Details of Thesis

Title The Use of Scripture in the Teaching of Religious Education in Victorian Catholic Secondary Schools
Author Grace, Michael James
Institution Australian Catholic University
Date 2003
Abstract This thesis examines the use of scripture by religious education teachers with their students in Victorian Catholic secondary schools in late 1999.  The aims of the research were: to present a picture of the incorporation of scripture into the religious education program of Victorian Catholic secondary schools in 1999, and in particular the incorporation of the historical-critical method of modern biblical scholarship (focus will also be placed on the purpose for which scripture is used, the extent to which it is used and the methods employed in its use); to investigate how and to what extent VCE Texts  and  Traditions1 Units 1 to 4 have been adopted by senior Victorian Catholic secondary students and its influence on Years Seven to Ten religious education curriculum; and to extend the work of Stead (1996b) into the use of scripture in Victorian Catholic primary schools. This study is built on an understanding of religious education based on an educational rationale, and it examines the use of scripture in the light of modern critical biblical scholarship, particularly the historical-critical method. Religious Education Coordinators from 67 of the 99 Victorian Catholic secondary schools and 61 teachers of Years Seven to Ten religious education in these same schools completed self administering questionnaires in this area. The research demonstrated that while there is an extensive range of good modern biblical scholarship material present in these schools, there is no policy concerning how scripture is to be used in the curriculum, questionable translations of the bible are used, and there is a limited use of many sections of the bible. A key finding of the research is that a thematic, proof-texting use of scripture is prevalent in these schools. This thematic use can lead to a literal, fundamentalist use of scripture within Catholic secondary religious education. This approach is linked with many religious education teachers. predominantly catechetical understanding of the nature of religious education. The self administering questionnaires asked for an indication of the personal practice of respondents in their own religious education classrooms. The data indicated the presence of the historical-critical method in the classrooms of Victorian Catholic secondary schools, however there was an over-reliance on the student text and the predominance of a thematic, literal, non-critical use of scripture. This thesis indicates that this misuse of scripture comes about from teachers. catechetical understanding of the nature of religious education. In particular the study of scripture in Years 11 and 12 is an area of concern. Except for a small percentage of students studying Texts and Traditions (13%), the use of the historical-critical method of biblical studies is almost non-existent.
Thesis 01front.pdf  211Kb
02whole.pdf 1,649Kb

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