Contemporary academic writing on RE in Catholic secondary schools no longer conceptualises it as the serene passing on of Catholic faith to practicing Catholics (catechesis). The Catholic RE classroom will contain a wide spectrum of practising and non-practising Catholics, pupils of other denominations and religions, and many seekers, doubters and agnostics. So the key is for RE to be truly educational, and to foster the spiritual growth and religious literacy of all pupils. Nonetheless, the faith formation of the next generation of committed Catholics is a reasonable aspiration of RE in the Catholic high school. Promoting spiritual growth in the Catholic tradition while presenting the reasonableness of Catholic faith will be legitimate aims of RE, all the while opening the faith to debate and scrutiny within the educational environment. Such a task takes on a crucial role, given that very possibility of lifelong faith commitment is challenged by the current postmodern, secular environment in which the pupils live, work and study.Read more
Of all the things seven years at the Scots College in Rome taught me, it certainly taught me to think on my feet. In particular, the twin lion’s dens of oral exams and weekly sermon class forced me to express myself succinctly and, I think, to teach under pressure.
Many years later, undergoing studies as a beginning Education lecturer, I was challenged to ask myself: what have been my most formative experiences of teaching and being taught, and how am I incorporating them into my practice? The weekly oral proclamation of the homily in the parish came quickly to the fore. Yet had the Sunday homily been a truly educational endeavour? How do I know that my parishioners learned anything? Was it enough to try to be interesting, erudite, concise? Could I learn from the discipline of teaching? In return could I now allow the craft of preaching to inform and enrich my teaching?Read more