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Religious Education in the Senior Years consists of two courses of study, a school-based Religious Education course and the elective HSC course, Studies of Religion. Religion is an integral part of the human society in every culture. An appreciation of society is enhanced by an understanding of religion, its influence on human behaviour and interaction with culture.
In the school-based course, students explore the big questions of human existence and gain foundational insight into world religions. This enables students to take their place in society as thinking individuals, who can move away from stereotypical views of religion. As part of the 4 the Future Program, students take part in a Wisdom from the Elders Day, where they engage with elderly women from a variety of Uniting Church congregations, who share their stories about their faith journeys and life experiences. Ultimately, this exercise encourages the students to understand that they are part of a Uniting Church community, which is much broader than the school itself.
The school-based course incorporates Personal Development as well as Religious Education. The program encourages students to reflect on how they are developing as people, both individually and as a society. Through exploring questions relating to faith, social justice and relationships, the students are encouraged to establish habits which promote wellbeing. Students engage in a range of body, mind and soul activities such as art-making, meditation, letter-writing, movie critiquing, storytelling and prayer. As a non-academic subject in Years 11–12, Religious Education provides an opportunity for stillness in the busyness of life.
In the HSC Studies of Religion course, students investigate the foundation of religion from a philosophical, sociological and theological perspective, and contemplate the big questions of human existence. The syllabus includes in-depth studies of world religions, their historical roots, beliefs, practices, ethics and the contributions of people of significance.
The syllabus provides a focus on religious expression in Australia and investigates religion’s place within the global community. The impact of religion in Australia is researched and enables students to progress from a broad understanding of religious traditions, to specific studies within these traditions. It also recognises and appreciates the importance of Aboriginal belief systems and spirituality within Australia. A topic of particular relevance is Peace and Religion, which outlines the contributions of people of faith to world peace and also investigates tools for inner peace.
Studies of Religion encourages the development of skills in analysis, independent research, collaboration and effective communication. These skills empower students to become critically reflective, life-long learners.