Another survey questions effectiveness of RE classes

Traditional religious education classes no longer work and are failing to attract children to the church, says Christian Research Association senior research officer Rev Philip Hughes.

The Australian reports that while generations of Australian school children have been "captive congregations", modern pupils are bucking against receiving church teaching.

Instead, Generation Y - the children born after 1979 - are revealing a streak of independence, according to a major study of their attitudes to spirituality, to be released mid-year.

The Australian's religiion writer Jill Rowbotham suggests the finding will have churches and church-affiliated schools rethinking their approach to religious education, if they have not already done so.

"To their credit, they are already exploring a variety of new ways of engaging students about religion," says the church-funded Christian Research Association's senior research officer, Reverend Philip Hughes (pictured).

The three-year study was not designed to examine religious education, but Dr Hughes concedes "it does have implications for how religious education is done: you cannot 'hand on' your faith".

The study included 350 face-to-face interviews, 1200 telephone interviews and a schools-based component in which 2500 students were surveyed across 20 schools, most of which were church-affiliated. "There is a strong sense among the young that they will make their own choices about faith, they think it is their responsibility to do so," Dr Hughes said.

Self is the new Bible for young (The Australian 20/1/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Christian Research Association

Melbourne study testing Perth "irrelevant" finding (CathNews 9/1/06)
Study shows most Catholic students reject faith (CathNews 7/12/05)

20 Jan 2006