Christian tradition an important part of schooling and life

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Home > Media > News > Christian tradition an important part of schooling and life
Christian tradition an important part of schooling and life

After-school employment opportunities and levels of community engagement are connected to the Christian tradition, according to author and education commentator Kevin Donnelly, who spoke at a Christopher Dawson Centre for Cultural Studies lecture in Hobart recently.

“It’s very interesting both here and overseas, in Canada and America, Catholic Schools tend to get better academic results and have stronger enrolment (numbers), in terms of staying on to year 12,” Mr Donnelly said.

“After they leave school, (Catholic school) students tend to be more willing to volunteer and to engage in philanthropic work.

“Catholic schools, generally, are very successful in promoting social capital, social cohesion and reciprocity.”
Mr Donnelly, who co-authored the 2015 Review of the Australian Curriculum, spoke on ‘The Place of Religion in a Secular Curriculum,’ exploring the need for a greater recognition of the role of Christianity in the social, cultural and legal history of Australian society.

“Subjects like history, literature and civics ignored Australia’s Judaeo Christian heritage, especially the significance and impact of Christianity on the nation’s political and legal system,” he said.

For Mr Donnelly, the popularity of Christian schools was a testament to the importance of strong classroom values.

“Around Australia, Catholic Schools now enrol around 20% of students and independent schools 14%,” he said.

“Most of those schools are religious or faith based, and when you look at the surveys, Catholic parents in particular are looking for a disciplined classroom environment and a strong moral compass, where there is a sense of ethical and moral values.”

Mr Donnelly also spoke of the importance of traditional teaching methods with an emphasis on academic rigour and standardised testing methods.

“We have this idea that there should be equality of outcomes - I feel that there should be equality of opportunity and the chance of doing well,” he said.

“You should have effective teaching, good curriculums and a constructive environment,  (however) this idea that everyone should be a winner, that everyone should be successful is frankly, more….about mediocrity.”

Dr Kevin Donnelly gave a public lecture in Hobart can be heard here