Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

Within faith-based schools, religious education is a key learning area. For generations, religious education has been one of the ways in which the Catholic Christian tradition has been transmitted across generations. In Catholic Schools, religious education involves learning about and from religion as well as participating in the Catholic tradition. Learning about religion involves more than just knowing the names of the sacred texts of Christianity, it includes how the Church and believers, interpret and use these texts in various ways.

This unit is focused on developing pedagogical content knowledge (Schulman 1986) required for teaching the Bible to students in primary and secondary schools. Pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) is a type of knowledge unique to teachers, and is based on the manner in which teachers relate their pedagogical knowledge (what they know about teaching) to their subject matter knowledge (what they know about what they teach). PCK is the synthesis of teachers’ pedagogical knowledge and their subject matter knowledge and is the way of representing, transforming and formulating the subject that makes it comprehensible to students.

Religious Education curriculum documents across Australia have a strong emphasis on students learning about, understanding, interpreting, and using Old Testament and New Testament texts. This unit assists students to build on foundational content knowledge of the Bible in order to develop expert pedagogical content knowledge related to the teaching and learning of Scripture in school classrooms. Students will also investigate approaches to teaching scripture and critique them in the light of contemporary scholarship in the field.

The aim of this unit is to improve teachers PCK so that the teaching of scripture in classrooms moves from simple retelling to encompass hermeneutical interpretation.

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 the purpose and role of sacred texts within specific religious contexts such as prayer, liturgy and ministry within the school and parish community (GA5; APST HA 7.1)

LO2 - Analyse sacred texts using appropriate forms of textual criticism (GA4; APST HA 2.1)

LO3 - Develop and implement appropriate teaching and learning strategies demonstrating the application of textual criticism (GA8; APST HA 2.1)

LO4 - Identify and demonstrate application of knowledge and skills of a variety of approaches used to teach sacred texts (GA5; APST HA 3.2)

LO5 - Critique contemporary resources for teaching sacred texts (GA4; APST Lead 3.4)

Graduate attributes

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

Australian Professional Standards for Teachers - Highly Accomplished

On successful completion of this unit, students should have gained evidence towards the following standards:

2.1 - Content and teaching strategies of the teaching area

Support colleagues using current and comprehensive knowledge of content and teaching strategies to develop and implement engaging learning and teaching programs.

3.2 - Plan, structure and sequence learning programs

Work with colleagues to plan, evaluate and modify learning and teaching programs to create productive learning environments that engage all students.

7.1 - Meet professional ethics and responsibilities

Maintain high ethical standards and support colleagues to interpret codes of ethics and exercise sound judgement in all school and community contexts.

Australian Professional Standards for Teachers - Lead

On successful completion of this unit, students should have gained evidence towards the following standards:

3.4 - Select and use resources

Model exemplary skills and lead colleagues in selecting, creating and evaluating resources, including ICT, for application by teachers within or beyond the school.


Topics will include:

  • Identification of sacred writings including Old Testament and New Testament texts, and other Christian writings
  • Exploration of significance and meaning of sacred texts as part of prayer and liturgy and ministry within the school and parish community
  • Identification and analysis of text types such as sacred myth, parable, epic
  • Exploration of Catholic church documents related to the interpretation of Scripture and engagement with hermeneutical interpretations of sacred texts
  • Application of textual criticism including the categorisations of the Three Worlds of the Text and implications for curriculum and pedagogy
  • Analysis and evaluation of a variety of approaches to teaching sacred texts

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is offered in multi-mode (i.e. delivered online and in face-to-face contexts) and uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of the essential pedagogical content knowledge associated with teaching the Bible. 

Students are able to explore essential variety of knowledge forms underpinning of teaching the Bible in a series of online asynchronous interactive lessons. Students also have the opportunity to attend synchronous online webinars to participate in the construction and synthesis of this knowledge. This approach allows flexibility for students who are largely engaged in full-time work.

Where required by cohorts, part or all of the unit could be delivered face-to-face with students engaging in lectures and workshops as well as accessing digital resources and activities available through the LEO site.

This learning and teaching strategy will facilitate active participation in pedagogical approaches that demonstrate alignment of teaching, learning and assessment and the strategy is responsive to the diverse contexts of individual students and cohorts.

This is a 10 credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, video, workshops, and assignments etc.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to successfully complete this unit, postgraduate students need to complete and submit two graded assessment tasks.

The assessment strategy used allows students to develop their knowledge, understanding and analytical skills to the level of sophistication where they are able to analyse a biblical passage, develop appropriate teaching and learning activities to teach the passage and evaluate methods and approaches of teaching the Bible to primary and secondary students.

In order to develop this skill, the first assessment task enables students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the Bible and interpretation by analysing a nominated biblical text and developing relevant and meaningful age-appropriate teaching and learning activities for students in either primary or secondary school. In the second assessment task, postgraduate students develop a professional learning package explaining the theoretical and structural components of a selected approach used for teaching scripture supported with a sequence of teaching and learning strategies designed for age appropriate audience within primary or secondary school.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

Extended Writing Task:

Analyse a nominated biblical text and develop relevant and meaningful age-appropriate activities demonstrating knowledge of the Three Worlds of the Text. Refer to relevant church documents and other academic sources in your response.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA4, GA5, GA8

Assessment Task 2

Professional Learning Package:

Use the biblical text and research from Task 1. Select an approach to teaching Scripture. Develop a professional learning tool explaining the theoretical and structural components of the approach. Support this with a teaching and learning sequence which models the approach in practice.


LO4, LO5

GA4, GA5

Representative texts and references

Bausch, W. (2020). The word of God or the word about God? Marco Island, FL: Clear Faith Publishing.

Bergsma, J. & Pitre, B. J. (2018). A Catholic introduction to the Bible. San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Burnet, R. (2021). Exegesis and history of reception: Reading the New Testament today with the readers of the past. Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck GmbH & Co,

Collins, J.J. (2018) A short introduction to the Hebrew Bible. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.

Garroway, K H., Martens, J.W. (2020). Children and methods: Listening to and learning from children in the biblical world. Boston: Brill.

Hartvigsen, K. M. (2021). Beyond the bullet points: Teaching the bible in Norwegian upper secondary religious education. Religious Education 115 (4), 413-425.

Joubert, Y. (2019). The role of the teacher in teaching the Bible. Scriptura 11. Vol 49.

 Levine, A., & Brettler M. (2020). The Bible with and without Jesus: How Jews and Christians read the same stories differently. HarperCollins: New York.

Roux, C. (2019). Teaching the Bible to little children. Scriptura 11 Vol 49. 10 -23.

Scholz, S. (2021) The Oxford handbook of feminist approaches to the Hebrew Bible. New York: Oxford University Press. 

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs