Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

Teachers of Religious Education require knowledge and skills to apply theological concepts to the contemporary Catholic school classroom. They need to be able to facilitate the dialogue between the Church and its teachings and society, so that students can know and understand the gospel and the story of Jesus. This unit is an introduction to Religious Education and teaching methodologies associated with the discipline. It explores the foundation and purpose of Religious Education in Catholic schools and analyses the philosophical, theological and educational assumptions that underpin various approaches to the teaching of Religious Education. The major focus of this unit is curriculum development and teaching in Religious Education.

The unit aims to introduce students to the many ways that Religious Education may be taught in the classroom. It aims to enhance the teaching skills of participants to include those particular skills that apply to this curriculum area.

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 - Analyse and explain the nature, purpose and history of Religious Education in Catholic schools, with reference to relevant Church documents (GA5; APST 2.1)

LO2 - Identify, examine and critique a variety of approaches to teaching Religious Education (GA6; APST 1.1, 1.2)

LO3 - Articulate and apply theological concepts for the contemporary Religious Education classroom (GA5; APST 2.1, 2.2)

LO4 - Locate, explore and analyse relevant curriculum materials offered by a particular diocese (GA8, GA10; APST 2.2, 3.2)

LO5 - Plan and implement effective teaching and learning experiences and strategies for the Religious Education classroom (GA5, GA10; APST 1.1, 1.2)

LO6 - Examine, critique and develop evaluation, assessment and reporting processes used in Religious Education (GA4; APST 3.6)

Graduate attributes

GA4 - Think critically and reflectively

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

GA6 - Solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

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:

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

1.2 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of research into how students learn and the implications for teaching.

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.

3.2 Plan lesson sequences using knowledge of student learning, content and effective teaching strategies.

3.6 Demonstrate broad knowledge of strategies that can be used to evaluate teaching programs to improve student learning.


Topics will include:

  • Terminology, theories and approaches relating to Religious Education including faith-forming, educational and dialogical approaches.
  • History and development of Religious Education, relevant church documents, the role of the Catholic school in Religious Education, family, parish and school partnerships in Religious Education.
  • Planning and development of major topics in Religious Education according to diocesan approaches and demonstrating a variety of approaches.
  • Designing appropriate evaluation, assessment and reporting instruments for the Religious Education classroom.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Teaching Religious Education in parish and school settings requires specific knowledge and skill sets unique to the contemporary Catholic Church. Students in this unit need to acquire knowledge about the nature and purpose of Religious Education both from an historical and contemporary perspectives as these have varied over time and still vary from diocese to diocese in Australia. Church documents inform teachers about the purpose of Religious Education from the perspective of the Magisterium, and local curriculum documents inform teachers about their responsibilities from a local diocesan viewpoint. This background information provides a foundation for teachers to construct pedagogically appropriate classroom teaching and learning strategies for Religious Education, including previously acquired theological understandings of the essential precepts of Church teaching.

The unit is constructed to consider students’ range of knowledge and experience in teaching RE and to build their capacity to do so. The unit is constructively aligned to build knowledge and integrate skills from general principles to specific outcomes that apply to classroom teaching of Religious Education.

EDRE526 is taught in a variety of modes and involves 150 hours of focussed learning. This consists of lectures and tutorials in the face-to-face mode, and video-conferencing and webinars in the online mode. The remaining hours will be reserved for private research and cooperative learning through forums and reflective journals, leading to the completion of the required assessment tasks.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In this unit all the learning activities build towards the assessment of students’ ability to apply the necessary knowledge and skills required to teach Religious Education in a parish or school setting. The assessment tasks are aligned with the Learning Outcomes and designed to build students’ knowledge of how RE might be taught in different dioceses and their capacity to design teaching and learning in their particular context. Hence the first task is designed to assess the relevant knowledge of the nature and purpose of Religious Education (LO1 – LO4). The second task is a more complex one that requires students to apply their educational and theological knowledge to design and reflect upon a practical classroom experience of RE (LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6). The final task asks students to reflect on their knowledge and experience of learning and teaching in RE in a wholistic way and in consideration of the contemporary Church and societal context (LO1, LO2, LO5, LO6).

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Capstone Multiple choice quiz

1,500 words (equivalent)


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA5, GA6, GA8, GA10

Practical RE Curriculum Exercise with Critical Reflection and school application (1,500 words)


LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10

An extended written Task

For example: annotated bibliography, essay (2,000 words)


LO1, LO2, LO5, LO6

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA10

Representative texts and references

Congregation for Catholic Education (1977). The Catholic School. Homebush, NSW: St Paul’s Publications.

Congregation for Catholic Education. (1982). Lay Catholics in schools: Witnesses to faith. Homebush, NSW: St Paul’s Publications.

Congregation for Catholic Education. (2013). Educating for Intercultural Dialogue in Catholic Schools. Retrieved from:

Congregation for Catholic Education. (2014). Educating Today and Tomorrow: A Renewing Passion. Retrieved from:

Congregation for the Clergy. (1998). General directory for catechesis. Homebush, NSW: St Paul’s Publications.

Geron, L. (2013). On holy ground: The theory and practice of religious education London: Routledge.

Goldburg, P. M. (2013). Religious diversity and religious literacy. In R. Hudson & S. Hudson (Eds.), Learning to teach in the primary school (208-224). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Grajczonek, J., & Ryan, M. (Eds.). (2013). Religious education in early childhood: A reader. (Rev. ed.). Brisbane: Lumino Press.

Grimmitt, M. (Ed.). (2000). Pedagogies of religious education: Case studies in the research and development of good pedagogic practice in RE. Great Wakering: McCrimmons.

Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization. (2020). Directory for Catechesis. Washington, DC. USCCB.

Ryan, M. (2014). Religious Education in Catholic Schools: An Introduction for Australian Students. Brisbane: Lumino Press.

 Sharkey, P. (2015). Educators Guide to Catholic Identity. Victoria: Garrett Publishing.

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