s spirituality and personal faith. While the extent to which these issues are pertinent to Catholic school retreats across the country is yet to be determined, and while there will remain different estimates of retreats depending on the perspective taken on youth spirituality, the article should contribute as a stimulus to ongoing debate and research on school retreats.


Abstracts from Journal of Religious Education, Volume 58(1) 2010

Agency And Non-Verbal Communication In Religious Education: A Case Study From A Godly Play Classroom

Contemporary thinking in relation to the social constructions of childhood places an emphasis on the concept of agency – the ability of children to understand their own world and to act upon it. Children are not merely individuals but also active participants in a wide range of meaningful social interactions. Agency may not always involve the child’s literal voice. It could entail non-verbal communication through play and through acting upon the world. This paper examines, through a case study from a Godly Play classroom, the way in which agency may be exercised through a child’s non-verbal communication in religious education. It argues that the concept of agency for children in religious education, although often neglected or assumed, is critical if children are to make meaning from the faith tradition, and if they are to be enabled to confront existential issues and concerns.

Two-Fold And Four-Fold Learning Models – An Analysis With Implications For Religious Education And For Stretching Ways Of Knowing (Part 2 Of 2)

This article is a continuation of one that appeared in a earlier issue of this journal (Mudge, 2009b; hereafter ‘part one’). While the previous article explored and analysed various two-fold models for ways of knowing, this article examines some of the more common four-fold learning models used in religious education. This article accepts as givens the assumptions stated in part one – namely that secular, Christian, Jewish and other traditions of knowing and education, taken together, offer a more powerful foundation for expanding our current ways of knowing and learning compared to typical secular or humanist models. Similarly, it assumes that the classroom teacher is committed to ‘stretching’ ways of knowing beyond any one individual style of knowing to enhance and maximise students’ learning (Atkin, 1997, p.3; cf. Holt, in Atkin, 2007, p.22). Finally, its arguments are contextualised within a framework that links religious education and spirituality, and understands spirituality as ‘a conscious way of life based on a transcendent referent’ (Mason, Webber, Singleton, and Hughes, 2006, p.2). In the Catholic Christian context, this is a spirituality that is Trinitarian, visionary, sacramental, relational, and transformational (cf. McBrien, 1981, p.1093).

The Evolving Role Of The Family In The Faith Development Of Children: A Historical Perspective (Part One).

Throughout its history the Church has assumed a diversity of positions regarding the role of parents as the prime educators of the faith of their children. This article will be published in two parts: the first part will present a historical context of the shift in understandings of the role of parents in the faith education of their children from the early Church to the most recent documents written by Pope John Paul ll. Part two, which will be published in the next issue, will discuss the historical context of the Australian Church from its establishment as a British colony to the renewal of the Second Vatican Council.

Throughout its history the Church has assumed a diversity of positions regarding the role of parents as the prime educators of the faith of their children. From time to time the emphasis changed from assigning a significant role to parents and the family, to other times such a responsibility rested on lay persons, such as godparents and then with the Catholic school.

The discussion in this paper concentrates on issues pertinent to the historical development of the role of the family in its task of nurturing of faith within the home. It examines the influence of the Judaeo–Christian tradition in the understanding of the home as the place for nurturing faith; the influence of the reformation on the view of the role of the family in the Catholic Church, and the response from the Council of Trent; and the influence of the introduction of compulsory education within Europe. Finally the renewal of the Second Vatican Council is discussed and an examination of subsequent documents relating to the role of the family are explored.

Moderation: Making Learning A Priority In Primary Religious Education

In 2005 the Curriculum Framework for the Religious Education of Students in the Archdiocese of Hobart, Good News for Living (Catholic Education Office, Hobart (CEOH), 2005) was launched for Catholic schools and colleges in Tasmania. Significant progress has been made in the development of religious education curriculum for Tasmania in the light of the implementation of Good News for Living (CEOH, 2005). A comprehensive school and system based professional learning program assisted the initial implementation of the curriculum framework however it was vital to introduce a strategy in order to improve the quality of the learning outcomes for students in a targeted and focussed way. The goal was to enhance the professional capacity of primary religious educators to make judgements about student learning in religious education and to clearly articulate these on-balance judgements within a professional learning community. To address this goal, a process of Moderation was introduced.

Introducing new elements into a learning culture involves change that is complex, non-linear and always emerging (Fullan, 1999). Collaboration is a condition of shared creation “as tacit knowledge becomes explicit knowledge” (p.16). Moderation is a formal process involving collaboration as a central element.

The Moderation process provided a forum for teachers to consider what is quality learning in religious education through focussed teacher professional dialogue around the evaluation of Common Assessment Tasks. In the course of 2008, 2009 the deep capacity of critical reflection on teaching and learning and teacher dialogue to build quality learning and teaching in religious education has come to the fore. This paper presents some of the experiences, perceptions and learnings as school and system based staff entered into the process of Moderation. Within the paper the approach for religious education in Good News for Living (CEOH, 2005) will be outlined, the educational value of Moderation within the learning and teaching cycle will be discussed, and the initial outcomes of introducing Moderation in RE within the primary school sector will be identified.

The Role Of Experiential Content Knowledge In The Formation Of Beginning RE Teachers

This article discusses the role of experiential content knowledge as an essential component to the formation of beginning RE teachers. The article initially outlines the meaning and parameters of experiential content knowledge and its relationship to the teaching of Religious Education in Catholic schools. An exploration of how this experiential content knowledge may be recognised is described with reference to the perceptions of a purposive sample of beginning RE teachers in Catholic secondary schools in Western Australia. The article then discusses the links between experiential content knowledge and developing a sense of vocation towards teaching Religious Education.

A Model For Post-School Religious Education For Women: The Madeleine Sophie Barat Program

This paper will outline the features and general outcomes of a year long, post school, adult religious education program for women that has been conducted by the Australian and New Zealand Province of the Society of the Sacred Heart for the past ten years. The women are mostly young adults, between 25 and 30 years of age, with a few as old as 50, from a Christian, predominately Catholic, background, and well educated. The majority have completed tertiary education.

The adult education model blends regular meetings with elements of mentoring, social awareness and action, prayer and spirituality, theology, Scripture and liturgy, experiences of community living, and the creative arts. There is an emphasis throughout the program of education for women by women.

In reporting on the Madeleine Sophie Program, this paper draws on the evaluative comments of the participants and the reflective feedback from the women who lead and administer the program. The success of this model in providing a substantial, holistic option for adult education offers a direction for religious education in the post-school environment.