Religious Education

Why do we teach Religious Studies?

  • Approximately 95% of the population of the world have some belief
  • There are about 1 billion Catholics in the world
  • There are about 1 billion Muslims in the world
  • The history of the world over the past 5000 years has been so affected by religion that it is impossible to fully understand history without having knowledge of different religions
  • There are many countries today where religion and politics cannot be untangled
  • Different opinions on current issues today, such as abortion, euthanasia, genetic engineering and cloning, arise due to different ethical viewpoints.
  • When students leave school and travel they are obliged to be tolerant towards other religions and cultures. They therefore need an understanding of them
  • We are a Catholic school

So the question should be: Why wouldn't we teach Religious Studies?

Because we are a Catholic school, the Catholic ethos is present in everything we teach. Our teaching staff are some of the most qualified and experienced teachers of Religious Education in the state, and 2006 proved the dedication and hard work of both them and the students when St Brendan-Shaw College students received some of the highest marks in the state for Religion and Philosophy at pre-tertiary level.

All students in Years 7 to 10 participate in the College's Liturgical life, Reflection Day program, and complete a course of Religious Studies as summarised below:

Year 7 Religious Studies

  • What is Religion?
  • Founders
  • God
  • Jesus Christ
  • The Bible
  • Morals and Ethics
  • Catholicism

Year 8 Religious Studies

  • The Big Myth (Creation and our responsibility towards it)
  • Little Lies: Big Effects (Choices and their consequences)
  • Destination: Israel 30 CE (The setting of Jesus' life)
  • Believe It or Not (Religions, and in particular Christianity, in Australia)

Year 9 Values and Traditions in Society

  • On a Journey (Pilgrimage)
  • Sabbath and Synagogue (Judaism)
  • the Big Question (Elements of Religion)
  • Value Added Life (Values)

Year 10 Religion and Philosophy

  • Mark's Gospel
  • Islam
  • Social Justice
  • Morality and Current ethical issues

In Years 9 and 10 students also have the option of participating in Philosophy and Ethics, a subject that looks at different ways of thinking and how that can affect decisions, and Social Justice in Society which provides students with opportunities to investigate the causes of social injustice and provides them with possible solutions to it.

In Years 11 and 12, all Senior Secondary students also participate in the Religious Education curriculum at St Brendan-Shaw College. This programme includes TQA courses, the Year 11 Leadership Camp (Tir na nOg) and the Year 12 Retreat. Opportunities for participation in Liturgy and Pastoral Outreach initiatives are also provided.

In the classroom students elect to study either a pre-Tertiary C course (Religion and Philosophy 5C) or a non pre-Tertiary C course (Religion and Philosophy 2-4C). Both are offered over the two years of senior secondary schooling. This means that half of the subject is taught in Year 11, with the remainder being covered in Year 12. Students receive an award in their chosen subject at the end of Year 12. In each case multiple syllabuses are available, however only Religion and Philosophy 5C provides input to a Tertiary Entrance (TE) score.

A more focused version of the Religion and Philosophy 2-4C course is Youth Ministry and Spirituality, which specifically looks at teaching senior students to become youth ministers in their own right. The course covers the definition of Youth Ministry, growth in spirituality and Youth Ministry Outreach where students participate in events like Reflection Days.

These TQA subjects open a window into different ways to view the world. They help students to appreciate the diversity and richness of life, and help them to develop their own capacity for ethical decision making. Such skills and insights will prove invaluable for students pursuing a range of careers, as well as nourishing their own personal and spiritual development.

The Year 11 Leadership Camp and Year 12 Retreat are excellent opportunities for students to explore issues in an informal and relaxed atmosphere away from the school. They are traditionally well received, especially the three day residential Retreat which is a highlight of the students' lives at St Brendan-Shaw College.

Every staff member takes responsibility for the ethical formation of students in a Catholic school, either indirectly in their every-day dealings with them, or more directly in the classroom. To critically examine what some media portrays as the norm of social behaviour is not an easy task, but is of great import. Thankfully, the importance of such a responsibility is recognised by all staff at St Brendan-Shaw College, and they are affirmed in the work that they do.

Mr Kamil Douglas
Coordinator of Religious Education and Faith Development