Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


EDRE516 Learning and Teaching for Religious Education


EDRE521 - Teaching Religion Studies to Years 11 and 12 or EDRE528 - Religious Education Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment 2

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit is part of a sequence of units in Theology and Religious Education that provide pre-service secondary teachers with the knowledge and skills to be able to teach Religious Education up to and including Senior secondary years. The total sequence, of which this unit is the final one, enables pre-service teachers to provide high quality religious education in keeping with their local diocesan requirements and the requirements of State accredited religious education courses across Australia.

In order to plan and deliver lessons that promote learner engagement and enhance student learning, intending secondary teachers need knowledge and understanding of the senior secondary curriculum, along with theoretical frameworks and pedagogical approaches that are emblematic of teaching in their chosen teaching areas, including teaching/learning that responds to the high-stakes assessment that is a usual feature of senior secondary schooling. 

In this unit, pre-service teachers will consider the place of Religious Education in contemporary Australian society, and in particular the senior secondary RE curriculum. They will explore a range of evidence-based approaches for curriculum development and alignment and to plan for effective teaching and learning, including formative and summative assessment. Pre-service teachers will learn approaches for building knowledge of Religions, including the Catholic tradition and how to provide constructive feedback and reporting. They will learn approaches for engaging senior secondary learners and to meet the learning needs of diverse students in the senior secondary years. They will further develop skills to shape the dialogic talk of the classroom and the skills to facilitate the dialogue of different worldviews and faith stances among senior secondary students. Pre-service teachers will formulate unit and assessment plans in order to demonstrate a knowledge of curriculum, learning and assessment theory. They will investigate issues and considerations of curriculum implementation as found in the practical reality of schools. 

The aim of this unit is for the pre-service teacher to develop their pedagogical content knowledge through becoming familiar with the knowledge, understanding and skills necessary for teaching Religious Education at a senior secondary level. 

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 - Describe and explain the senior secondary Religious Education curriculum, including the place of RE education within contemporary Australian society and the unique professional responsibilities of the RE teacher (GA4, GA5, GA8; APST 2.1, 2.3, 3.4)

LO2 - Analyse the relationships between curriculum design, task design, assessment and student expertise so as to support student learning and the evaluation of teaching and curriculum design (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9; APST 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, 2.6, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.6, 4.2, 4.5, 5.1)

LO3 - Apply and evaluate the use of RE resources utilised to provide directions, demonstration, presentations and support of student learning (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10; APST 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 3.3, 3.5, 4.1, 4.2)

LO4 - Critically analyse, develop and implement knowledge of the variety of pedagogical strategies in senior secondary RE which allow the specific learning strengths and needs of students to be met (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9; APST 1.3, 1.5, 3.1, 3.3, 4.1, 4.3)

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

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

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

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


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

1.2 - Understand how students learn

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

1.3 - Students with diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds

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

1.5 - Differentiate teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities

Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of strategies for differentiating teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities. 

2.1 - Content and teaching strategies of the teaching area

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

2.2 - Content selection and organisation

Organise content into an effective learning and teaching sequence.

2.3 - Curriculum, assessment and reporting

Use curriculum, assessment and reporting knowledge to design learning sequences and lesson plans.

2.5 - Literacy and numeracy strategies

Know and understand literacy and numeracy teaching strategies and their application in teaching areas.

2.6 - Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

Implement teaching strategies for using ICT to expand curriculum learning opportunities for students.

3.1 - Establish challenging learning goals

Set learning goals that provide achievable challenges for students of varying abilities and characteristics.

3.2 - Plan, structure and sequence learning programs

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

3.3 - Use teaching strategies

Include a range of teaching strategies.

3.4 - Select and use resources

Demonstrate knowledge of a range of resources, including ICT, that engage students in their learning.

3.5 - Use effective classroom communication

Demonstrate a range of verbal and non-verbal communication strategies to support student engagement.

3.6 - Evaluate and improve teaching programs

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

4.1 - Support student participation

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

4.2 - Manage classroom activities

Demonstrate the capacity to organise classroom activities and provide clear directions.

4.3 - Manage challenging behaviour

Demonstrate knowledge of practical approaches to manage challenging behaviour.

4.5 - Use ICT safely, responsibly and ethically

Demonstrate an understanding of the relevant issues and the strategies available to support the safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching.

5.1 - Assess student learning

Demonstrate understanding of assessment strategies, including informal and formal, diagnostic, formative and summative approaches to assess student learning.


Topics will include:

  • Theoretical and academic contexts in Religious Educational (international, national, state, territory and local levels) including curriculum policies and perspectives that shape the identity of Catholic Religious Education in the senior years 
  • in considering religious education as a learning discipline similar to all others at the senior school level, the concepts, substance and structure of senior secondary curriculum content in Religious Education 
  • specific professional practices and key pedagogical approaches related to teaching and learning in Religious Education in the senior years (eg. state accredited religious education and school-based religious education) 
  • alignment and coherence in content, learning outcomes, pedagogy in curriculum programming and assessment processes in Religious Education 
  • the relationship between reflexive learning and effective concept formation to build higher order thinking in Religious Education 
  • catering for a diverse range of learners and their prior learning experiences in Religious Education 
  • strategies to develop students’ literacy and numeracy skills in the context of Religious Education 
  • discipline specific teaching strategies and issues related to Indigenous students in Religious Education  
  • effective use of resources for teaching, including ICT’s, religious media, digital culture and any other technologies specific to Religious Education  
  • pedagogical strategies to facilitate creativity, promote problem solving and foster critical thinking in Religious Education 
  • ways to assess student learning, provide effective feedback, make consistent and comparable judgments, interpret student data, report on student achievement and ethical practice in assessment in Religious Education 
  • maintaining student safety in Religious Education including risk identification, management and legislative requirements   
  • resources and sources of professional learning for teachers, including professional associations, external professionals, community representatives and support networks. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit applies a social constructivist approach to develop the pre-service teacher’s understanding of effective pedagogies through active engagement and collaborative learning. The pre-service teacher will build an understanding of teaching strategies through critical reading, lecturer modelling, discussion, and practice in tutorials. The pre-service teacher’s skills of professional communication and ability to work collaboratively will be practised through group work. The pre-service teacher’s teaching skills of planning and assessing, and his/her ability to locate and synthesise information, will be developed through designing curriculum appropriate for a Religious education context. The pre-service teacher will continue to gather and reflect upon evidence of attainment of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers: Graduate. 

The teaching and learning strategy described above will use an appropriate selection of approach, including, for example: 

  • Weekly face-to-face lectures and / or online lectures (synchronous and asynchronous)  
  • Hands-on tutorials and discussions that promote peer learning 
  • Microteaching opportunities 
  • Self-directed reading and research 
  • Collaborative learning opportunities 

Mode of delivery: This unit may be offered in different modes to cater to the learning needs and preferences of a range of participants.

Attendance Mode

In a weekly attendance mode, students require face-to-face attendance in specific physical location/s. Students will have face-to-face interactions with lecturer(s) to further their achievement of the learning outcomes.

Intensive Mode

In an intensive mode, students require face-to-face attendance in weekends or any block of time determined by the school. Students will have face-to-face interactions with lecturer(s) to further their achievement of the learning outcomes.

Online Mode

This unit may be offered via online unscheduled learning activities (i.e. learning activities are accessible anytime, anywhere) or scheduled learning activities (i.e. facilitated online seminars to enable online interaction).

In the synchronous seminar classes students engage and participate in the construction and synthesis of knowledge, while developing their knowledge of religious education. In the asynchronous Students are required to participate in a series of online interactive workshops which include activities, knowledge checks, discussion and interactive sessions. This approach allows flexibility for students and facilitates learning and participation for students with a preference for virtual learning. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively in the online environment.  

ACU Online

This unit will be delivered in online mode using an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of knowledge essential to the discipline. Students are provided with choice and variety in how they learn. Students are encouraged to contribute to asynchronous weekly discussions. Active learning opportunities provide students with opportunities to practice and apply their learning in situations similar to their future professions. Activities encourage students to bring their own examples to demonstrate understanding, application and engage constructively with their peers. Students receive regular and timely feedback on their learning, which includes information on their progress.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks and their weightings are designed so that the pre-service teacher can progressively achieve the course learning outcomes and the professional standards. The Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment units in this course focus on pre-service teachers acquiring content knowledge and developing the skills to assimilate conceptual knowledge in order for that knowledge to inform skills that will be applied in practice.

In order to pass this unit, students are required to demonstrate achievement of all four 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 engage with initial and core readings for the unit. The task is designed to allow students to display achievement of Learning Outcomes 1 and 2. In this task, students engage with the curriculum in the context of the Catholic tradition before they begin to apply ideas of the tradition to religious education contexts.   

Task 2 requires students to demonstrates learning outcomes 3 and 4. In this task students demonstrate their understanding and skills for planning assessment in the senior school. This task requires knowledge and skills of classroom practitioners and develops their expertise as religious educators.  

Task 3 requires students to reflect critically on the different offerings of RE in their jurisdiction by comparing and contrasting models in the light of contemporary academic and theological literature.

In order to pass this unit, pre-service teachers are required to demonstrate achievement of learning outcomes by submitting all assessment tasks, obtaining a combined score of at least 50 per cent. The total word count for the assessment tasks is 5500 words.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: 

Curriculum, assessment and evaluation practice 

A sequence of teaching and learning tied to a particular nominated curriculum constructed for senior students over a nominated period of time (e.g. three weeks). The nominated curriculum could be from a diocese or a State accredited senior school program, The program will be designed to address

  • the scope and sequence 
  • nominated curriculum content represented in a learning and teaching sequence 
  • literacy strategies in the teaching area 
  • learning outcomes/indicators of learning 
  • the integration of assessment in learning and teaching tasks 
  • nominated pedagogical strategies to support higher order learning 
  • resources, including ICT
  • a proposal for curriculum evaluation. 


LO1, LO2

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Assessment Task 2: 

Assessment Folio 

Develop an assessment plan of five assessment tasks designed for senior students. Each task will include: 

  • a rationale which accounts for the inclusion of content in relation to how the demand of each task supports the development of higher order thinking 
  • a description and justification for each task 
  • learning outcomes/achievement standards 
  • strategies for making consistent and comparable judgements, including marking guidelines/criteria, and moderation 
  • ways in which data will be interpreted to modify teaching practices 
  • strategies for providing feedback 
  • source material as appropriate. 


LO3, LO4

GA7, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment Task 3:

Reflective Essay

 In this essay you are required to consider the different ways religious education is treated as a learning area in various contexts, and critique the different approaches in relation to their intended purpose and how well the purposes are fulfilled. You will need to use contemporary national and international literature to provide the critique.


LO1, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Australian Curriculum 

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) 

Relevant jurisdictional curriculum documents 

Buchanan, & Gellel, A.-M. (2019). Global perspectives on catholic religious education in schools. Volume II, Learning and leading in a pluralist world (Buchanan & A.-M. Gellel, Eds.). Springer Singapore.

Gleeson, & Goldburg, P. (2020). Faith-based identity and curriculum in Catholic schools (Gleeson & P. Goldburg, Eds.; First edition.). Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Lacey, A. & Rymarz, .R & Waldeck, M. (2022). Recontextualisation and the search for relevance: a double-edged sword?. Journal of Religious Education. 70. 10.1007/s40839-022-00162-0.

Pollefeyt. (2021). Teaching the Unteachable or Why Too Much Good Is Bad. Religious Education in Catholic Schools Today. Religions (Basel, Switzerland ), 12(10), 810–.

Rossiter. (2020). Re-contextualising Catholic School Religious Education: Educating Young People Spiritually, Morally and Religiously for the 21st Century. The Person and the Challenges : the Journal of Theology, Education, Canon Law, and Social Studies Inspired by Pope John Paul II, 10(1), 29–66.

Rymarz, R., Engebretson, K., & Hyde, B. (2021). Teaching Religious Education in Catholic Schools: Embracing a new era: Garratt Publishing,

Rymarz, & Sharkey, P. (2019). Moving from theory to practice religious educators in the classroom (Rymarz & P. Sharkey, Eds.). Vaughan and Garrat Publishing.

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