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THCT500 Foundations of Christian Faith

Teaching organisation

The unit involves 150 hours of focused learning. The unit will be delivered in multi-mode, that is, in combinations of face to face and mediated learning environments, utilising a number of strategies.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Teachers in Catholic schools have as a special responsibility the promotion of the spiritual growth of the young people in their care. In order to meet this responsibility, it is important that teachers are able to reflect deeply, critically and authentically on their own spiritual, moral and intellectual commitments, especially in relation to their school’s Catholic identity. In this unit, participants are invited to reflect on Catholic faith, bringing this knowledge into critical dialogue with their own perspectives, and assessing the implications of that dialogue for their work. Participants are also introduced to the core theoretical principles and methodological practices of the Enhancing Catholic Schools Identity (ECSI) research, which supports whole school communities in clarifying their Catholic identity and confirming their future direction and practices. The aim of this unit is to enable teachers to reflect critically on where they stand in relation to Catholic faith and how they can engage respectfully, productively and creatively in making sense of it with others in a plural context. 

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 - Give a critical, contextual account of Catholic faith (GA4, GA8)

LO2 - Reflect theologically and hermeneutically, bringing the Catholic tradition into critical dialogue with their own and other perspectives (GA4)

LO3 - Explain the purposes and outcomes of the Enhancing Catholic Schools Identity (ECSI) Project (GA5)

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 


Topics will include: 

  • The nature of theological reflection 
  • Catholic understandings of the Christian God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit; the significance of Jesus Christ; revelation and faith; implications of the Incarnation for understanding the nature of the human person, the Church and sacraments, and the transformation and destiny of the person and the world 
  • Christian faith in dialogue with contemporary culture: recontextualisation 
  • Implications of faith for teaching and being part of a Catholic school community 
  • Introducing the Enhancing Catholic School Identity (ECSI) Project 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

THCT565 will be delivered in multi-mode, that is, in combinations of face to face and mediated learning environments, utilising a number of strategies. Self-directed activities (such as completing scaffolded reading tasks) enable each student to build an initial understanding of a topic; small group tasks and activities (such as contributing to discussion boards) enable students to test, critique, expand and evaluate those understandings; plenary seminars and webinars enable students to connect their understandings to larger frameworks and interpretations; reflective activities (such as a guided Examen or journal-writing) assist students in identifying their affective responses to the learning and becoming more authentic and integrated in their actions. The unit is delivered with the expectation that participants are adult learners, intrinsically motivated and prepared to reflect critically on issues as well as on their own learning and perspectives.  

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 for this unit are designed for students to demonstrate their achievement of each learning outcome. They require students to demonstrate the nexus between their learning, dispositions, and teaching practice. In order to pass this unit, students are required to complete both assessment tasks and achieve an overall minimum grade of pass.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Critical Reflection on Reading (in order to demonstrate the nexus between the student’s learning, dispositions, and teaching practice) 


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA4, GA5, GA8

Presentation (in order to demonstrate the nexus between the student’s learning, dispositions, and teaching practice) 


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA4, GA5, GA8

Representative texts and references

Ayres, Lewis and Medi Ann Volpe. The Oxford Handbook of Catholic Theology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019. 

Cahill, Lisa Sowle. Global Justice, Christology and Christian Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. 

Cornille, Catherine. The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Inter-Religious Dialogue. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2020. 

Haight, Roger. Spiritual and Religious: Explorations for Seekers. Maryknoll: Orbis, 2016. 

Hellwig, M. K. Understanding Catholicism. 2nd ed. New York/Mahwah: Paulist Press, 2003. 

Himes, Michael. The Mystery of Faith: An Introduction to Catholicism. Cincinnati, OH: Franciscan Media, 2004. (Required text: recommended for purchase, available in Kindle, audiobook and paperback formats)

O'Collins, Gerald and Edward G. Farrugia. Catholicism: The Story of Catholic Christianity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. 

Rausch, Thomas P. and Catherine E. Clifford, Catholicism in the Third Millennium. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2003. (Required text: available electronically through ACU library)

Rausch, Thomas P. Systematic Theology: A Roman Catholic Approach. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2016.

Sharkey, Paul. Educator's Guide to Catholic Identity. Catholic Identity. Mulgrave, Vic.: Vaughan Publishing, 2015.  

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