Author: Malone, Dr Patricia
Type of paper: Abstract refereed
The new Studies of Religion syllabus for Years 11-12 in New South Wales was approved in November 1991 and about 40 schools have students following this course in 1992. This paper will examine the structure of the syllabus and its underlying rationale with a focus on the attitude outcomes that the syllabus specified. As the writer chaired the syllabus committee this presentation will be from the perspective of those who developed the paper but extensive consultation took place during the development stage so the final syllabus decisions reflect many of the current issues that face religious education in Australia. This paper will also present the preliminary results of a pilot research project carried out by the writer with the assistance of Sr Rosalie O'Neill of the Institute of Religious Studies, Sydney (the writer received a small internal grant from Australian Catholic University in 1992 for this project). This project attempts to measure the attitudes of a sample of students towards the various religious traditions and the effect of studying this course on these attitudes. The Studies of Religion syllabus is based on the premise that Religion is a subject within the curriculum. Although there are many understandings of the concept of religion within the community this syllabus is not based on any one definition or any one model. The Brief stated that the syllabus would use an educational approach which was related to the overall aims of the Key Learning Area Human Society and Its Environment (HSIE), which is one of the six learning areas in the secondary curriculum in NSW. The course was designed for all students in government or other types of schools. The Brief stated that no attempt would be made in the syllabus to prosletyse or to promote any one religious tradition at the expense of another.