What can SRE contribute to a teenager"s education?

Professor Brian V. Hill (Emeritus Professor of Education, Murdoch University) makes the following points:

1. Appreciating our cultural heritage

There is a need for students to grasp the part religion has played in their cultural heritage. There has " been a serious failure, particularly in the history curriculum, to acknowledge the Christian influence in our past " both for good and ill.

2. Understanding present pluralism

While it is academically dishonest for an Australian school not to give Christianity detailed exposure in the secular curriculum, it would be equally dishonest to ignore the pluralism of beliefs and values which now characterises our society. This requires that any honest form of SRE will give some attention, not only to Christianity, but to other religious frameworks of meaning presently impacting on our cultural life.

3. Contributing to values education

The upsurge of interest in values education " involves not only reference to particular values that are highly regarded in our culture, but also reference to the belief systems that motivate them. That is where SRE most directly contributes to values education.

4. Contextualising spirituality

There is a lot of muddy thinking in current references to "spirituality." Many educators are uncritically endorsing New Age interpretations without making available the more matured insights of the great religious traditions, especially the Christian world-view. SRE is the appropriate place to directly explore the spiritual nature of human beings.

5. Integrating personal identity

School curricula today are being heavily influenced by economic rationalism, as seen in a strong focus on a wide range of facts and skills, to the detriment of studies that see the student as a whole person trying to get it all together. Children are not just empty jugs to be filled, or animal pets to be conditioned, but conscious selves with a growing ability to choose. Christian theology resists social determinism"

" Experience and education lead us constantly to modify our personal frameworks of meaning. As well as schooling, a lot depends on parental nurture and peer group pressures, the commercial media, and so on.

But " we are not just passive recipients. We have an innate capacity to process what comes in. Everyone does it, and everyone has a unique framework of meaning.

Taken from a keynote address by Professor Brian V. Hill October 2005 at Secet Conference.