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Meeting the challenges of teaching in a regional diocese

3 April 2017 | General Interest

Participants at the BBI-TAITE National Symposium on Religious Education in July will benefit from unique insights gained by two experienced curriculum policy planners who will deliver a workshop presentation on teaching RE in rural and remote dioceses.

Ms Gail Davis and Ms Di-Anne Rowan are both members of the leadership team with the Catholic Education Office in the Diocese of Rockhampton and have had extensive experience in teaching and executive roles in Catholic schools in regional Australia.

They have both been at the forefront of planning a Religious Education curriculum that is both relevant and engaging for students living in rural Australia and will present a workshop at the National Symposium on Religious Education, being hosted by BBI-The Australian Institute of Theological Education on 27 and 28 July in Sydney.

Di-Anne-Rowan_150x160“Our experiences of Church are quite different to that faced by students and teachers in Catholic schools in more urban settings”, explained Ms Rowan in her role as Assistant Director: Mission in the north Queensland Diocese.

“At the parish level, we have a dramatic shortage of priests who then often have to travel vast distances to celebrate Mass and so in some of our churches, Mass may only be celebrated on a monthly basis”, she adds.

“In our schools too, many of our secondary teachers don’t necessarily hold qualifications in religious education which can present some more challenges as well.”

Gail DavisTeaching and Learning Religion Consultant in the Diocese of Rockhampton Ms Gail Davis believes it is therefore critical to ensure that curriculum planners accommodate the needs of RE teachers from diverse backgrounds.

”That is why the upcoming Religious Education Symposium is so important in the current climate, where Catholic schools are having to meet the challenges posed by an increasingly secular society”, Ms Davis explained.

“In our diocese, this has led to a much greater emphasis upon consultation and collaboration within our school communities, so that we read the signs of the times and adapt the curriculum to meet those contemporary challenges”.



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