"I speak textbook Jewish": Confessions of an outsider

Publisher:
Australian Catholic University
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Journal of Religious Education, 2010, 58 (4), pp. 53 - 62
Issue Date:
2010-01
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Two religious education modes have co-existed in public education for 'some time. In NSW, these are known as General Religious Education (GRE) and Religious Instruction (RI). GRE is seen as non-sectarian in nature. Teaching of GRE is typically conducted by the classroom teacher, perhaps supported by visiting experts. Its aim is primarily to inform about the faith and its adherents; education by outsiders, catering for outsiders. RI, by contrast, is usually conducted by a visiting faith adherent, and is persuasive in purpose. This paper compares each approach, and asks who is best positioned to instruct on religion/s, in terms of the subject's audience and purposes. It investigates what faith 'insiders', or outsiders bring and fail to bring to GRE pedagogy. Can outsiders transcend 'textbook knowledge'? This dichotomy is illustrated by encounters between the (outsider) author and an insider-colleague. Three strands intertwine in this paper: my discussions with a colleague; my understanding of my teaching; the implications for related curriculum.
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