Developed by the Faith Formation and Religious Education Committee and endorsed by the Bishops Commission for Catholic Education, the Framing Paper: Religious Education in Australian Catholic Schools aims to give individual dioceses the tools they need to review and evaluate their current religious education curriculum and teaching practices.
The social, educational and church landscapes in our society are undergoing change with more families having little connection to their local church outside school. In addition, there is a diversity of multi-cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.
In an environment of increasing secularisation and pluralisation, the paper highlights the need to ensure modern religious education allows students to expand their spiritual awareness and religious identity. It also aims to foster the ability of students to think critically and to continually seek the truth.
For religious education to be authentic and real in a school community, the paper highlights the need for a focus not only on the content of formal religious education lessons but also on what is lived and witnessed by staff and parents.
Having teachers who are authentic witnesses to the faith and who have a deep understanding of the subject can help make the content of these lessons more engaging and relatable for students.
The paper also invites Catholic schools to evaluate how religious education in the early years of schooling can draw on, engage and encourage a student’s natural sense of wonder and curiosity.
The aim of outlining the principles of effectiveness and quality in the paper is to help the Religious Education and Spirituality Services teams in schools to better assess the current religious education curriculum.
Through a process of constant review and reflection, the paper is aiming to enable schools to make changes to religious education that will ensure students are given every opportunity to develop their knowledge and understanding of Christianity and its unfolding story, while at the same time enabling them to embrace the diversity in our contemporary and global society.