DAN was delighted to hear about the “Sharing the Good Work” Conference hosted by St Paul’s School on Wednesday 5 November. The day provided an opportunity for Religious Educators to come together and share examples of great work happening across many different Anglican Schools in Brisbane.
Dr Greg Jenks (Academic Dean at St Francis Theological College and former Co-ordinator of Spiritual Development at Forest Lake College) presented the Keynote Address on The Fourth R*: Religious Literacy as a Community Good.
Several schools then showcased their ‘best practice’ in units, including:
- Liberation Theology by Jon Cornish (CE Coordinator at St Paul’s School)
- Service Learning by Mari Vine (Mt Alvernia College)
- Narratives in RE, by Elroy Mee (Chaplain at Canterbury College)
- Teaching the new QSA RE Syllabus in an Anglican Context by Andrew Cooper (Head of RE at St Aidan’s) and Trevor Collie (Head of RE at Forest Lake College)
- Resourcing RE for Middle School at Churchie by Sarah Leisemann (Chaplain) and Scott Huntington (Head of RE at Anglican Church Grammar School)
We hope to make each of the units of work presented at the Conference available for all DAN members (thanks to Conference Convenors Susan Werba and Jon Cornish for their assistance thus far).
This model of “sharing the good work” is one of the aims of the Dialogue Australasia Network. In 2009 we plan to convene similar meetings of RE teachers in all States to share ideas and resources. A group of RE teachers in Adelaide have begun meeting together (for more information contact Terry McDevitt at Westminster School), and no doubt other groups are doing similarly. If you would be interested in hosting such a meeting in your State in 2009, or would be open to sharing rigourous and relevant resources from your school, the DAN EO would be delighted to hear from you.
Excerpt from Keynote Address by Dr Greg Jenks, The Fourth R*: Religious Literacy as a Community Good.
We have much to learn and much to gain as we pursue the goal of a society whose citizens have the capacity to access and critique the religious traditions that we have inherited…
Like other forms of “literacy,” religious literacy is a life skill essential for success.
Religious literacy is not about being correct—or even religious. It does not ensure that we will always draw the right conclusions. But it is about being well informed: including a capacity to locate relevant information and employ it appropriately.
In one sense, religious literacy is a shorthand way to describe our aspirations to be
well informed in matters of religion. However, it goes beyond “information” to
include “competence” in forming our religious values and acting upon them.
In addition to content and skills, religious literacy has an affective dimension. It is
about attitudes as much as anything else.
This gets us close to the heart of the matter. Many members of our scoiety – including many active church members – are functionally illiterate in religion. Such people may lack the information element (being unaware of a great body of scholarship that is relevant to their faith) and/or they may lack the skills to evaluate and manipulate – in the best sense of the term – the religious knowledge they do possess and/or they may have an attitude problem when it comes to religious matters.
And those who consider themselves non-religious – the fastest growing religious option in many western societies – are often unaware that many popular stereotypes are not well grounded in the religious traditions they no longer find persuasive.
Greg then questioned what Year 12 graduates would be like, so far as their religious education is concerned, if we succeeded in developing their religious literacy to a reasonable level of competence?
Read the framework of outcomes Greg suggests, and his entire keynote address here…