Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

For religious educators working in Catholic schools and parishes, a broad overview of the Catholic Church and its foundational teachings is required. This unit provides religious educators with a survey of the Catholic Church, its foundations, historical development, key teachings and contemporary expressions. The unit will focus particularly on those aspects relevant to the work of Catholic religious educators, namely Scripture, the Sacraments, the Church’s teachings on social justice, the history and development of the Church. 

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - identify and describe key periods in the history of the Church and analyse their significance for teaching Religious Education (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10; APST 2.1)  

LO2 - investigate significant biblical texts and the place of scripture in the Catholic Tradition (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10 ; APST 2.2) 

LO3 - outline principles underpinning the Catholic Church’s teachings on social justice and approaches used for teaching social justice (GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10; APST 2.1, 2.2) 

LO4  - evaluate religious education programs in the light of Church teachings, especially related to Scripture, social justice, sacramental education and Church history (GA2, GA4, GA5, , GA8, APST 2.1) 

 LO5 - identify and analyse significant documents and resources for accessing Church traditions and teachings (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10; APST 2.1). 

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should be able to:

2.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the concepts, substance and structure of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area.

2.2 Organise content into an effective learning and teaching sequence.


Topics will include: 

  • Sacramental education in various settings of religious education 
  • Approaches to Scripture in the Catholic tradition and key scriptural texts 
  • Overview of the Catholic tradition of social justice and teaching and learning approaches  
  • An understanding of the Church and its development in history, especially with reference to Australia 
  • Key teachings related to sacraments, social justice and church history 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The learning and teaching strategy in this unit is informed by the seven principles that are enunciated in the University’s Strategic Plan (2015 – 2020). In particular, the learning and teaching strategy seeks to develops knowledge, skills and personal values through active learning that draws upon the real-world experiences of the students (Principle 5). Therefore, the learning and teaching strategy adopts an inquiry framework that places the student at the centre of the learning experience. 

EDRE529 is taught in numerous modes (i.e. face to face, intensive, online, mixed) and involves 150 hours of focused learning. This consists of lectures and tutorials in the face-to-face mode, and recorded lectures (for asynchronous use), video-conferencing and webinars in the online mode. The remaining hours are reserved for private research and cooperative learning through forums and reflective journals, leading to the completion of the required assessment tasks. 

Students are introduced to four key aspects of the Catholic tradition that are fundamental to their work as religious educators: Scripture, Church History, Sacraments, and Catholic Social Teaching. There is a particular focus on introducing students to the key teachings of the Second Vatican Council and the ongoing significance of these teachings for religious educators today. By engaging in the learning activities provided in the unit, students develop and deepen their knowledge and understanding of these areas of the Catholic tradition and consider age appropriate strategies for teaching children and young people. The unit is constructed to consider students’ range of knowledge and experience in teaching RE and to build their capacity to do so.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to pass this unit, students are required to demonstrate achievement of all five learning outcomes and achieve an overall mark of 50% or higher  

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for students to progressively demonstrate their achievement of each learning outcome.  

Task 1 requires students to develop an understanding of the place of Scripture in the Catholic tradition (LO2) with specific reference to key periods in Church history (one of which must be the Second Vatican Council) (LO1). The principal purpose of the task is to consider the significance of Scripture and Church history for Religious Education by analysing key documents and resources (e.g. The Bible, documents of the Second Vatican Council) (LO5). 

Task 2 requires students to develop an appreciation of the relationship between sacramental theology and Catholic Social Teaching. The principal purpose of the task is to give students an opportunity to evaluate Religious Education programs in the light of Church teachings, especially related to Scripture, social justice, sacramental education and Church history (LO4). Students also evaluate principles underpinning the Catholic Church’s teachings on social justice and approaches used for teaching social justice in the classroom context (LO3). In doing so, students develop and deepen their knowledge and understanding of key Church documents and resources (LO5). 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Common Assessment Task 

The common assessment task is an extended written task that will address key understandings and appropriate teaching methodology of Scripture and Church history. 


LO1, LO2, LO5 

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10 

Assessment Task 2 

The second assignment is a document analaysis that will address the topics of sacramental education and social justice in relation to Religious Education programs.  


LO3, LO4, LO5 

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10

Representative texts and references

Masters, J. (2009). The sacraments: An interdisciplinary and interactive study. Collegeville: Liturgical Press. 

Cameron, E. (Ed.), (2016). The New Cambridge History of the Bible. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

Clark, M. J. (2014). Vision of catholic social thought : The virtue of solidarity and the praxis of human rights. Minneapolis: Fortress Press. 

Collins, J.J. (2018). A Short Introduction to the Hebrew Bible: Third Edition. (3 ed.). Retrieved from 

DeBerri, E. & Hug, J. (2003) Catholic social teaching: Our best kept secret. (4th Ed.) Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books 

Frigge, M. (2009). The four canonical gospels Beginning biblical studies (pp. 125-142). Winona: Anselm Academic. 

Hovey, C. & Phillips, E. (Eds.), (2016). The Cambridge Companion to Christian Political Theology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

Lamb, M., & Levering, M. (editors). (2017). The reception of Vatican II. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  

Leonard, R. (2019). Hatch, Match, and Dispatch : A Catholic Guide to Sacraments. New York: Paulist Press.  

Martos, J. (2014). Doors to the sacred : A historical introduction to sacraments in the catholic church. Liguori, Missouri: Ligouri 

Massaro, T. (2012). Living justice: Catholic social teaching in action. Lanham, MD: Sheed & Ward 

O’Collins, G. (2014). The Second Vatican Council: Message and meaning. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press. 

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