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Leaving Certificate Religious Education SyllabusR.E.: A Curriculum Frameworkfor Senior CycleThe Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference (2006)
Guidelines for the faith formation and development of catholic students
The document is divided into two sections:Leaving Certificate Religious Education Syllabus (Page 7 – 18)Religious Education: A Curriculum Framework for Senior Cycle (Page 20 – 38)
Contents
This introduction provides a useful overview of the document.However, it is also a helpful reference with regard to providing a concise overview of the impact that can be made when positive, consistent R.E. programmes are in place and delivered by those who are conscious of the need for catechesis to underpin every topic/module explored.It says of the Leaving Certificate Syllabus: “… it offers young people the language to engage in open dialogue with others of their own faith, with people of different faiths and with those who propose a non-religious worldview. The syllabus also contributes to the spiritual and moral development of the student…”
Page 7: Leaving Certificate Religious Education syllabus introduction
“The general aim of Religious Education is to awaken people to faith and to help them throughout their lives to deepen and strengthen that faith…”“The personal faith of young people is nourished when they are offered the opportunity to engage with questions of meaning and to explore a variety of responses to these questions. By deepening their knowledge of the faith, an opportunity is provided for them to explain their faith to others”“… they discover the ‘social consequences of the demands of the Gospel’, which is the climax of … moral teaching”[Through Prayer, students] … “discover the action of God in their lives. Prayer is the living relationship between God and humanity; it is… a response of love to the Son of God”
Page 7: Introduction contd.
Again, it is highlighted that there is agreat needfor links to be established between home, school and parish in leading young people towards mature faith.It highlights the need for R.E. to be delivered by qualified teachers, committed to their faith.R.E. needs whole schools support, the DA plays a key role here in supporting R.E. teachers and school management.See point 4: The role of the School Chaplain; what a wonderful description of the Chaplain’s role and what a pity that many schools do not have a chaplain on staff!Reference is made to the need for good quality teaching and learning resources.
Page 8: SupportingFaith formation in R.E.
In the written paper(worth 80%) thereare three units:Unit1: SectionA: The Search for Meaning and Value(Compulsory)Unit 2: Section B: Christianity, Section C: World Religions, Section D: Moral Decision Making(Choose any 2)Unit 3: Section E: Religion and Gender,SectionF: Issues of Justice and PeaceSectionG: Worship, Prayer and RitualSectionH: The Bible: Literature and Sacred TextSectionI: The Irish ExperienceSectionJ: Religion and Science(Choose 1)So, for example:You could choose to cover SectionA,SectionB, Section D and Section GorIdependingon coursework(worth 20%) titles
Leaving certificate Syllabus:Let’s take a look
‘The human person’s openness to truth and beauty,senseof moral goodness, freedom, conscience and longings for the infinite and for happiness, provokes questions about God’s existence’ (CCC 33)This section allows students to examine the role of religion in the secular worldThe history of Philosophy is an important reminder that the issues surrounding religious belief are ones that define human nature.The core issue of the objectivity of values such as justice, goodness, truth and love.The manner in which Christianity can be understood as a response to foundational questions.
Page 9: A – The search for meaning and values
Students have the opportunity to examine the Christological aspects ofChristianityThis section “opens the student to meeting and knowing the historical Jesus and his message…”It allows students to “develop an appreciation of the early Christian movement and to correlate this with contemporary expressions of Christianity.The adaptability and diversity of the Early Christian communities can be linked to Section A’s Search for MeaningContemporary religious and Christian identity can be examined in light of the founding vision and earliest expression of this.It allows students to recognise the ecumenical hunger that ‘all may be one’ John 17:21
Page 10: B – Christianity: Origins and Contemporary Expressions
“For the Catholic student, an understanding of other religions contributes to a deeper appreciation of what membership of the Christian community offers. It highlights the need for inter-faith dialogue… [as it has been encouraged since] Vatican IITake a look at the section “Inter-faith Aspects for Catholic students” it serves as an excellent guideline for teachers uncertain as to how World Religions can be explored in the classroom.…The effectiveness of religion classes is enhanced when entrusted to those teachers who are committed to the faith, professionally qualified to teach religion, and wiling to do so…
Page 11: c –World religions
“Morality and the Christian tradition involves discipleship – Jesus invites people to follow him rather than an ethical code or vision.”“Following Jesus involves a radical personal conversion (metanoia).”“Christian morality is not only about what we do, but who we are becoming.”The fundamental response to sin in the teachings of Jesus is one of forgiveness.The role of moral teaching in a pluralist society can be explored.“… it is important not to leave students with the impression that all theories are equally valid and that moral decision-making is simply a matter of applying one’s preferred theory.”The lives of St. Thomas More and FranzJaegerstaetterhighlight the conflict that can arise between conscience and civil authority
Page 12: d – Moral Decision-Making
“God transcends the human distinction between the sexes. God is neither male nor female, just God.” CCC 239Jesus gave women a place of prime importance… The Samaritan woman at the well, he raised Lazarus out of his love for Mary and Martha, he revealed himself risen from the dead to Mary Magdalene“God entered the womb of a woman for the salvation of humankind (Luke 1:30-31) Mary gives men and women an understanding of what it means to be a Christian disciple [by saying ‘Yes’ to God’s call.]”“The baptised share in the priesthood of Christ. The roles of both lay and ordained ministries are important to the life of the Church by contributing to the Reign/Kingdom of God.”
Page 13: E – Religion and Gender
“To identify and analyse the links between religious belief and commitment, and action for justice and peace.”“To explore the relationship between the concepts of justice and peace and the challenge to sustain this relationship, [in the Irish context for example]”Liberation Theology and Environmentalism feature here alsoImportant to keep in mind that… “no particular worldview can be seen as the cause of all wrongs in society… it is difficult to read the Bible as a means of justifying any particular set of political convictions…”“Students should be helped to develop sensitivity to a variety of perspectives, while also being alert to the risks of relativism and intolerance.”
Section 14: f – issues ofjustice and peace
Highlights the importance of worship and prayer as a response to witnessing the presence of God; links with Section A and BImparts a greater understanding of the rituals that are celebrated at times in our lives where words fail us.Involvement of local Parish links and visiting sites of religious significance is promoted as part of students’ studies.“To develop an awareness of the spiritual dimension of human life.”“To encourage an openness to personal spiritual development.”“Prayer is the living relationship between God and humanity; it is the response of faith to the promise of salvation and a response of love to the Son of God.”“The Eucharist contains and expresses all forms of prayer.”
Page 15: g – worship, prayerand ritual
An ideal section to cover with students who express a love of story, allegory: never underestimate the power of story!“leaves plenty of scope for the teacher to apply the Bible to the religious life and faith experience of the pupils in a way that supports their religious commitment by:… examining “the impact of the Bible on contemporary society”… learning “how the Bible was formed as a text”… exploring “the understanding of the Bible as Word of God and as an expression of the relationship between God and humankind.“In sacred scripture, God speaks to humankind in a human way, the reader must be attentive to the text and context.”“The course as it is outlined should help to give students an appreciation of the profound influence that the Bible has had on religious thought… cultural life down the ages”
Page 16: H – the Bible: Literature and Sacred
“The syllabus is deeply rooted in the cultural heritage of the past and it enables students to appreciate the religious dimensions of that past.”It examines “…the characteristics of religion in Ireland from ancient times to the present day.”Students can “…become aware of the plurality of religious traditions that have existed, and continue to exist, inIreland.”“an awareness of the role of Irish monks on the Continent will remind the student that the Irish have always been part of Europe.”“… brings students face to face with contemporary issues inIrish Christianity… changing pattern of belief…This section reminds students of the variety of viewpoints in Irish society today; promoting the opportunity to engage in ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue.
Page 17: I – Religion: TheIrish experience
“What is most important about the module… is that it offers an opportunity to bring students beyond the standard stereotypes, to enable them to become engaged in this new dialogue, and to discover that faith can be enriched by exchanges between religion and science.”From CSP, Catholic Education at Second-Level (ROI):“In an era often dominated by religious fundamentalism on the one hand and atheistic science on the other: this commitment to a dialogue between faith and reason was rarely more relevant…Faith and reason can thrive in the same person: while one cannot be reduced to the other they both play a dynamic role in forming and educating a mature person. There is no contradiction between being a fully educated person and a committed Christian…”
Page 18: j – religion and science
Page 20 – Partners in education identified:The young people themselvesParents and guardiansThe school managementCatechists and others who teach R.E.The rest of the teaching and ancillary staffThe diocesan advisersThe school chaplain or chaplaincy departmentThe wider community
R.E.: A curriculum Frameworkfor Senior Cycle
Page 21 – 22: Faith formation is nurtured in several ways:
R.E.: A curriculum Frameworkfor Senior Cycle
Page 22 – Supporting Faith Formation in Religious Education:See Notes on Page 8 as this is very similar
R.E.: A curriculum Frameworkfor Senior Cycle
Page 23 – The curriculum framework contains the following sections:Section A: The Search for Meaning (Page 24 – 25)Section B: Christianity(Page 26–27)Section C: Religious faiths inIreland today(Pg28-29)Section D: Morality in Action(Page30–31)Section E: God-Talk(Page32–33)Section F: A Living Faith – Doing Justice(Pg34 – 35)Section G: Celebrating Faith(Page36–37)Section H: Story(Page38–39)
R.E.: A curriculum Frameworkfor Senior Cycle

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Guidelines for the faith formation and development of ...