Ideas Underlying the Religious Education Curriculum

nominateThis is another excerpt from the Secondary Religious Education Curriculum Policy Document 2016  from the Institute for Catholic Education.

Five Big Ideas

All courses in Religious Education are characterized by the following five big ideas:

  1. Religious Knowledge and Literacy includes teaching, understanding and using appropriately the language of the faith and Tradition.

Growing in Faith Knowledge

– religious literacy starts with Scripture (and the key stories), creed, the Tradition, facts, terms, and definitions

– an interpretation of Scripture with an emphasis on exegesis that is consistent with Catholic teaching

Understanding the Faith

– comprehending literary forms, genres, authors and audience, critical approaches to reading and understanding Scripture (contextual approach)

– students are expected to communicate questions, observations and understanding, both orally and in written work

  1. Catholic-Christian Anthropology includes the understanding of the Catholic Tradition regarding what it means to be human/a person

What Does it Mean to be Human/a person?

– to be uniquely human/a person means to be created in the image and likeness of our Triune God, to respect the inherent dignity of the human body, to know we are spiritual beings; relational/social beings; emotional beings; moral beings; and intellectual beings

Who Are We in the Eyes of the Creator?

– we are people of the Covenant, which means we are in relationship with God and consequently there are responsibilities in that relationship (stewardship, love of God, love of neighbour)

– our call to holiness and our destiny is to return to God and be united with God eternally in heaven

  1. Theological Reflection includes the Christian/human search for meaning and understanding of life in the context of our relationship with God

Developing Critical-Thinking Skills

– theological reflection includes skills such as identifying questions, making connections, analyzing, evaluating, applying information, and making reasonable judgments and decisions in the complementarity of fides et ratio (faith and reason)

Critical Analysis of Our Culture

– we are shaped by our culture (family, the secular, community, school, media, technology, etc.)

– our students need to be able to critically reflect on our culture through the lens of the Gospel message

– students need to be able to express their faith after they have critically reflected upon the connections they make between the truths of our faith (Scripture, the Tradition) and their experiences

  1. Living Moral Lives includes developing one’s conscience in order that sound moral choices and judgments in both the personal and social spheres of life can be made

Being Disciples of Jesus Living in the World

– express in word and action Gospel values and Christian virtues

– evangelizing as missionary disciples (Evangelii Gaudiem)

Catholic Social Teachings

– at the heart of Catholic social teaching is the dignity of the human person, which is the foundation for all moral decision making

Transformation and Service (from head à _heart à _hands)

– in Transformation, the components of critical thinking, exercising free will, conscience formation, and decision-making lead to interior conversion which causes one to do more than just reflect on what needs to be done

– it encourages one to ACT to do good in service to others to bring about the Reign of God

– critical thinking and analytical skills assist in the efforts to integrate a Catholic worldview into decisions concerning moral issues

  1. Celebrating in the Faith Community includes the various ways the Church expresses its faith in worship and prayer, primarily to the actions that demonstrate thankful awareness of God’s presence in the world

Living in Christ-Filled Hope

– to have students understand their call to ACT for the good

– makes increasingly present the Reign of Heaven on earth, which will be fulfilled in eternal life with God

Sacramental Living

– the Sacraments are encounters which allow us to experience the presence and action of God
– the gift of grace is made available to us through the Sacraments
– in particular, Eucharist is the Sacrament of Christian hope, as it brings us together as one body to the table of thanksgiving, a foretaste of the heavenly banquet to which all are invited

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