Religious Education

 

Head of Faculty

Mrs Tricia Parry

  • Studies of Religion
  • Religion & Ethics
  • Religious Education

Religious Education - Education Philosophy

The Religious Education curriculum at St James College is shaped by an inclusive interfaith educational philosophy which respects students’ freedom of beliefs in religious matters, encourages critical thinking in the classroom whilst nesting our curriculum in the Catholic Faith.  The faith formation or evangelisation of students is therefore not an explicit objective of the classroom teaching of Religious Education at this college although prayer, ritual, social justice and other related issues are taught ensuring that the Catholic values of these are included within our teaching.  This philosophy accords with the distinction Brisbane Catholic Education makes between the objectives of Religious literacy and the community’s potential faith formation of students and evangelisation of the Gospel in school liturgies, reflection days, service-learning programs and other wider school activities.
 
“Since the beginning of time God has been present.  This presence was expressed poetically in the biblical creation stories and can be found in humanity’s modern understanding of the value of creation and responsibility to live in respectful harmony with the earth.  (Charter for Catholic Schools in the Edmund Rice Tradition Aug 22nd 2011).
 
In August 2011 the Charter for Catholic Schools in the Edmund Rice Tradition was launched. St James College, a school in the Edmund Rice Tradition shares a commitment to the Charter which describes our aspirations and sets a foundation for all decision and policy making. All schools in the Edmund Rice Tradition are called to show how these touchstones are a living reality in our community and across our network of schools. The four Touchstones as expressed in this Charter, underpin the Religious Education Programs within St James College – Liberating Education; Gospel Spirituality; Inclusive Community and Justice and Solidarity.
 
Religious Education is a fundamental component of the curriculum within the college and is undertaken by every student. It provides a richness of learning opportunities for all students and covers a broad range of educational opportunities, units and learning experiences. The Religious Education Program is a diverse, challenging and engaging educational program which has a strong focus on spiritual and justice endeavours whilst covering the mandatory strands of the course as required by the Brisbane Catholic Archdiocese.
 
The New Religion Curriculum for the Archdiocese of Brisbane is currently being written and implemented by the Religious Education Team. All schools are required to implement the New Religion Curriculum. In all schools of the Archdiocese of Brisbane the classroom learning and teaching of Religion aims to develop the religious literacy of students to enable them to participate critically and effectively in the life of their faith communities and the wider society. The course is organised across strands of learning which are the groupings of the content and outcomes for Religious Education are as follows:
 

Strands of the Key Learning Area

The Scripture strand is concerned with making meaning of scriptural texts, understanding scripture contextually and interpreting it critically.
 
The Beliefs strand is concerned with Christian beliefs and Church teachings and how these are related to understandings of God, Jesus and Church practice.
The Celebration and Prayer strand is concerned with sacraments of the Church, prayer, ritual and spirituality and how these are expressed in church and other contexts.
 
The Morality strand is concerned with the foundations of Christian morality, the factors that shape moral living and the expression of morality through action for justice.
 
As a Catholic School in the Edmund Rice tradition we are called and committed to fulfil the Brisbane Catholic Archdiocesan vision of Jesus, Communion and Vision to inform all students about the key beliefs and practices, and tradition and history of Catholicism in pedagogically diverse and interesting ways from years 8 to 12.  Moreover, as expressed in the Charter for Catholic Schools in the Edmund Rice Tradition we are called to teach Religious Education as an essential part of a truly holistic education.  Religious Education meshes with the Religious and Faith Life of the School. The Charter states this through the four Touchstones and their many expressions, the four Touchstones being:
 
Liberating Education:  We open hearts and minds, through quality teaching and learning experiences, so that through critical reflection and engagement each person is hope-filled and free to build a better world for all.
 
Inclusive Education:  Our community accepting and welcoming, fostering right relationships and committed to the common good.
 
Gospel Spirituality:  We invite all people into the story of Jesus and strive to make his message of compassion, justice and peace a living reality within our community.
 
Justice and Solidarity: We are committed to justice and peace for all, grounded in a spirituality of action and reflection that calls us to stand in solidarity with those who are marginalised and the Earth itself.
 
Provides religious education in line with the Diocesan guidelines and faith formation experiences as fundamental components of a Catholic School curriculum.  (Expression 5 of Gospel Spirituality). 
 
Works in collaboration and partnership with the local church.  (Expression 5 of Inclusive Community).
 
Acknowledges the service and contribution of the Christian Brothers and welcomes them into the life of the school.  (Expression 6 of Inclusive Community). 
 
Recognises the traditional ownership and cultural heritage of Indigenous peoples of Australia, and welcomes them into its community (Expression 8 of Inclusive Community).
 
Adopts prophetic stances in the light of Gospel values and is involved in advocacy for just causes. (Expression 2 of Justice and Solidarity).
 
Encourages all members of the school community to work to the best of their ability, to realise their potential and to strive for equity and excellence.  (Expression 1 of Liberating Education). 
 
Serves the needs of each person providing teaching and learning experiences that are authentic, relevant, dynamic and creative. (Expression 2 of Liberating Education).
 
Provides a holistic education integrating faith with culture and learning while giving an appreciation of the need to strive for the greater good of all society.  (Expression 4 of Liberating Education).
 
Enable students to experience and value a critical awareness of justice and peace issues through the curriculum service and solidarity learning, environmental practices and the culture of the school.  (Expression 7 of Liberating Education).
 
Lives and grows as a faith-sharing community by fostering a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  (Expression 1 of Gospel Spirituality). 
 
Celebrates as a Eucharistic community, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  (Expression 2 of Gospel Spirituality).
 
Nurtures and encourages the spiritual growth of each person through reflection, prayer, symbols, sacred stories and rituals.  (Expression 3 of Gospel Spirituality).   
 
Religious Education makes an important contribution in developing a curriculum that integrates themes of justice and peace, underpinned by Catholic Social Teaching.  (Expression 1 of Justice and Solidarity).  
 
Religious Education is a unique area of study which provides students the opportunity to develop religious literacy across a broad range of areas whilst learning about the Catholic faith and critically reflecting on their own and other peoples’ beliefs and practices through diverse educational experiences. It is hoped that through practical learning opportunities, including appropriate excursions that students will be given the opportunity to explore their faith through a range of ways. The inclusion of students within Service Learning opportunities within the college is also explored and encouraged. The Religious Education Program at St James College is nested in the policy documents as mandated by the Brisbane Catholic Archdiocese as stated:
 
Develop students’ religious literacy in the light of the Catholic tradition, so that they may participate critically and effectively in the life of their faith communities and wider society (BCE, A Syllabus for Religious Education for Catholic Schools, 1997, p.18).
 
This program also aims to develop students’ religious literacy in light of the development of the new Brisbane Archdiocese Religious Education P – 12 curriculum.  Some of those perspectives which are particularly relevant to our ethos and diverse student cohort are ‘Mission & Justice’, ‘Ecumenism’ and ‘Multiculturalism’.  It is therefore hoped that students of St James will be enabled to participate critically and effectively in the faith life of our school, communities – if relevant – and Australian society. 
 
Other aims identified in the school’s RE work program include the following.
  • Comprehension of the breadth, richness and diversity of the Catholic tradition across history, which in turn enables students to make choices regarding their religious beliefs and membership of faith communities.
  • Develop young people who can affirm their lives and futures with hope, optimism and a degree of certainty in terms of life’s ultimate questions.
  • Provide students with the tools and courage to critique their culture and society in light of different spiritualties and religious perspectives.
  • Inspire students to contribute to the growth of respect for difference, acceptance of diversity, valuing the dignity of the individual and the building up of right relationships.
  • Encourage students to appreciate the value of a ‘religious’ view of reality.
  • Engage students in selected units of Personal Development Education to broaden education and teach vital skills in this area.
 

Retreat and Reflection Programs

The College commences each school year with the St James College Inaugural Mass. It also provides various retreat and reflection opportunities for staff and students. The college is engaged in regular prayer and liturgy experiences for all members of the community.  Some of these programs are:

 

Year 7

  • Initiation into St James College and Faith Formation
  • Camp Retreat and Reflection Evenings

Year 8

  • Initiation into St James College and Faith Formation
  • Camp Retreat and Reflection Evenings

Year 9

  • Camp Retreat and Reflection Evenings – Recognition of others in Need
  • Reflection Day – Resilience and Self Esteem

Year 10

  • Reflection Day – Knowing Self and Others

Year 11

  • Formation Day – Reconciliation
  • Leadership and Reflection Day – Spiritual Formation

Year 12

  • Formation Day – Leadership and Forgiveness
  • Rite of Passage Retreat Evening
  • Graduation Mass