SRE in depth
Youthworks has developed a new curriculum for Special Religious Education (SRE), with the high school component due to be rolled out in Term 1 this year.
“We’ve been looking mostly at years 7-10 in terms of curriculum and associated resources, but we’ve done work across the Kindergarten to Year 12 curriculum,” says Youthworks’ director of curriculum and teacher quality, Dr Kaye Chalwell. “When we look at a program like SRE, we want to make sure that we provide resources that support quality teaching and learning in the classroom.”
One of the key aspects of the new curriculum is that it attempts to bridge the gap between primary and secondary learning.
“A curriculum that is intentionally designed with the needs of different students in different contexts is important in SRE,” Dr Chalwell says.
“The other key things to look at with this kind of process are the educational philosophy at work, the theology being expressed, and the variety of people who will be using the resources and how the curriculum can support them. We also have to be aware of the world we live in, its attitude to the things of Christ, and how we can be appropriate in the classroom in that environment as well.”
Dr Chalwell says that because SRE provides the opportunity to teach the beliefs and tenets of the Christian faith it is very important that the Bible is the foundation text. The review has identified the value of having a “spiral” curriculum, where concepts and ideas are revisited as a student grows older, but with more detail and in a wider context.
“A lot of students might say ‘Oh, I’ve heard this story before – it’s all been done’,” Dr Chalwell says. “Of course, it hasn’t. What they mean is that they’ve heard the content of the story before, but what they haven’t done is unpack the story, what it means about how we live, and how to think deeply about what it means for them at an age appropriate level.”
Resources accompanying the curriculum are designed to give clear guidance to teachers about what should be taught, but will allow flexibility depending on student needs and interests and the teaching environment. Resources for the years 7-10 curriculum are available online this month and through CEP subscription, and Youthworks is seeking to provide optional training to teachers in the new curriculum.
Pictured: Youthworks staff and SRE teachers together plan the new curriculum