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Orientation Program for new Religious Educators in the Secondary Context

“The whole of religious education is not a terribly complex project. It requires that the ‘teacher’ know which of the two processes we are engaged in at a particular time and place” (Moran, 1991).
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Laura VonHoldt

on 9 October 2012

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Transcript of Orientation Program for new Religious Educators in the Secondary Context

Orientation Program for new
Religious Educators
in the
Secondary Context Moran was a key theorist, a Roman Catholic, Professor and teacher in the area of Christian and Religious Education (Parmach, 2012). Gabriel Moran presents a clear outsiders perspective on the meaning of Religious Education. Who is Moran? Knowledge of Language in Religious Education Teaching People Religion When implementing the Stage 4 –symbol and ritual - Sacraments of Initiation program a vocabulary/spelling list should be outlined at the start of the unit, to help clear up any queries in relation to the key words being used within the unit. As a new teacher to Secondary
Religious Education it can be particularly
difficult to find your feet and discover your position as a Religious Educator. Rationale How will I teach Religious Education? This resource has been designed for new teachers to Secondary Religious Education. It will help to create a thorough understanding of the Religious Education curriculum as well as a background into the histories and theories behind Religious Education and how they relate to your Secondary context. This will be linked to Gabriel Moran’s key statement from the article “Understanding Religion and Being Religious”. Moran’s statement will be a key focus of this resource. He believes that as a Religious Educator you need to understand two processes and the context to which they relate. There are two key but very contrasting processes that must be clearly understood in order to successfully teach Religious Education: “teaching people religion” and “teaching people to be religious in a particular way” (Moran, 1991, p.21). “The whole of religious education is not a terribly complex project. It requires that the ‘teacher’ know which of the two processes we are engaged in at a particular time and place” (Moran, 1991). What’s the difference between teaching people religion and teaching people to be religious in a particular way? How does Moran apply to my classroom context? Moran (1991) made a huge impact on the education context when he attempted to outline the aims of these processes. In teaching people religion, the main objective is to “understand” and interpret an array of data, books, audio and visual media. One such example is the “To know Worship and Love” a mandated text for Secondary students. He asks the question “I grasp with some logic the human experiences grouped under the term religion?” (p250). The purpose of this process is not to contribute in a religious way only to understand. As an educator of Religious Education these two processes this will dramatically affect the way you teach. You will need to know which one of the two processes you are engaged in depending on what context or content you are teaching. This perspective on Religious Education provides you a new teacher with an outline of two main aims that you may undertake in your classroom.
The second process can be referred to as Christian nurture education. Christian nurture education or “being religious in a particular way” is exemplified into the notion of being a devoted Catholic or observant Jew (Moran, 1991, p.250). The teacher stresses respect to the “moral path” before explaining what prayer is about and the morals behind it (Moran, 1991). Being religious in a particular way has a high faith component. Moran outlines that the agent of not necessarily the “teacher”, he believes that every individual including the catechist, preacher, parent and whole community are the fundamental source of the teaching. The following link is to St Bernard’s Catholic School, which contains an exceptional outline of the difference between teaching people religion and teaching people to be religious in a particular way in relation to a secondary school context. It also outlines specific examples of how the Parish, school and parents are involved in their students’ learning.

http://www.stbernards.qld.edu.au/our-curriculum/religious-education/apre Why is it essential for you as a Religious Educator to be aware of the language and the connotations behind particular terms? Firstly, a clear knowledge of the language behind religious education is essential in a high school context. As educators, we need to be sure of this language, as we may be challenged about a particular concept. There is a great need for a common understanding for effective conversation between Religious Educators. We need to understand what writers are implying to know their purpose or intent, so that all educators have a common understanding. Without clarifying the broad contextual differences between these diverse words, non-believers as well as Catholics will not be able to come to a consensus at a school level. As educators we are continually using language to help instruct students. Therefore it is crucial that we are aware of the meanings and connections of various terms. In teaching people religion When teaching Sacraments of the church a particular activity that could be undertaken to help with the vocabulary for the unit may include a close passage activity on the sacraments, action, word use and meanings. Teaching People to be Religious in a Particular Way According to Moran (1991) in all faith traditions you will find people who simply teach about that particular religion and you will also find people teaching how to be faithful. In the Catholic tradition Moran (1991) argues that both contrasting processes are equally important and can be described as “teaching people” (p.249). For an individual person one approach may dominate the other, depending on their faith or the particular moment they are at in their life (Moran, 1991). Linguistic clarity when studying Religious Education cannot be underrated. It is essential for students to have a clear idea of all key terms and their connotations so they are able to build upon and explore their foundation of knowledge. This is also supported by Mogra (2009) who stated that “language development is fundamental for becoming successful learners and is significant for a growing understanding and conceptual development in religion” (p. 1). Examples of this “linguistic cluttering” and conceptual confusion of terminologies include terms such as catechesis, evangelisation and Christian nurture/education which also require a foundational knowledge in order to understand. People are unaware that each term has its individual and distinctive meaning (Ryan, 2007). These individual meanings and their connections must be clarified at a school level so that all educators have a common understanding in order to educate successfully. Where can I find clarification of terminologies? The Religious Education programs from St Joseph’s Regional College also link to the source of the church’s teachings. The church’s teachings is categorised under church documents, catholic catechism and scripture. The link to these church teachings enables you to become familiar with the terms associated in the documents, before you teach the unit. All curriculum documents can be accessed from the Catholic Education Office Sydney or within your school.
As educators in the secondary school context, syllabus documents provide classroom outcomes and essential readings for teachers. These readings will help clarify terms or topics used within the unit, therefore enabling a more comprehensive teaching of Religious Education. Also purchasing a concise dictionary of theology to help identify key words and phrases as well as clarify theological terminology. If this is not available to you in your school you can purchase it online at.
http://www.amazon.com/Concise-Dictionary-Theology-Stimulus-Book/dp/0809139294 "The Teacher" St Joseph’s Regional College Context At Regional College within the Religious Education curriculum there is a clear differentiation between education in faith or teaching people to be religious in a particular way and Religious Education or teaching people religion. Moran’s holistic approach to Religious Education is clearly evident from the following statement within the College community. “We distinguish between FAMILY EDUCATION IN FAITH which is nurtured at school by the total school environment and its spirit of community, care and concern, as well as by prayer, liturgies (including class celebrations of the Eucharist), retreat days and camps, where we are greatly supported by our School Chaplain and local priests: RELIGIOUS EDUCATION in the classroom, where professional teaching and academic learning combine to present students with the beliefs, values and practices of the Catholic Faith, to assist them to grow in appreciation of these, and to lead students to understand the vital role of religion in the life of the human person” (St Agnes Parish Secondary Schools, 2012). The main areas of study at the College are: AND Evangelisation or teaching people to be religious in a particular way is evident at St Joseph’s Regional College through allowing staff, students and parents to be involved in catechetical activities. These activities are also encouraged by the documentation in The Catholic Schools at a Crossroads. Some of these include: Whole school masses/Church visits/interaction with school Chaplin – allows to the opportunity for faith development and the building of a strong faith community through the celebration of prayer, sacraments and liturgies. School Retreats/Project Compassion/ St Vincent de Paul groups/ Feast Day Celebrations – These co-curricular activities are aimed at further evangelising and catechising students as well as nourishing their spiritual life. Pastoral Care/Daily Prayer - The College has a vertical pastoral care structure with pastoral group made up of students from different year groups. Senior students within these groups provide leadership and mentoring for the younger students. There is the presence of Catholic symbols within each Pastoral Care room, including a crucifix, candle, picture of Mary Mackillop, school mission and vision statement. These practices and symbols are fundamental elements in the daily school life. School Parish Context- Lismore Diocese The Religious Education Curriculum as outlined by the Diocese of Lismore is supported by the student text "To Know, Worship and Love". It allows students to integrate and share their personal stored with the story of Jesus and the Church. The theology and the student text are incorporated with the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Also outlined by the Diocese of Lismore is the Foundational Beliefs and Practices –The Essential Framework which the College follows. This framework outlines worship, community, service, witness and evangelisation within the Regional College. Another document that you will need to become familiar with is The Catholic Schools at a Crossroads set by the Bishops of NSW and the ACT. It encourages all teachers in Catholic schools to ensure that the school are centres of the called the ‘new evangelisation’. It also includes a range of approaches which allow staff, students and parents to encounter with Jesus Christ as offered by our schools and the Catholic Education Office. Aspects ensuring that parish schools:
• are truly Catholic in their identity and life
• are centres of 'the new evangelisation'
• enable our students to achieve high levels of 'Catholic religious literacy'
• are led and staffed by people who contribute to these goals (Catholic Education Office, 2007). What can I do in my classroom to help students understand terms? Stage 4 –Symbol and Ritual - Sacraments of Initiation These documents link to Moran’s key ideas and as a teacher helps clarify the difference between teaching about religion and teaching to be religious. Both processes are inextricably linked. As stated by (Scott K. , 2001, p. 162) “Practice without understanding can become blind, narrow and prejudicial. Understanding without practice can become abstract, detached, and lacking in appreciation.” It requires you as an engaging, 21st century teacher to know and understand at any particular time and place which teaching process you are undertaking in order to assist students learning Religious Education successfully. Teaching People Religion Teaching people to be Religious in a Particular way Historical Developments in Religious Education The Kerygmatic Approach The kerygmatic approach attempted to address the outstanding issues from the dogmatic movement, although, it only partially succeeded. Queries were raised into whether memorisation and repetition was an effective method of learning (Whenman, 2012). A response for a more effective educational approach was therefore needed. During this key time in Religious Education the kerygmatic movement proved to have many benefits but also weaknesses. Advantages •More reflection is enabled in regards to the teaching and learning styles, therefore, engaging students with the content.
•More texts used. This encouraged teachers to utilise a diverse range of resources such as the “My Way to God” series for Grades 1-4, and the Catholic Catechism Years 5/6 and 7/8 book, which featured prayer and scripture (Whenman, 2012).
•This approach attempted to focus more on the learner, and put the student at the centre of the learning process.
•Invited change Disadvantages •Very repetitious. One such example is that of the salvation history and Abraham stories being repeated and overdone (Rummery, 1977).
•The strong emphasis on the Bible lacked foundation in Scripture Studies. This was due to the absence of professional development. Teachers therefore had a lack of knowledge and felt disconnected from the students.
•Teachers used the bible as a textbook without altering it to suit the needs of the students. It therefore lacked relevancy to the needs and interests of the students (Gallagher, 2001).
•The approach had a focused on learners that had a Catholic background as well as a commitment to the Catholic faith and involvement in liturgical life, which is was not advantageous to all students (Rummery, 1977). The Life Experience Approach The kerygmatic approach attempted to address the outstanding issues from the dogmatic movement, although, it only partially succeeded. Queries were raised into whether memorisation and repetition was an effective method of learning (Whenman, 2012). A response for a more effective educational approach was therefore needed. During this key time in Religious Education the kerygmatic movement proved to have many benefits but also weaknesses. Advantages •More reflection is enabled in regards to the teaching and learning styles, therefore, engaging students with the content.
•More texts used. This encouraged teachers to utilise a diverse range of resources such as the “My Way to God” series for Grades 1-4, and the Catholic Catechism Years 5/6 and 7/8 book, which featured prayer and scripture (Whenman, 2012).
•This approach attempted to focus more on the learner, and put the student at the centre of the learning process.
•Invited change Disadvantages •Very repetitious. One such example is that of the salvation history and Abraham stories being repeated and overdone (Rummery, 1977).
•The strong emphasis on the Bible lacked foundation in Scripture Studies. This was due to the absence of professional development. Teachers therefore had a lack of knowledge and felt disconnected from the students.
•Teachers used the bible as a textbook without altering it to suit the needs of the students. It therefore lacked relevancy to the needs and interests of the students (Gallagher, 2001).
•The approach had a focused on learners that had a Catholic background as well as a commitment to the Catholic faith and involvement in liturgical life, which is was not advantageous to all students (Rummery, 1977). The following approaches illustrate various emphases and directions in religious education. They may appear in combination in a particular teaching context. Some approaches are less common, although, in many Religious Education classes each approach may be still present.
When these approaches are being used it is important to make clear the objectives of each different approach and to match the different methods in a balanced way. It is important that each of these approaches are not confused, so that there is a common way of teaching within each classroom, therefore all teachers having the same aims. The integration of the life experience approach at the regional college is evident in many ways, in particular through the Stage 4 –symbol and ritual - Sacraments of Initiation program.
Symbols and rituals are part of the everyday life of families and the social interaction of the young. Teaching therefore is formed from symbols and rituals of the student’s culture – sporting teams, video games, popular music, advertising and their family stories and school identity. Students are encouraged to discuss their First Holy Communion and Confirmation. Reference List Bishops of NSW and ACT. (2007). Pastoral letter: Catholic schools at a crossroads.Sydney: CEO

Catholic Education Office. (2012). Religious education. Retrieved October 1, 2012, from Catholic schools office: http://www.ceosyd.catholic.edu.au/PARENTS/RELIGION/RE/Pages/Home.aspx

Diocese of Lismore. (2012). Religious education and faith services. Retrieved October 1, 2012, from Catholic schools office: http://www.lism.catholic.edu.au/pages/religious-education/re-curriculum.php

Gallagher, J. (2001). Soil for the seed: Historical, pastoral and theological reflections on educating to and in faith. Essex, England: McCrimmons. [Chapter 3 - Critique of Catechisms, pp. 56 – 71]

Mogra, I. (2009, May 25). language development and religious education. Retrieved August 29, 2012, from NALDIC: http://www.naldic.org.uk/Resources/NALDIC/Initial%20Teacher%20Education/Documents/EALandRE.pdf

Moran, G. (1991). Understanding religion and being religious. Professional Approaches for Religious Educators (PACE). 22, 249-252

Parmach, R. J. (2012). Gabriel Moran . Retrieved September 28, 2012, from Talbot: http://www2.talbot.edu/ce20/educators/view.cfm?n=gabriel_moran

Rossiter, G. (1982). The need for a 'creative divorce' between catechesis and religious education in Catholic schools. Religious Education, 77(1), 21-40.

Rossiter, G. (1987). The place of faith in religious education in Catholic schools. Living Light, 24(1), 7 -16.

Rummery, G. (1977). The development of the concept of religious education in Catholic schools 1872 - 1972. Journal of Religious History, 9(3), 302 - 317.

Ryan (1997). Foundations of religious education in Catholic schools. Katoomba, NSW: Social Science Press. Chapter 5 - Change and Controversy: Life Experience Catechesis. pp. 51 – 67.

Ryan, M. (2007). A common search: the history and forms of religious education in Catholic schools. Brisbane, Australia: Lumino Press. Chapter 1 – The education of Christians in the early Church pp. 13 – 34.

St Bernard’s Catholic School. (2012). Religious Education. Retrieved October 1, 2012, from St Bernard’s Catholic School: http://www.stbernards.qld.edu.au/our-curriculum/religious-education/apre

Scott, K. (1984). Three traditions of religious education. Religious Education, 79(3), 323 - 339.

Scott, K. (2001). To Teach Religion or Not to Teach Religion: Is That the Dilemma? In Religious Education as Practical Theology. Peeters Press.

St Agnes Parish Secondary Schools (2012). Religious education. Retrieved August 31, 2012, from St Agnes' Parish Secondary Schools: http://www.pmreglism.catholic.edu.au/curriculum/religious-education

Whenman, A.M. (2012) EDRE621 Lecture notes. Retrieved from [http://leo.acu.edu.au/mod/page/view.php?id=262521]. In each approach their are aspects of teaching people religion and teaching people to be religious in a particular way. Shared Christian Praxis The following is a video based on the Shared Christian Praxis approach, discussed by Dr. Tom Groome. This video will help clarify and give and understanding of how this approach may be used in your classroom. What are the key documents that I should be aware of? How can I incorporate holistic teaching methods into my classroom? Can I separate between teaching people religion and teaching people to be religious in a particular way?
Full transcript