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The Nature and Purpose of the Religious Education

Discuss about the Phenomenological Approach To The Teaching Of Religious Education.

In the Archdiocese of Brisbane, the Catholic schools use the Brisbane document for the purpose of the Brisbane curriculum. Archbishop Coleridge in the year 2013 approved the use of the P-12 for the purpose of the classroom teaching. The curriculum was designed and developed after an extended period of the dialogue and consultation. Each and every Catholic school in the archdiocese will have the school program based on the curriculum totally. It has been found that the religious Education Curriculum P-12 has connections with the church documents. There is more string connection with the Vatican documents and the Catechism of the Catholic church that is based on schooling and education. The Brisbane Catholic Education is delegated by the Archbishop himself in order to support the Ecumenical and the Catholic schools. The team of the Religious Education Services of the Brisbane Catholic Education are renowned for providing the professional learning and as well as for the formation of the religious educators in schools.

The Brisbane curriculum provides the religious education which is considered as an interplay between the culture, life, faith within the context of the Catholic overview. The religious instruction is a term which is used in the church’s documents and it is interchangeably along with another term called the Religious education. The Brisbane Religious Education document places the role of the Religious Education with the broader mission and perspective of the Catholic church. The Religious Education in the Archdiocese seeks for the promotion of skills, deep understanding, knowledge with respect to the broader Christian tradition and it also includes the evangelism mission taken up by the church (Bne.catholic.edu.au, 2018).

The general directory of the Catechesis highlights the distinction and the importance of the catechesis and instruction. Since the year 2008, Brisbane is based on the Model for Religious Education that is based on the Gabriel Moran's approach for the purpose of religious education. The model describes that there is a central distinction between the two different aspects of the religious education and the religious education includes both teaching people to be religious and teaching people to understand the religion. Brisbane's Model for Religious Education and Moran's views are in accordance with the document published in the Vatican Congregation for the Catholic Education. The Brisbane Curriculum Religious Education depicts a contemporary approach towards the purpose and the nature of the religious education. This is done with the focus towards more outward looking and it is also aimed towards the better preparation of the students so that they can be a good Catholic in this world. It has been found that the by engaging with the religious education, students will be able to become active constructors of the culture instead of the passive consumers. Though this way the students will be able to challenge themselves and will be able to live a life according to the gospel of Jesus Christ (Bne.catholic.edu.au, 2018). The Brisbane curriculum is also found to induce within the students and also help them to develop a religious literacy with respect to the Catholic Christian tradition. This will also help the students to participate in the contemporary culture in a more authenticable and critical way. The students are able to become literate as they are able to develop the dispositions, skills and knowledge and are able to use the language in the context of the faith and language confidentiality. It is also important to note that the religious literacy must be confused with the religious knowledge. The vision of the curriculum describes to the students the way through which they can articulate their faith and the lives in an authentic way. This also includes the ways of writing, reflecting, reading, worshipping, theologising, ritualising, participating, evaluating, critiquing, communicating, creating, talking with the other variety of the secular and the religious contexts.

Contemporary Approaches to Religious Education- Content and Methodology

The Brisbane Religious education thrives to provide the students with the introduction and also helps in understanding the established understanding that is in accordance with the Catholic Christian Tradition. The Brisbane curriculum is also characterised by the reconceptualise approach that operates through the education framework instead of operating through the shared Christian praxis or the framework of catechesis. The Brisbane religious education is based on the work of the Gabriel Moran that is considered as a major proponent of the reconceptualist approach. Within the reconceptualist approach, the curriculum avoids the usage of the assumptions and the presumptive language (Bne.catholic.edu.au, 2018).

Reconceptualist approach- Religious education curriculum documents are commonly used for the purpose of imparting the teaching related to the Catholic tradition. In a reconceptualist approach, the teachers do not initiate with the assumptions about the faith of the student also the teachers also avoid the usage of the presumptive language. In a religion classroom, the teachers prefer the usage of language that is educational and invitational for the purpose of better engagement with the students. Thus, it is seen that the students that identify themselves as Catholics are affirmed through this approach (Rec.bne.catholic.edu.au, 2018).

A reconceptualist approach includes the exploration of a person’s own religious life with respect to the those that share the religious life and those who do not. This education approach lays emphasis on critical appreciation of one's own religion and at the same time have an empathy towards the other people that practice a different religion. It is important to note that the reconceptualist classroom is a not just a place where knowledge and facts are transferred, nor the classroom is a place of a values-driven philosophy of religion. A reconceptualist approach to teaching takes into account of the end. This approach can be described as a way which teaches the life religiously and intelligently in a diverse world (Rec.bne.catholic.edu.au, 2018).

The reconceptualist approach needs the powerful pedagogies that will be able to engage with the students along with the rich sources of the tradition. It is also important to mention that in the Catholic tradition is accessible through the good teaching. The learning in this approach is more than just listening and at the same time teaching is more than just telling. The reconceptualist approach places more emphasis on the activating and evaluating the student involvement and within the continuous process of teaching and learning. Through the usage of the informative feedback, the effective learning in a religious classroom is advanced. Learning is facilitated and is promoted when the learners are able to receive the information in a timely manner (Rec.bne.catholic.edu.au, 2018).


Catechetical approach- Moran states that this is a teaching process which aims towards being religious in a particular way. A proper example for proving the teaching is a particular way can be a teacher providing teaching to the environment and the community. This means that the teacher first explains and teaches a person to pray first before explaining what prayer actually is. The teacher in this teaching approach demands that the students must be obedient towards the moral path before the ethical systems are properly explained. Teaching people about the being religious in a particular way has been derived from a religious education curriculum with respect to the catechetical approach of the religious teaching. Here the catechetical approach refers to the religious education and the main concept lies in the fact that leads the people to religious education and faith. Rossiter termed this approach as education in faith and it emphasizes on the handling the religious faith. This approach of the religious study is famous in the Catholic schools of Australia. The various examples of the catechetical approach are the life experience approach, kerygmatic approach, dogmatic approach (Franchi, 2013). The dogmatic approach is also called the catechism, magisterial and traditional approaches of the religious education in Australia. This approach explicitly focuses on the catechism and the teaching method lacks the direct teaching from bible. Through the process of memorisation, the religious teaching is presented superficially and it lacks the room for critical engagement and personal interpretation. This teaching approach relies basically on teaching Catholic and not Christianity. Thus, this sort of teaching does not fit into the modern world schools that have variety of culture in their classrooms (Rymarz, 2013). The kerygmatic approach of the religious teaching came in to light due to the Kerygmatic movements that took place in the Catholic Church. The movement received an improved force or a push due to the renewed force in the scriptural and liturgical catechesis of the early church. Due to the growing dissatisfaction with the dogmatic approach. The kerygmatic approach stresses on the growing dissatisfaction with the dogmatic approach and it emphasizes on the good news of the Christian message and narrows down the doctrinal approach of the approach of the catechisms (Pollefeyt & Bouwens, 2014).

The Educational approach- in the year 1970, the theorists understood the fact that the main aim of the religious education with the context of schools is far more different from the rest of the programs that are taught in the Catholic schools. Gerard Rummery, Rossiter Graham are the two main theorists that made the significant amount of contributions in the field of the educational approach in Australia. Like the other catechesis, Gerard Rummery conceptualised the religious education in the Australian schools. Graham Rossiter argued that the teachers need to have the clear idea about the religious education and the nature of the catechesis and also the context within which it will take place. Rossiter believed that the teacher has the realisation that both the teachings must place within the separate contexts and the teachers will develop the proper aims for each. Rossiter thus developed the view that catechetical activities are best suited outside the classroom while Rossiter developed the view that religious education in the classroom is considered to be educational (Jackson, 2013).

The phenomenal approach- Ryan suggested that the phenomenal perspective allows the students to gain an understanding of the different types of the religions with respect to the gaining and relating the deeper understanding the one’s own religion. This approach exemplifies that religion is not taught but it is explored. This approach is considered to be dogmatic and teaching the religion carried the meaning that the learners were to be converted to Christianity and only teach them the teachings of Jesus Christ. This types of teaching lay emphasis on the fact that the children must be exposed to wide range of the religious views and not just the Christianity. According to Grimmit, this will make the region as a field of study and will seek to show what is unique and distinctive with respect to the religion which is considered to be a mode of awareness and thought. The teachers will present the students with the teachings of religion in the classroom and this will let the students know their practices and the beliefs (Acquah, 2017).

Over the past twenty years, major transformational changes have been noticed in the culture of the Australian society. Due to the post-war immigration, some changes have been noticed in the society that directly impacted the standards of living, mass media, the social underclass, and wealth of the minority. Changes have also been noticed at the level of the interpersonal relationships and this especially includes the family relationships and the major effects both good and bad has also been felt. The family and the school partnerships are one of the major issues that occur on the day to day basis and these are being faced by the educators that strive to provide quality teaching. It is, however, important to note that the family is considered as the foundational issue for the long-term Catholic education. Majority of the professionals have reported that the people that are interested in the religious education have reported that there has been a significant improvement in the role of the school as an evangelizing community and also improvement has been seen in the teaching of the subject. However, it is important to note that there are issues when it comes to the role of the families in the religious education. There is a large number of the unfinished and the unaddressed agendas (Graham, 1994).

 Schools across Australia that are either Catholic or not, teach the students to be enquiring and critical learners. Programs that promote the development of faith and education must also recognise that both the areas also require the lifelong growth and learning. Thus, in order to achieve such a growth, it is important to recognise the formation of faith and religion and it is an amalgamated responsibility of the parish, family and the school. Thus, for this purpose church often considers the parents as the first educator of the children. The specific role of the school is to support and complement what happens in the parish and home. Parishes are held accountable for the way they are welcomed and the parishes are also responsible to the degree to which take the necessary steps in order to create an atmosphere that truly nurtures the faith and the desire (Quillinan, 2004).  

It is noted that that at the enrolment evenings that involves the new families and the issues related to the sacramental program must be resolved. This is done so that the families that will join the community will understand the expectation and the approach. It is also important to note that the title of the parish education coordinator also needs to be addressed so that the more accurate title denotes the catechetical nature properly. The understanding pertaining to the religious education has encountered changes over time and the attempt of the several theorists to identify the distinctiveness with respect to the catechesis. The main aim of the religious education is to impart knowledge and teaching of how to lead a religious life. The importance of the school that plays the role of a nurturing community is also a place of enquiry. The religious education must be imparted in a way so that it can be get engaged with the lives of the students and also help them to shape themselves, provide them with the spiritual wisdom for the journey of life (RE Online, 2018).

There were clear outcomes of the movements that have occurred in the 90’s and it had an impact on the religious education that affected the teaching, assessment and curriculum as well. There are many theorists like the Rummery, Moran and Rossiter that supports the fact that the religious teaching must be imparted through the normal education approach. The main aim of making the religious education similar to the normal school education is to impart the religious education through the same authenticity, methods and rigour. Rossiter described that religious education is an intentional act which is conducted by the teachers and it indicates clear distinction of between the catechesis and also that occurs within the context of the parish and home. It is also important to note that catechesis work within the context of the sacramental life and the teachers work within the context of the academic program and in a school classroom. Moran states that the religious education must also include the critical enquiry and at the same time the teachers also require an inquiring mind. This is in accordance with the educational thinking that into account the Melbourne religious education framework, love, worship. With the educational thinking, the inquiry approach best suits the example of the pedagogy and it also suits the religious education classroom (Catholic.tas.edu.au, 2018).

Reference

Acquah, A. (2017). Phenomenological Approach to the Teaching of Religious Education: Sharing Knowledge to Benefit Religious Educators. religion (Jackson, 2004), 29.

Bne.catholic.edu.au (2018). Religious Education Curriculum  - Brisbane Catholic Education. [online] Bne.catholic.edu.au. Available at: https://www.bne.catholic.edu.au/religious-education-mission/ReligiousEducationCurriculum/Pages/default.aspx [Accessed 19 May 2018].

Catholic.tas.edu.au (2018). [online] Catholic.tas.edu.au. Available at: https://catholic.tas.edu.au/key-documents/family-school-parish-partnership [Accessed 19 May 2018].

Franchi, L. (2013). Catechesis and religious education: A case study from Scotland. Religious Education, 108(5), 467-481.

Graham, J. (1994). Leadership foundation for effective parish family school partnership in religious education. journal of Religious Education. 42(1). pp. 3-7.

Jackson, R. (2013). Rethinking religious education and plurality: Issues in diversity and pedagogy. Routledge.

Pollefeyt, D., & Bouwens, J. (2014). Identity in dialogue: Assessing and enhancing Catholic school identity. Research methodology and research results in Catholic schools in Victoria, Australia (Vol. 1). LIT Verlag Münster.

Quillinan, J. (2004). Linking parishes, schools and families- A call to holiness through lifelong learning. The Australiasian Catholic Record, 81(4), 387-396.

RE Online (2018). Family & Faith. [online] RE Online. Available at: https://reonline.sydcatholicschools.nsw.edu.au/family-faith/ [Accessed 19 May 2018].

Rec.bne.catholic.edu.au. (2018). A Reconceptualist Approach to the Religion Curriculum - Religious Education Services - Brisbane Catholic Education. Retrieved from https://www.rec.bne.catholic.edu.au/The%20Shape%20of%20Religious%20Education/Pages/A-Reconceptualist-Approach-to-the-Religion-Curriculum.aspx

Rymarz, R. M. (2013). Direct instruction as a pedagogical tool in religious education. British Journal of Religious Education, 35(3), 326-341.

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