"Knowing about religion/s - Developing spirituality - Learning to live in fulfilling relationships" is the motto of the new curricula for QTS RE (Catholic) primary and secondary school.
The new courses provide the chance to gain profound insight into Christian beliefs and the cultural importance of Christianity for Europe. Dealing with values and traditions of other religions helps students to gain competences for interreligious dialogue. The new courses focus on linking essential theological knowledge to RE pedagogy and methodology. In keeping with spiritual Christian traditions and a pedagogy of care and attentiveness, the new RE courses open up the chance to practise down-to-earth and liberal forms of spiritual bonds conducive to enhancing respect for all things living.
Our world is only seemingly non-religious. Christianity has crucially shaped European culture. Also, modern ideas, such as tolerance, non-violence, democracy, freedom, equality and brother/sisterliness of all people stem from this spiritual seedbed. Jewish-Christian images, such the victory of feeble David over muscle-packed Goliath, are striking symbols; they are also reflected in non-religious art. Hope for redemption of the suffering, for ultimate justice and forgiveness, for a meaning of life, originated in the Christian sphere. In our globalised world, we are encouraged to take just as seriously the values and images originating in Islam, Jewry, Buddhism, Hinduism and other traditions, and to learn about them. This will be of vital importance in future with a view to delivering life-enhancing lessons for children and young people and the implementation of basic human values.
Man does not live by bread alone, nor by his/her bank account. More and more people have become aware that out-and-out materialism, accumulating more and more possessions, will not really satisfy people’s spiritual hunger, and it will ultimately destroy the environment. The desire for spirituality, for deeper insights, for true and authentic life is growing. In our course, the focus is on the search for sound and sustaining spiritual paths. We explore personal questions about the meaning of life, about what happens after death, about our relationships with one another and with the divine. This search is based on biblical and theological approaches. Together, we will try to find ways of fostering spirituality in children and young people in such a manner that it can serve as a fountain of life for both teachers and pupils.
We long for close and fulfilling human relationships. However, life also confronts us with challenges and conflicts that can defeat us. Our course focuses questions about the role of communication in a rewarding and happy life together: turning ME and YOU into US in a warm and lasting relationship. What is at issue is a sense of responsibility guiding our activities, a critical analysis of power structures in society, ethics, peace, justice and the conservation of the creation. An ethics-guided life in a close and rewarding relationship will lead to personal happiness. We can realise it by simultaneously caring for ourselves, for our fellow beings – in the final resort for the whole of mankind – and for the creation, and it can be found in the spiritual link to the divine.
Being an RE teacher is the ideal career for me, linking theological insight and pedagogical sensitivity and creativity.
To me, being an RE teacher also means following a calling to transmit personal approaches to faith in everyday life, and to endeavour to realise them in the RE classroom. - Elisabeth Schwaiger