Credit points


Campus offering

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Unit rationale, description and aim

The role of the Catholic school in contemporary society is to participate in the evangelising mission of the Church (Religious Dimension of Education in Catholic Schools, 1988). The responsibility for this role falls to all those who make up the staff of the Catholic school, including and especially the teachers who are called to be witnesses to the Catholic tradition and to promote the Catholic identity of the school (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 1975). This unit explores the distinctive aims and objectives of Catholic schools in the light of the mission of the Church and seeks to provide fundamental understandings of the role of every teacher in the accomplishment of the mission of evangelisation. 

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 key understandings about Catholic schooling and the experience of Revelation and the Catholic Church: Jesus Christ, Scripture, the Church in its Liturgy, Life and Tradition, Sacraments, Morality, Justice and Peace (GA5; APST1.1, 1.3 )

LO2 - Describe the role and mission of the Catholic school and the role of a teacher in a Catholic school (GA2; APST4.1, 6.3)

LO3 - Critique contemporary perspectives relating to child, adolescent and adult faith development (GA8; APST7.2).

Graduate attributes

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

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

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


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

1.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students and how these may affect learning.

1.3 Demonstrate knowledge of teaching strategies that are responsive to the learning strengths and needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.

4.1 Identify strategies to support inclusive student participation and engagement in classroom activities.

6.3 Seek and apply constructive feedback from supervisors and teachers to improve teaching practices.

7.2 Understand the relevant legislative, administrative and organisational policies and processes required for teachers according to school stage.


Topics will include:

Aims, objectives and rationale of the Catholic school

  • Key Church documents on the role and mission of a Catholic school
  • Key Church documents on the role of a teacher in a Catholic school

Child, adolescent and adult faith development

  • Faith formation and the role of the Catholic school
  • Contemporary perspectives on faith development in adolescences
  • The interface between faith and spirituality in contemporary Catholic schooling

 Revelation and the Catholic Church

  • Revelation: Understanding Revelation in the Catholic context: An introduction to Dei verbum
  • Scripture: As sacred text
  • Sacraments: Christian Initiation (Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation)
  • Healing (Penance, Anointing of the Sick)
  • At the Service of Communion (Holy Orders and Marriage)
  • Morality: Catholic perspectives concerning moral issues.
  • Justice and Peace: Catholic Social Teaching: The Common Good (Seven principles of Catholic Social Teaching).
  • Church Teaching: the Incarnate Church: An overview of contemporary ecclesiology: An introduction to Lumen Gentium

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.

EDRE 429 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), videoconferencing 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.

The learning tasks are designed to introduce students to the understanding of the role of Catholic schools in the light of the mission of the Church which is evangelisation. Through the exploration of the nature of the Church in the light of Vatican II, and the relevant Church documents students in this unit will be introduced to various theories about the development of the role of the Catholic school and the role of teachers within the school. Further to this foundational knowledge and understanding, the faith and spiritual development of Catholic school students will be investigated with a view to understanding students and how they learn about their own faith. Various elements of Revelation are explored and unpacked. This acquisition of knowledge then leads to students’ own development of ideas of how Catholic identity may be promoted and supported in a number of curriculum areas and the overall climate of the Catholic school.

The learning activities are supported by, but not restricted to, lectures (or recorded lectures for asynchronous use in online format), tutorials (webinars in online format) and opportunities for peer to peer interaction.


150 hours in total with a normal expectation of 36 hours of directed study and the total contact hours should not exceed 36 hours. Directed study might include lectures, tutorials, webinars, podcasts etc. The balance of the hours then become private study.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for students to progressively demonstrate their achievement of each learning outcome. For this reason, a range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. Such procedures may include, but are not limited to: essays, reports, examinations, student presentations or case studies. In order to pass this unit, students are required to submit all assessment tasks and achieve an aggregate mark of at least 50/100.

By drawing upon Sacred Scripture, the Church document tradition and scholarly literature, Task 1 requires students to critically evaluate the role of the Catholic school in the light of the mission of the Church and the role of the teacher in the Catholic school (LO2). Students are also expected to consider the spiritual and religious development of adolescents as this provides the context of teaching and learning about the Catholic tradition (LO3).

Task 2 then requires students to deepen their knowledge of the Church through the lens of Revelation as understood by the Catholic Church. They are then expected to relate this understanding of Revelation to key elements of Church and school life, and to consider how these elements may practically be included in the school in general and also in particular curriculum areas (LO1). 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Role of the teacher in the Catholic School.


LO2, LO3

GA2, GA8

Catholic Identity in the life of the school.




Representative texts and references

Abbott, W. (1966). The documents of Vatican II. London: Geoffrey Chapman.

Bishops of NSW and ACT (2007). Catholic Schools at a Crossroads. Bishops of NSW and ACT.

Congregation for Catholic Education. (2014). Educating Today and Tomorrow: A Renewing Passion. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

Dixon, R. E. (2005). The Catholic community in Australia. (Rev.ed.). Adelaide: Open Book.

Fowler, J. (1996). Faithful change: The personal and public challenges of postmodern life. Nashville: Abingdon Press.

Grace, G. (2002). Catholic schools: Mission, markets and morality. London: Routledge Falmer.

Kelcourse, F., & Brock, K. F. (Eds.). (2014). Human development and faith : Life-cycle stages of body, mind, and soul. Retrieved from

Massaro, SJ, Thomas, (2011). Living Justice : Catholic Social Teaching in Action, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, ProQuest Ebook Central,

Pennock, M. (2007). Catholic social teaching: Learning and living justice (teacher’s wraparound ed.). Notre Dame, Indiana: Ave Maria Press.

Sullivan, J. (2013). Education in a Catholic Perspective, edited by Stephen J. McKinney, Routledge, ProQuest Ebook Central,


Australian Association for Religious Education. Religion Teachers Journal.

Australian Catholic University, School of Religious Education Journal. Journal of Religious Education.

Department of Education, United States Catholic Conference. The living light.

Faculty of Education, University of Birmingham. British Journal of Religious Education.

The Journal of the Religious Education Association and the Association of Professors and Researchers in Religious education. Religious Education.


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