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This article is about learning and teaching in postgraduate courses and professional development programs. Much has been written about how children and adolescents might learn in religion classes, and about how religious education might contribute to their spiritual and moral development. But there is not so much about religion teachers’ own religious education and professional development, particularly from the perspective of those whose role is to educate them religiously (English, 2002). The article reflects on 35 years’ experience in the field. It is like an educational ‘reverse engineering’ – putting what was judged to be best practice into theory. It will propose an 8 level framework of participant engagement in study of RE that has been found to be useful for interpreting differences in contexts, participants, and course structure. It results from insights and intuitions drawn from experience, and as yet is not related to the literature of adult learning. But it might become a starting point for research on issues related to the professional development of religion teachers. The focus is on educating professionals in religious education and not on their theological education; nevertheless, the pedagogical principles that are developed may well prove to be relevant to any tertiary postgraduate or professional development program. The estimates of teaching, engagement and learning proposed here may be contested; nevertheless, they raise issues that warrant further consideration in relation to policy and priorities in the development of postgraduate religious education programs.


School of Education

Document Type

Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access