From left: Catholic educators learn about using apps, art and song in religious education during a recent workshop.From left: Catholic educators learn about using apps, art and song in religious education during a recent workshop.

Digital apps, drama, music and the visual arts can all be used to make religious education lessons more engaging.

This was what some 90 Catholic educators learnt during a workshop for Catholic educators held on Aug 15 at Catholic Junior College.

The event, which is part of the Religious Education Access Programme (REAP), was organised by the Archdiocesan Commission for Catholic Schools (ACCS) in partnership with the Brisbane Catholic Education Office (BCEO).

A team of six senior education officers flew in from the Australian city to deliver the programme, now in its third year in Singapore.

During the event, participants were divided into groups to participate in four workshops.

In the Prayer Strategies workshop, the trainer showed how apps, such as those for relaxation and meditation, can help children move from the psychological space of play or study to that of prayer.

Participants also learnt how drama techniques such as “freeze frames” and “echo mimes” can be used in the teaching of scripture.

In the Music workshop, participants explored the opportunities for religious reflection offered by pop songs, among other activities, while in the Visual Arts workshop, they decorated a wooden cross with symbols of their individual as well as schools’ faith journeys, learning how art can also be a form of prayer.

In the Teaching Scriptures workshop, participants explored images of God in scripture, in society and in their own lives. They also learnt the importance of finding out about students’ images of God and where each of them is at in their faith journeys.

Commenting on the programme, Mr Andy Choong, vice-principal of St Anthony’s Primary School, said: “In the busy hustle and bustle of school life, it is important to encourage our pupils to be still and calm, to prepare their mind and body for prayer. The simple use of bells and chimes to create an ambience of stillness works well to remind pupils to quieten themselves and/or be ready for prayer and reflection.”

Ms Geraldine Robert, religious education coordinator from Marymount Convent, said it was “great to know the different prayer strategies that we could use by tapping on technology”.

The REAP programme came at the end of a BCEO-ACCS partnership project, the Literacy Education Access Programme (LEAP) held from Aug 12-14.

This was an attachment programme in which 10 literacy teachers from the Brisbane archdiocese were hosted by four local Catholic primary schools and six kindergartens.

The Australian teachers observed the English lessons in kindergarten and Pri 1 and Pri 2  classes, and participated in  sharing sessions with the teachers, principals and vice-principals of the host schools.

The partnership between ACCS and BCEO started in 2011 with the purpose of sharing best practices in the teaching of religious education in Catholic preschools. It has subsequently grown to include primary and secondary Catholic educators.

By Stefania Hartley

The REAP programme came at the end of a BCEO-ACCS partnership project, the Literacy Education Access Programme (LEAP) held from Aug 12-14.

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