Optimal conditions of learning: Experienced and inexperienced special religion education (SRE) teachers implementing new curriculum material

Year: 1998

Author: Smith-King, Nita, Harrison, Helen, Holliday, Royce

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Experienced (n=6) and inexperienced (n=6) Protestant Special Religion Education (SRE) teachers were interviewed regarding what helped/ hindered their efforts to implement a new SRE program. Interview content was analysed with regard to the five conditions of learning ([S]elf, [P]ersonal Meaning, [A]ction, [C]ollegiality and [E]mpowerment) which Holliday (1994,1996) has identified as necessary for on-going learning in the workplace. Results showed that all five S.P.A.C.E. conditions were present in the responses of both groups generally, although Christian theology impacts on each condition definition for the SRE teacher. Most comments concerned Personal Meaning (29%), Empowerment (28%) and Action (26%). There were far less Collegiality (11%) and Self (5%) comments. Differences were noted between groups in Self (E=74%), Collegiality (E=32%) and Empowerment (E=64%). The differences and similarities have implications for the training and support of both voluntary and professional teachers within the broader Christian religion education context, across denominational boundaries (eg the very large Roman Catholic education sector).