Date of Submission



This thesis analysed Religious Education Coordinators' perceptions of their role in Catholic secondary schools of the Archdiocese of Melbourne from 1970 - 2000. The theoretical framework for the study, which was reported on in this thesis, was drawn from Catholic Church documents on religious education at both international and national levels, and from the work of researchers within the field of religious education. In particular the study investigated the diversity of language used to describe religious education and religious education theory and analysed the significance that this has had in the development of an understanding of the role of the Religious Education Coordinator. It was argued that there were significant factors in the development of the role of the Religious Education Coordinator that included changes in the understanding of the nature and purpose of religious education during the second half of the twentieth century. In addition there were historical factors peculiar to the Archdiocese of Melbourne that played an important part in the understanding of the RECs role. Quantitative data in the form of annual survey material (1988-1999) from the Catholic Education Office Melbourne provided a framework for the empirical component of the research. The empirical component involved the interviewing of Religious Education Coordinators from a deliberately selected sample that covered the range of skills and experiences deemed necessary in the research. The purpose was to ascertain from the perspective of the Religious Education Coordinators themselves how they analysed their role. Grounded theory methodology was used as the basis for the inductive analysis of the data that emerged from the in-depth interviews. Theory that was generated on the role of the Religious Education Coordinator includes: the importance of an understanding of the theoretical dimensions of religious education and the role of the Religious Education Coordinator; an elaboration of the role of the Religious Education Coordinator in the school context and the necessary skills and attributes that are required to meet the challenges in the role; and the complexity of the challenges that are faced by the Religious Education Coordinator.


School of Religious Education

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


368 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Faculty of Education