Essay: Catholic Education in Australian Primary Schools Developing

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Catholic Education in Australian Primary Schools

Developing effective and continually relevant curricula presents a challenge to all educators, administrators, and education officials regardless of subject matter, age level, and group aptitude. The issue of religious education presents some special challenges, however, as fostering an open learning environment where religious doctrines and beliefs can still be taught with a fair degree of certainty can at times appear an impossible attempt at producing incompatible results. Yet through careful planning and a deep understanding of the subject matter to be taught in religious education, this task can be made far simpler. This paper briefly examines ways in which Catholic schoolchildren in Australian primary schools can receive a full and proper religious education that is also incorporates full engagement on the part of the students in the learning process and a true element of self-discovery as well.

The Religious Curriculum in a Catholic School

The primary learning objective of religious education in Catholic schools is to promote the religious literacy of students, allowing them to take part in their communities, both religious and secular, in a manner that is informed with Catholic values and beliefs (Brisbane Catholic Education 2003). This objective is broken down into four areas: Scripture, Beliefs, Celebration and Prayer, and Morality, with the understanding that though each of these areas is highly interrelated they can more easily be studied separately (BCE 2003). This also helps instructors to more easily construct curricula that promote religious literacy.

Established Catholic curricula for primary school education include yearly learning outcomes that further assist instructors in their creation of lesson plans and in developing their modes of instruction. Essentially, these learning outcomes consist of ever greater abilities to observe, retain, and utilize textual information, beginning with the recognition of key figures and events and progressing through the ability to make connections between textual events and issues encountered in the students' own lives (BCE 2003). This eventually culminates in the ability to recognize and classify not only different textual elements, but also different types of religious texts and determining their importance in relation to each other and the wider Catholic and secular worlds (BCE 2003). Essentially, a Catholic curriculum for primary school students leads them from a basic appreciation of religious texts and their stories and lessons to the ability to critically analyze, question, and utilize these texts in ways that inform both their religious thinking and attitudes as… [END OF PREVIEW]

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