Belvedere College - Religious Education

Religious Education

Religious Education

Religion, you know, enters very deep; in reality it is the deepest impression I have in speaking to people, that they are or that they are not of my religion.

Gerard Manley Hopkins
 

Staff

  • Gerry J Foley
  • Mr. C. Doherty
  • Mr. M. Basiejko SJ
  • Ger Murray
  • Niamh O’Donoghue
  • Shane Moloney
  • Claire Broderick
  • Ger O’Sullivan
  • Conor Docherty
  • Padraig Swan
  • Trish Carroll
  • Eoghan Keogh

 

Belvedere College SJ is a Catholic school that strives to support students in their growth towards a greater understanding and awareness of their faith and the part that this plays in their lives.
Our primary objective is to provide an environment where students not only learn more about spirituality and the Catholic faith but also try to integrate their own spirituality into daily living. In attempting to cater for all students, Belvedere College SJ provides a great variety of experiences that support the student in developing their faith by creating an atmosphere of openness, acceptance and a willingness to search for meaning.

Junior Cycle Religious Education

At Junior Cycle level, our students study a syllabus which includes an in-depth examination of the history and development of Christianity and other major world religions, the dynamics of various faith communities, our growth towards moral maturity, our expressions of faith and the idea of a faith journey. Our Junior Cycle programme also includes classes on The Jesuits and on preparation for liturgies and retreats.

Senior Cycle Religious Education

At Senior Cycle, our students experience a modular system of Religious Education whereby they study three courses per year with three different teachers.
Students are given the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of courses ranging from Christology, Morality and Ethics, Introduction to Ignatian Spirituality, the Jesuit World View and Justice and Peace.
In addition to work within the classroom, both fifth and sixth year students work in the local community as Peer Tutors for primary school children providing additional learning support to those students who most need it.
Some other opportunities provided by the school include;

  • Annual Retreat for each student including residential retreats for Rhetoric students.
  • School Mass twice a year.
  • Rite of Reconciliation.
  • Distribution of Ashes and Stations of the Cross.
  • Regular Meditation.
  • Easter pilgrimage to Taize (Ecumenical Community in France) including preparatory course and reflection    course.
  • Kairos Retreat: 4 day retreat for Poetry (fifth year) students.

Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm

The continual interplay of experience, reflection and action in the teaching-learning dynamic of the classroom lies at the heart of Ignatian pedagogy. Ignatian teachers must be conscious of the priorities of learners in the process of learning, and need to appreciate that what emerges from the learning activity will be determined more by the learner than by the person who designed the activity. For such a learning process to be successful, it must include a pre-learning element, that of context, and a post-learning element, that of evaluation.

Context:

This is concerned with all the factors that help or hinder the learning process.
From the administrators' and teachers' points of view this means:

  1. Personal knowledge of and care for the student by the teacher.
  2. A conducive environment for learning and growth in commitment to values.

The continual interplay of experience, reflection and action in the teaching-learning dynamic of the classroom lies at the heart of Ignatian pedagogy. Ignatian teachers must be conscious of the priorities of learners in the process of learning, and need to appreciate that what emerges from the learning activity will be determined more by the learner than by the person who designed the activity. For such a learning process to be successful, it must include a pre-learning element, that of context, and a post-learning element, that of evaluation. Context: This is concerned with all the factors that help or hinder the learning process. From the administrators' and teachers' points of view this means: i) Personal knowledge of and care for the student by the teacher. ii) A conducive environment for learning and growth in commitment to values. From the students' points of view, it is related to: Readiness to learn and readiness to grow. Experience: Ignatian pedagogy aims to ensure that the student will have a full learning experience of mind, heart and hand. In the handbook entitled Ignatian Pedagogy: A Practical Approach, issued by the International Centre for Jesuit Education in Rome in 1993, experience as an key element in education was described as follows: "In Jesuit schools, the learning experience is expected to move beyond rote knowledge to the development of the more complex learning skills of understanding, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. . . .We use the term experience to describe any activity in which in addition to a cognitive grasp of the matter being considered, some sensation of an affective nature is registered by the student. . . .In his pedagogy, Ignatius highlights the affective/evaluative stage of the learning process because he is conscious that in addition to letting one 'sense and taste,' i.e., deepen one's experience, affective feelings are motivational forces that move one's understanding to action and commitment.” Reflection: This is the key to the Ignatian pedagogical paradigm. Reflection is the process whereby the student makes the learning experience his/her own, gets to the meaning of the learning experience for self and for others. Ignatian Pedagogy describes it at some length: "We use the term reflection to mean a thoughtful reconsideration of some subject matter, experience, idea, purpose or spontaneous reaction, in order to grasp its significance more fully. Thus, reflection is the process by which meaning surfaces in human experience . . . At this level of reflection, the memory, the understanding, the imagination and the feelings are used to capture the meaning and essential value of what is being studied, to discover its relationship with other aspects of knowledge and human activity, and to appreciate its implications in the ongoing search for truth and freedom … If learning were to stop at experience, it would not be Ignatian. For it would lack the component of reflection wherein students are impelled to consider the human meaning and significance of what they study and to integrate that meaning as responsible learners who grow as persons of competence, conscience and compassion.” The learning experience in Religious Education in Belvedere College S.J. is expected to move beyond rote knowledge to the development of the more complex learning skills of understanding, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. If learning were to stop there, it would not be Ignatian. For it would lack the component of reflection wherein students are impelled to consider the human meaning and significance of what they study and to integrate that meaning as responsible learners who grow as persons of competence, conscience and compassion. Action: Action is not mere activity. It is rather the student's attitudes, priorities, commitments, habits, values, ideals, internal human growth flowing out into actions for others. Ignatian Pedagogy defines the term, making specific reference to the ideal so typical of Ignatius Loyola, seeking not just to serve God but to excel in such service, to do something even more (in Latin, magis) than what is required: ”The term 'Action' refers to internal human growth based upon experience that has been reflected upon as well as its manifestation externally. It involves two steps: i) Interiorised Choices; ii) Choices Externally Manifested . . . Ignatius does not seek just any action or commitment. Rather, while respecting human freedom, he strives to encourage decision and commitment for the magis, the better service of God and our sisters and brothers.” Evaluation: This is an evaluation of the student's growth in the acceptance of the school's aims and objectives for the student. Once again, from Ignatian Pedagogy: "Ignatian pedagogy, however, aims at formation which includes but goes beyond academic mastery. Here we are concerned about students' well-rounded growth as persons for others. Thus periodic evaluation of the student's growth in attitudes, priorities and actions consistent with being a person for others is essential.

From the students' points of view, it is related to: Readiness to learn and readiness to grow.

Experience:

Ignatian pedagogy aims to ensure that the student will have a full learning experience of mind, heart and hand. In the handbook entitled Ignatian Pedagogy: A Practical Approach, issued by the International Centre for Jesuit Education in Rome in 1993, experience as an key element in education was described as follows: "In Jesuit schools, the learning experience is expected to move beyond rote knowledge to the development of the more complex learning skills of understanding, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. . . .We use the term experience to describe any activity in which in addition to a cognitive grasp of the matter being considered, some sensation of an affective nature is registered by the student. . . .In his pedagogy, Ignatius highlights the affective/evaluative stage of the learning process because he is conscious that in addition to letting one 'sense and taste,' i.e., deepen one's experience, affective feelings are motivational forces that move one's understanding to action and commitment.”

Reflection:

This is the key to the Ignatian pedagogical paradigm. Reflection is the process whereby the student makes the learning experience his/her own, gets to the meaning of the learning experience for self and for others. Ignatian Pedagogy describes it at some length:
"We use the term reflection to mean a thoughtful reconsideration of some subject matter, experience, idea, purpose or spontaneous reaction, in order to grasp its significance more fully. Thus, reflection is the process by which meaning surfaces in human experience . . . At this level of reflection, the memory, the understanding, the imagination and the feelings are used to capture the meaning and essential value of what is being studied, to discover its relationship with other aspects of knowledge and human activity, and to appreciate its implications in the ongoing search for truth and freedom … If learning were to stop at experience, it would not be Ignatian. For it would lack the component of reflection wherein students are impelled to consider the human meaning and significance of what they study and to integrate that meaning as responsible learners who grow as persons of competence, conscience and compassion.”

The learning experience in Religious Education in Belvedere College S.J. is expected to move beyond rote knowledge to the development of the more complex learning skills of understanding, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. If learning were to stop there, it would not be Ignatian. For it would lack the component of reflection wherein students are impelled to consider the human meaning and significance of what they study and to integrate that meaning as responsible learners who grow as persons of competence, conscience and compassion.

Action:

Action is not mere activity. It is rather the student's attitudes, priorities, commitments, habits, values, ideals, internal human growth flowing out into actions for others. Ignatian Pedagogy defines the term, making specific reference to the ideal so typical of Ignatius Loyola, seeking not just to serve God but to excel in such service, to do something even more (in Latin, magis) than what is required:
”The term 'Action' refers to internal human growth based upon experience that has been reflected upon as well as its manifestation externally. It involves two steps: i) Interiorised Choices; ii) Choices Externally Manifested . . . Ignatius does not seek just any action or commitment. Rather, while respecting human freedom, he strives to encourage decision and commitment for the magis, the better service of God and our sisters and brothers.”

Evaluation:

This is an evaluation of the student's growth in the acceptance of the school's aims and objectives for the student. Once again, from Ignatian Pedagogy:
"Ignatian pedagogy, however, aims at formation which includes but goes beyond academic mastery. Here we are concerned about students' well-rounded growth as persons for others. Thus periodic evaluation of the student's growth in attitudes, priorities and actions consistent with being a person for others is essential.

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