I READ with interest the letters of the past weeks regarding the religious education of our children in Catholic schools.
There are a few points I would like to make.
Firstly I would like to comment on the purpose of education generally. Schools prepare us for life.
In the first half of the 1900s what we expected of life was fairly static. Dad had worked all his life in one job, often the same as his father had before him, and young people then expected their lives would be much the same.
Today, as a teacher of 20 years, I am aware that the jobs my students will retire from in their 50s do not exist today. The technology that they will be forced to embrace in their lives has not yet been invented. Students in early primary school may leave school at 18 and go to jobs that have not been ‘invented’ yet.
Relevant learning today is not based on accepting a set of given rules and facts, it is based on evaluation, problem solving, flexibility, etc. We teach them to think for themselves.
These things are vitally important for our young people today. They are skills that they will need to cope with the fast-changing world of the next 50 years.
Secondly, I draw your attention to religious education in particular. When a student comes to the RE class he can not leave his thinking skills by the door.
He can’t blindly accept Church teaching. He is going to question the relevance of this teaching to his life and his situation.
In Catholic education I believe the mistake has been made, that we try to teach religiosity before first supporting and encouraging a real authentic relationship with God.
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