Model for Religious Education

Since 2008, the distinct and complementary nature of both dimensions of Religious Education has been​ conceptualised in the following Model for Religious Education.

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In the schools and colleges of the Archdiocese of Brisbane, teaching people religion and teaching people to be religious draw upon the Catholic Christian tradition in ways that are mindful of local contexts and the ecumenical and multi-faith realities of contemporary culture.

School communities seek to understand and utilise the distinctiveness and complementarity of these two dimensions of Religious Education in the holistic education and the formation of students. School programs, activities and experiences for the classroom learning and teaching of religion and the religious life of the school are responsive to religious diversity, while being faithful to the Catholic Christian identity of the school.

The fullness of the Vision for Religious Education is realised through the intersection of both dimensions. For example, participation in service learning activities without a deep understanding of the related Catholic social teachings does not effectively enable the fulfilment of the Vision for Religious Education. Classroom learning and teaching about Catholic social teachings without active participation in, and critical reflection on, social justice initiatives and service learning activities is similarly limited in its effectiveness. Engagement in both dimensions is needed.

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Recognising the complementarity of both dimensions requires clarity about the distinctiveness and at times sharply contrasting nature of these dimensions. As Moran (1991) observes:

Religious education requires that those of us who appropriate the term “teacher” know which of the two processes we are engaged in at a particular time and place. The tragedy would be that, for lack of clarity about this distinction, institutions end up doing neither: their academic inquiry is not challenging enough and their formation is not particular enough. Endless talk about Christianity is not religious education. What deserves that title is teaching people religion with all the breadth and depth of intellectual excitement one is capable of - and teaching people to be religious with all the particularity of the verbal and nonverbal symbols that place us on the way (p.256).

In summary, the Vision for Religious Education and the Model for Religious Education take a big picture view; for while both take place within the physical and temporal context of a Catholic or ecumenical school, they presuppose a broader context and length of time not available to a school: a whole lifetime.​​