Joanne Hack

Date of Submission



This thesis addresses the need for schools to provide a method for young people to come to terms with the complexity of their changing world as they seek to make meaning for themselves. It begins by tracing the theoretical foundations for an increased focus on meaning in Australian schooling and its establishment as a stated pedagogical principle in federal and state policies, syllabi and Catholic Church documentation on education. It analyses the literatures of the future direction of schooling, youth spirituality and the foundation documentation on Catholic education. It proposes that there is a degree of overlap in these literatures and the common discourse and the emerging paradigm addresses the need for students to develop a sense of personal meaning. The thesis provides an historical overview of schooling in terms of the societal contexts and the educational and philosophical assumptions that underpin the curriculum and pedagogical activities. It develops a model that identifies changes in the process of meaning-making and proposes a framework that could help schools become more effective resource agents for students in the development of their meaning-making capacities. It uses this framework to investigate the key documents of one Catholic system of secondary schools. It identifies the extent to which the system actually puts into action this pedagogical principle through its policy, research material, strategic planning, school culture (charism) and religious education programmes. Finally the thesis relates the findings of the specific school system to the overall process of secondary schooling within a Catholic context in Australia and proposes some issues for further consideration.


School of Religious Education

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


235 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Faculty of Education