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General Information

Learning Structure

 

The following draft material is provided for your use as we renew the Religious Education Curriculum Framework.

 

In the Religious Education Curriculum Framework, the learning structure has three integrated components that work together to build the foundations for a Pedagogy of Encounter:

 

  • Three strands of learning in Religious Education: Knowledge and Understanding – seeking truth; Reasoning and Responding – making meaning, Personal and Communal Engagement – living story
  • Five content areas: Jesus and Scripture; Church and Community; God, Religion and Life; Prayer, Liturgy and Sacraments; Morality and Justice. These each have learning descriptors in levels
  • Achievement standards in progression points

The Three Strands

The three strands of learning in Religious Education grow out of an understanding of dialogue that engages each learner as a seeker of truth, a maker of meaning and one who lives out their story in, and with, community. The three strands emphasise that learning in Religious Education is more than a cognitive approach to gaining Knowledge and Understanding; it also develops learners’ Reasoning and Responding, and deepens their Personal and Communal Engagement through the learning.

 

The three strands reflect an approach to learning in relationship where learners come to know themselves, and are valued and understood through dialogue. While the three strands are articulated as discrete aspects of learning, highlighting particular modes of learning, they are interconnected and often apply simultaneously. The three strands are the basis of the learning structure. They provide the organising schema for the learning descriptors and the achievement standards. Each strand names a key action of dialogue: explanation, interpretation and reflection integrated into life. These actions draw you back to what students are doing in the process of dialogue at the heart of a pedagogy of encounter. Whether you are engaging students in learning or whether your intention is assessment, whether you are collegially planning for learning, or moderating student learning, the three strands are central.

Knowledge and Understanding: seeking truth

A Catholic understanding that illuminates this strand is that God is discovered in the search for truth and sharing this search with others. Truth is the horizon for which we strive, the questions in each of us creating the impulse for learning. In this strand, learners are challenged to consider their intentions, since the true and the good can only be found by the heart of love. This strand develops knowledge and understanding of the key practices and beliefs of Christian communities, both past and present, in ways that connect to, and challenge, the cultural context. It builds on student questions and wonderings to create new paths to God. It intentionally pursues truth, as revealed in and through the loving action of God and in dialogue with the other.

 

Learning in this strand is evident when students explain their understanding of the complexity and wisdom of the Catholic faith and its elements in dialogue with multiple perspectives within and beyond the Catholic Tradition. It asks students to articulate a considered point of view. The modes of learning in this strand are those of exploring, identifying, puzzling, thinking critically, analysing, finding out, and seeking multiple perspectives.

Reasoning and Responding: making meaning

In this strand, we are invited to discover that life has purpose and meaning, even beyond self-fulfilment. It grows from the Catholic belief that Christ is the way, the truth and the life. This strand focuses on the development of particular ways of thinking and acting that arise out of grappling with what it means to be a follower of Christ. In this strand, students are challenged to consider issues and deep questions within their world and are invited to respond to the Catholic Tradition and its call to live with love, integrity and virtue. Students are empowered to be agents of their own learning, making meaning through dialogue with the other.

 

Learning in this strand is evident when students interpret and make meaning of their life, the world and their social context, as well as their religious tradition, responding with openness to transformation and with empathy to others. The modes of learning in this strand include listening with compassion, sifting and sorting out, questioning, wondering, responding, prioritising, making judgements, considering and empathising.

Personal and Communal Engagement: living story

Every person holds their story, which encompasses their past and looks towards the future. People are embedded in a community and make connections to other stories and the world through ‘who they are’ and ‘who they are becoming’ within that community’s search for truth and meaning. This strand draws on a Catholic understanding of the sacramental life, where the sacred is encountered in the ordinary. Learners grow into a sense of self as loved and loving, reflecting on ‘who I am’ and ‘how I am’ in relationship with others. This strand emphasises the full flourishing of the human person. It seeks to stir a sense of awe and wonder, imagination and hopefulness. It invites a sense of belonging to a faith community and commitment to the common good.

 

Learning in this strand is evident when students reflect on their story, deepening awareness of their feelings, questions, beliefs and worldviews in relation to others’ stories. It also asks students to apply their insights to new directions of hope for relationships and the broader world. The modes of learning in this strand include making connections, discerning, evaluating, appreciating, deepening awareness, reflecting, imagining, and applying.

Discussion questions

What might each strand reveal about our learners?

How might I support all learners to grow through the three strands?

 

 

The Five Content Areas

Religious Education in a Catholic school takes seriously the mission of the Church to engage with the message of the Gospel in all its wisdom, complexity and challenge.

 

God’s love for each of us is unique and God picks us out, each of us, to fulfil our particular mission in the world and all of us as the Church to reach out with something to offer – the goodness of the Gospel (Archbishop Denis Hart, 2012).

 

The content of the learning in the framework is organised through five areas, in line with To Know, Worship and Love:

  • Scripture and Jesus
  • Church and Community
  • God, Religion and Life
  • Prayer, Liturgy and Sacrament
  • Morality and Justice.

 

A statement for each content area encapsulates the Catholic theological understandings for that area that are explored and developed with students throughout their years of Catholic education. The content areas are interconnected and the statements note these connections. Each content area deserves equal attention across the scope of the year’s learning.  

Scripture and Jesus

God freely and lovingly communicates with humanity through: the natural world; the tradition of the people of Israel; the early Christian Church; and most particularly through Jesus Christ. The scriptures of the Bible are texts of faith, mediating this interaction. Christians have a relationship with the Bible. They study it as Word of God in human words, use it in liturgy and ritual and pray with it as a means of encounter with Jesus Christ (link to Prayer, Liturgy and Sacrament). Texts of other traditions are appreciated in the light of the relationship that Christians have with the Bible (link to God, Religion and Life). Teachers facilitate dialogue at the intersection of student experiences of, and questions about, their stories and encounter with the Word. This content area grapples with the questions, “How can I know God? What does God ask of me?”

 

Discussion questions

How do we know God in this community? Who is Jesus for me? What does Jesus Christ tell us about God?

What does God ask of us as a school community? What does this mean for students? What does this ask of me?

 

Church and Community

Church is the community of Jesus’ disciples, united in and through the Word of God (link to Scripture and Jesus). The Word of God continues to be encountered and lived out in the Church through: communicating beliefs; ritual celebration; ministries of service both within and outside of Church community (link to Prayer, Liturgy and Sacrament). This is the mission of the Church: to build up the common life of believers and to reach out in dialogue and shared action for the common good and the unity of the human race (see God, Religion and Life). Each generation of the Church discerns the message of the Word of God for the current context (link to Morality and Justice). Teachers facilitate dialogue at the intersection of student experiences of, and questions about, belonging, and the Church’s call to participate in the Body of Christ.  This content area grapples with the questions, “Where do I belong? How can I make a difference?”

 

Discussion questions

Why is it important for me to belong? How do we invite all to belong in this community and the community of the Church? What empowers me to make a difference? What motivates me to make a difference? How do we ensure students are empowered and motivated to make a difference in this community? What does this mean for students? What does this ask of me?

 

God, Religion and Life

Human beings seek meaning, value, and happiness in life, both individually and in relationships with others. Many religious traditions propose that this search is met and responded to by a transcendent power. From this encounter with the transcendent come worldviews, rituals and ethical norms that characterise a religious tradition (link to Prayer, Liturgy and Sacrament). Christians recognise this transcendent other in the relational Trinitarian God (link to Scripture and Jesus) who is both the source and fulfilment of the human quest for unity; truth; beauty and goodness (link to Morality and Justice). Teachers facilitate dialogue at the intersection of student experiences of, and questions about, human flourishing, and the Church’s call to find meaning and purpose in God. This content area grapples with the questions, “What is life? How do I find meaning?”

 

Discussion questions

How do I find meaning and purpose in life? How might I encounter God in this search?

How is this community a place of encounter? What does this mean for students? What does this ask of me?

 

Prayer, Liturgy and Sacrament

Public rituals and personal prayer practices are central to many religious traditions, which serve to express the human quest for spiritual union (link to God, Religion and Life). Catholics understand sacraments as the mediation of the extraordinary through the ordinary, of the supernatural through the natural, where the sacred is encountered in the everyday. Prayer, liturgy and sacraments are vital ways that the Church community meets, interacts with and responds to the Word of God. As the source and summit of the seven sacraments, participating in the Eucharist leads members deeper into the communal life of the Church and the mystery of Christ’s life, death and resurrection, providing nourishment for Christian living (link to Scripture and Jesus). Prayer and sacraments promote an inner personal response and a commitment to the Church’s mission to the world (link to Church and Community). Teachers facilitate dialogue at the intersection of student experiences of, and questions about, trust and mystery, and the Church’s call to nurture a trusting relationship with God through prayer. This content area grapples with the questions, “Where is God? In whom do I trust?”

 

Discussion questions

How do I express or experience connection to God? What or who do I trust and why?

How does this community build trusting relationships with each other and with God? What does this mean for students? What does this ask of me?

 

Morality and Justice

In the light of the scriptures, the human person is understood to be created ‘in the image and likeness of God’ and called into a new existence through Christ (link to Jesus and Scripture). This call gives rise to the unique freedom, dignity, and responsibility of humans. It requires a process of moral discernment that holds together our nature as humans and the Christian vision of freedom and dignity in all areas of life: personal and relational integrity, economic and political participation, technological and ecological responsibility. Christians cooperate with all people to foster human flourishing, right relationship and the common good (link to God, Religion and Life). They propose to all people the vision of life in the Kingdom of God described in the gospels (link to Church and Community). Teachers facilitate dialogue at the intersection of student experiences of, and questions about, responsibility, and the Church’s call to be Christ for the other. This content area grapples with the questions, “Who calls me? How must I respond?”

 

Discussion questions

What call do I hear? How do I discern my response? How does this community foster right relationship with others, with creation?

What does this mean for students? What does this ask of me?