Education 4203
Teaching Religious Education
in Secondary Schools

Course Description Basic & Supplemental Readings
Course Evaluation Bibliography

Course Description


"This course applies the principles of effective teaching to the teaching and learning of Religious Education. Topics include formulating objectives, examining theories of faith and moral development, selecting and using resources, and evaluating learning." (MUN Calendar 1997-98, p. 250.)


            NoŽl Shuell, BA, M.Ed., MA, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Faculty of Education.

Office: E-3056. Mail: Box 60, Room E-1008.

Phone: (709) 737-7634. Fax: (709) 737-2345.



At least 8 courses in Religious Studies. Ideally, you should have courses in Biblical Studies (RS2050 & 2051), Christian thought (e.g., RS2013, 2130, 2140), Ethics (RS2610), Religion in Culture (e.g., RS2810), and World Religions (RS2011, 2012).

THIS COURSE provides an answer to the question: What is involved in planning lessons and units in Religious Education (hereafter, RE) for adolescent students in secondary schools (Grades 7-12) in Newfoundland & Labrador?

TOPICS OF THIS COURSE, which help to answer the question above, are derived from the main decision-making areas of all educational planning, as applied to RE, namely,

  • Rationale & Aims of RE in the school curriculum.
  • Learner, Environmental, & Teacher characteristics relevant to RE.
  • Subject Matter or Content of RE.
  • Objectives & Outcomes for RE: cognitive, affective, & behavioral.
  • Resources or Materials for teaching & learning RE.
  • Strategies, Methods, & Techniques for teaching RE.
  • Sequences of activities in RE lessons.
  • Planning RE lessons and units.
  • Evaluating learning and teaching in RE.

These topics are studied both generally and specifically. The specific RE programs with which you will become familiar are those used by the Integrated, Roman Catholic, and Pentecostal Education Commissions. Related to these topics are other RE matters and issues such as the following:

  • History of RE.
  • Contemporary issues in RE.
  • Varieties of arrangements and approaches for school-based RE.

COURSE OBJECTIVES & OUTCOMES: By the end of this course, you should be able to--

  1. Explain the rationale and aims of RE as part of the secondary school curriculum.

  2. Identify some important characteristics of adolescents in secondary schools and explain their relevance and application in RE.

  3. Explain and demonstrate ways of creating physical and social environments in secondary school classrooms in order to facilitate the RE of adolescents.

  4. Describe in general the curriculum and typical instructional practices of the intermediate and senior high school RE courses in the three major RE programs in Newfoundland & Labrador schools.

  5. Describe in detail the curriculum (that is, the subject matter, objectives, and resources) of the intermediate and senior high school RE courses in at least one of the three major RE programs in Newfoundland & Labrador schools.

  6. Describe in detail the instructional practices (that is, the strategies, methods, and techniques of instruction and evaluation) that are recommended for intermediate and senior high school RE courses in at least one of the three major RE programs in Newfoundland & Labrador schools.

  7. Make appropriate and effective lesson and unit plans to help students in intermediate and senior high schools achieve the objectives of their RE courses and programs.

  8. Develop facility in communicating with others about RE for adolescents in formal and informal classroom settings.

  9. Be ready to begin a school internship which includes the teaching of RE for adolescents.


Basic and Supplemental Readings

        Basic Readings

  1. Donald L. Griggs, Teaching Teachers to Teach: A Basic Manual for Church Teachers (Nashville: Abingdon, 1974);

  2. Donald J. Weeren, Educating Religiously in the Multi-faith School (Calgary: Detselig Enterprises, 1986).

  3. Program of Studies, 1997-98 (St. John's, Newfoundland: Minister of Education, 1997), pp. i-vi; 67, 75-76, 88-91, 94; 125-126, 151-156; vii-viii. (French Immersion RE: pp. 173-177; 203-204; 215.)

    Supplemental Readings

  4. Janaan Manternach & Carl J. Pfeifer, Creative Catechist: A Comprehensive, and Illustrated Guide for Training Religion Teachers (Revised ed; Mystic, Connecticut: Twenty-third Publications, 1991);

  5. Government of Newfoundland & Labrador, Aims of Public Education for Newfoundland & Labrador (St. John's, Newfoundland: Minister of Education, 1984).

Readings 1 & 2 are available in the Bookstore and will also be on QE2 Reserve in connection with Ed4203. Readings 3 & 5 are in the CMC (Curriculum Guides). Reading 4 is available in the Bookstore (for Ed4205), and will be on QE2 Reserve. Readings from other sources will also be required, most of which are in the CMC.



Aims of Public Education for Newfoundland & Labrador.

CC Creative Catechist, Revised ed., by J. Manternach & C. Pfeifer (1991).
ER Educating Religiously in the Multi-faith School, by D. Weeren (1986).
FB299 Cooperative Learning, PDK Fastback #299, by Ellen Veronica Hilke (1990).
FB311 Preparing Better Teacher-Made Tests: A Practical Guide, PDK Fastback #311, by F. J. Sparzo.
FB384 Strategies for Educating Diverse Learners, PDK Fastback #384, by Rita Dunn (1995).
IEC Religious Education Syllabus for Integrated Schools (Integrated Education Council).
NBS1 "Aims for All in Religious Education", by NoŽl Shuell (1988).
NS "The Nature of a Religion", by Ninian Smart, in The World's Religions (1989), pp. 8-21.
PEC Religious Education Syllabus: Bible Study & Family Life (Pentecostal Education Council).
PS Program of Studies (current year).
TT Teaching Teachers to Teach, by D. Griggs (1974).

[NOTE: Bracketed readings are optional. For Abbreviations, see the list on the next page.]

RE Teachers: TT, Introduction, ch. 1. [CC, ch. 11.]
RE History & Issues: ER, chs. 1, 2; pp. 95-97. [CC, ch. 4.]
RE Aims: TT, pp. 12-13; Aims; IEC, pp. 1-10; PEC, pp. 1-4; CC, ch. 1. [NBS1.]
RE Environments. PS, pp. i-vi; 67, 94; vii-viii; IEC, pp. 3-4; [CC, ch. 13.]
RE Lesson Planning: TT, chs. 2, 5 (pp. 19-20), 7, 8. [CC, ch. 15.]
RE Subject Matter TT, ch. 3; PS, pp. 75-76, 88-91; 125-126, 151-156.
[NS; IEC, pp. 15-22; PEC, pp. 12-21; CC, chs. 5-10.]
RE Objectives/Outcomes: TT, ch. 4.
RE Resources: TT, chs. 6, 10. [CC, chs. 14, 16-19, 21.]
RE Strategies:
         Direct Learning:
         Experiential L:
         Praxis Learning.
         Cooperative L.

TT, chs. 5 (p. 19), 7.
CC, ch. 15.
CC, ch. 24.
RE Methods: TT, chs. 5, 9, 11, 12. [CC, chs. 12, 20, 22, 23; FB384.]
RE Evaluation: [FB311.]
Varieties of RE: ER, chs. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. [PEC, pp. 22-25.]

NOTE: You are also expected to become very familiar with the student texts and teacher guides for at least one of the three RE programs used in Newfoundland & Labrador intermediate & senior high schools.


Course Evaluation

        Your Final Grade in this course will be based on the following:

10% Preparation for, attendence at, & participation in all the class meetings of the course including the competion of occasional worksheets, preparation of short oral explanations, ans so on
8% Model Lesson Project #1. (Group or Indiviudal if combined with Demonstration Lesson Below)
12% Model Lesson Project #3. (Group)
30% Final Exam (2 hours, scheduled during Final Exam Week).
40% Various course activities chosen from among the following, including at least one Individual and one group activity.
5% Two short presentations, chosen from the following 4 activities, scheduled ASAP (Individual)
  • Tell a religion-related story for use in a RE lesson.
  • Show/Tell a musical resource for a RE lesson.
  • Show/Tell a children's literature resource for a RE lesson.
  • Show/Tell an audio-visual resource for a RE lesson.
5% Oral presentation of one chapter in Educating Religiously in the Multi-faith School. For date of presentation, see Schedule of Readings below. (Individual or Pair)
5% Teach a 30-minute Demonstration Leson based on Model Lesson Project (MLP) #1 or #2, scheduled ASAP after the MLP due date. (Individual)
5% Create a Visual Display: Classroom Poster--prepared, introduced, & displayed in the classroom  (Individual)
5% Written explanation, anaysis, & rationale of the Visual Display above. (Individual)
10% Model Lesson Project #2. (Group; or Individual if combined with Demonstration Lesson above)
10% Oral presentation, reporting on one RE course in Grades 7-9 or Levels 1-3, scheduled ASAP
(Individual or Pair)
10% Oral presentation of one chapter in Creative Catechist (from chapters 12, 14, 17-22), scheduled ASAP. (Individual or Pair)
10% Develop, display, and explain a classroom Learning Resource & Activity Centre for a RE unit, s. (Group or Individual)
20% Midterm Exam ( 1 hour). (Individual).






Ban, Joseph D. 1986. "Adolescents in Canadian Culture: Religious Development." Religious Education 81/2
             (Spring 1986): 225-238.

Shuell, NoŽl B. 1979. "Communicating Values in Religious Education." Morning Watch (March/May 1979):

Shuell, NoŽl. 1988. "Aims for All in Religious Education." RESIC Bulletin 13/1 (January 1988): 9-10. [Religious
              Educaton Special Interest Council, Newfoundland Teachers Association]


Adler, Mortimer J. 1980. How to Think About God: A Guide for the 20th-Century Pagan. New York:
             Macmillan. 175 pp.

Blair, Andrew G. 1986. The Policy and Practice of Religious Education in Publicly-funded Elementary and
              Secondary Schools in Canada and Elsewhere: A Search of the Literature.
Toronto: Queen's Printer
             for Ontario.

Complete Report of the Faith Development in the Adult Life Cycle Project. 1988. Minneapolis: Adult Faith

Educating for Peace: Exploration and Proposals. 1987. [Report to the Curriculum Development Council].
              Melbourne: Catholic Education Office. 266 pp.

Fastbacks. Bloomington, Indiana: Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation.

344 Eleanor Baron, Discipline Strategies for Teachers (1992).
353 Jack Blendinger & others, Win-Win Discipline (1993).
351 Kenneth Burrett & Timothy Rusnak, Integrated Character Education (1993).
244 Kenneth Chuska, Teaching the Process of Thinking, K-12 (1986).
191 Cornett, Claudia E. 1983. What You Should Know About Teaching and Learning Styles.
241 Cornett, Claudia E. 1986. Learning Through Laughter: Humor in the Classroom.
251 Fuchs, Lucy. 1987. Teaching Reading in the Secondary School.
258 Fuchs, Lucy. 1987. Serving Adolescents' Reading Interests Through Young Adult Literature.
331 Robert Gilstrap & others, Improving Instruction in Middle Schools (1992).
341 Emily Grady, The Portfolio Approach to Assessment (1992).
224 Kniker, Charles R. 1985. Teaching About Religion in the Public Schools.
342 David Lazear, Teaching for Multiple Intelligences (1992).
345 Thomas Lombardi, Learning Strategies for Problem Learners (1992).
237 Kevin Ryan, The Induction of New Teachers (1986).
311 Frank Sparzo, Preparing Better Teacher-Made Tests: A Practical Guide (1990).
276 Arthur W. Steller, Effective Schools Research: Practice and Promise (1988).

Government of Newfoundland & Labrador. 1984. Aims of Public Education for Newfoundland and Labrador.
    St. John's: Minister of Education.

Government of Newfoundland & Labrador. 1993. Program of Studies, 1993-94. St. John's: Minister of

Grambs, Jean D.; and Carr, John C. 1991. Modern Methods in Secondary Education. 5th edition. Toronto:
    Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Griggs, Donald L. (1974) Teaching Teachers to Teach: A Basic Manual for Church Teachers. Nashville:  

Integrated Education Council. 1987. Religious Education Syllabus for Integrated Schools. St. John's,
    Newfoundland: Integrated Education Council.

Manternach, Janaan; and Pfeifer, Carl. 1991. Creative Catechist: A Comprehensive, Illustrated Guide for
    Training Religion Teachers
. Revised edition. Mystic, Connecticut: Twenty-Third Publications.

Milgram, Roberta M.; Dunn, Rita; and Price, Gary E. 1993. Teaching and Counseling Gifted and Talented
    Adolescents: An International Learning Style Perspective
. Westport, Connecticut; Praeger.

Smart, Ninian. 1989. "The Nature of a Religion." In The World's Religions, pp. 8-21. USA: Prentice Hall.

Weeren, Donald. 1986. Educating Religiously in the Multi-faith School. Calgary, Alberta: Detselig