The Phenomenological and Typological Models of Religious Education

By Terry Lovat

From the Book: What is this thing called Religious Education, Social Science Press.

  1. ( Stepping Into The Shoes)

Ninian Smart is a key proponent of the inter-faith approach. He declares that the proper direction for R.E. is towards... initiation into understanding the meaning of, and into questions about, the truth and worth of religion.'

Smart takes particular issue with the idea that this study ,. from the 'outside', as it were, necessarily leads to a rather dry for 'heady' kind of educational practice. On the contrary, Smart's dependence on the 'Forms Thesis' of Hirst and Peters leads him to believe that a study of religion implies a unique kind of experience, a very vital learning practice which takes in the total person, heart and mind. He speaks of the need for the study of religion to be... warm and vibrant ..and to include .imaginative participation'

Neither this heartfelt study, nor any consequent deep understanding and appreciation of religion, implies, involves or necessitates personal submission to a particular creed. Smart stands with Hirst in his claim that the understanding of beliefs does not require an acceptance or approval of them.'

For Smart, religion is a legitimate object of study because it develops distinctive skills and encourages particular insights.' Religion offers a view of the was people organize and interpret t their spiritual experiences and form systems by which to contain and communicate these to each other and to succeeding generations. His Phenomenological Model6 recommends an empathetic entering into a representative sample of religious examples, a 'stepping into the shoes' of its followers, as the best way of coming to 'know' in this unique sense.

B. (The Long Search )

An excellent example of Smart's approach can be found in the BBC series, titled, The Long Search, repeated periodically in Australia on ABC television. The series involved a three year, world-wide 'search' by presenter, Ronald Eyre, of different religions, ancient and modern, local and worldwide. At times, Eyre found himself tramping through the jungles of Indonesia, watching an animal sacrifice; at other times, he was standing in the main street of Cairo, watching Muslims at prayer. He witnessed Shinto funerals and Orthodox funerals, watched a young boy become a Buddhist monk and a young man become a Jew. He dialogued with Confucians about their beliefs and Christians about theirs. He heard a Taoist say there were no gods and a Hindu tell him there were 330 million gods! Through it all, the strongest impression one received was of non-judgmental impartiality on the part of Eyre. He was happy to participate in whatever he was invited to participate in, and would describe his own perceptions and feelings as fairly as he could, but always maintained his 'participant observer' status. At every turn, he could only understand in so far as any outsider was capable a of understanding something which , essentially- for an 'insider'. Rather than display confusion or frustration at the many varied ways in which people interpreted the religious side of life, Eyre exuded fascination. Again, this is typical of Smart, who introduces the search by proposing that:

If all men believed the same things, our planet would lose half its excitement,... If we wish to understand humanity, we need to explore this ...'

The Long Search also provides an excellent insight into Smarts methodology for a study of religion. We never find Eyre delving too much into the history of whatever religion he is examining, nor do we get long-winded explanations about the structure or beliefs of the religion, not even as an introduction. In each case, the viewer is plunged into the middle of the religion, normally participating in some action or ritual, together with a believer.

This is more than just a strategy for television. It is at the heart of Smart's phenomenological thinking. Distilled summaries of beliefs are static, and often have been put together by someone who does not really understand anyhow; religion, in fact, is alive it is people doing certain things, acting in certain ways. If we want to have any understanding, we must capture this 'aliveness ,find these people in action: in other words, we must 'plug into' the phenomena which make up the religion.

In his book related to the series, then, we find sections devoted to such phenomena as rites of passage, myths, holy times, holy places, symbols, pilgrimages, scriptures, temples and priests. For Smart, this is the 'way into' any religion. Not only does it make the study of religion manageable, because it provides a structure for the study but, more importantly, it makes the study effective: by concentrating on the essential phenomena, the student is able to gain Insight, to get as far on the inside as possible for an 'outsider' to get.

As well, use of these categories not only provides a structure for the study of any particular religion, but for a cross-cultural study as well. The phenomena provide us with categories for comparison and contrast. In other words, an exercise to compare Christianity with Hinduism, which is a massive task, can begin by describing some of their respective phenomena ...for instance, their initiation rites (e.g. Baptism and the fourth samskara or their creation myths(e.g. Genesis,1-2, and Rig Veda, Book 10).

C. ( An Educational Critique )

No doubt, Smart's is one of the most important contributions to the field of Religion Studies in the past quarter of a century. His own eminence in the English-speaking world, and his constant contact with developments in the U.K., U.S.A., India, New Zealand and Australia, have assured the prominence of his model. Indeed, he is probably as close to a genuine 'guru' as modern Religion Studies can boast.

In practical, classroom-based terms, his model would seem to have much to commend it. For a start, his intention to have the student 'step into the shoes' of those religious followers being studied would seem to reflect many of the. directions of modern Social Education generally. The N.S.W. H.S.C. Syllabus, Society And Culture, is a good example of a modern Social Education course; it recommends, among other things, the development of skills in observing and gathering data by means of:... field trips and participant observations of life situations ... conducting interviews ... developing and administering questionnaires ... listening ... relating effectively to other individuals.'

It also recommends the use of the 'case stud approach which:... studies people in unique natural settings ... tries to get the insider's viewpoint or uses participant observation, provides rich descriptions of the situations studied ...

In this sense, the Phenomenological R.E. mod 1 would appear to fit very well into the framework of at least one facet of modem education. As we have noted before, it is essential for the development of R.E. that it does reflect and complement, rather than contradict or cut across, the way education is proceeding in other areas.

Additionally, the specifics of the Phenomenological model also appear to be educationally sound. In recommending an approach by means of the phenomena, or elements, of religion, Smart is providing the building-blocks which any teacher requires for effective study within a discipline. In a sense, this is a strategy which is as old as education itself: being introduced to a new language by first becoming familiar with some of its words, or its alphabet, and then moving on to understand its tenses and declensions, etc.; similarly, being introduced to a particular period of history by means of noting certain dates; certain happenings or certain people, and then moving on to relate it all. The philosophy is basically one of getting to know a few individual 'trees' before tackling the whole 'forest'.

As one became more and more immersed in Smart's model, then, one would become familiar with picking the out of any information gained or exploration done. Rather than an being overwhelmed by a plethora of data, one is able to develop specific insights by being able to identify certain types of rituals, how these express certain beliefs of the group in question their structure their religion in terms of holy places times and persons and, overall, how these features compare with similar features in other religions studied. Here is the R.E. teacher's 'tool' or instrument', which can be offered to students to make their investigations manageable.

One feels hesitant to offer criticism of one so eminent and thoroughly professional as Smart. Nonetheless, there are a few points which the classroom teacher and the theorist might wish to take up. At the end of the day, the classroom teacher might feel that what has been offered is fuller of vision than of practical 'tips': certainly, the general thrust of the Phenomenological model is clear, if not exciting, but how to actually go about constructing and effecting it on a day-to-day basis is not quite so forthcoming.


Semester 1:
The Components of Religion


Weeks 1-4: Rituals
• rites of passage
• rites of communication
• rites of cleansing
• rites of thanksgiving

Weeks 5-8: Stories
• myths
• legends
• parables
• epics

Weeks 9-11: Beliefs
• gods/spirits
• nature
• after-life

Weeks 12-13: Structures
• sacred space
• sacred time
• sacred persons

Weeks 14-16: Experiences
• high points in life
• revelations
• institutions

A typical phenomenological approach.

If one could trip around, with Ronald Eyre, to Africa, South America, Tibet and Mecca, one would certainly appreciate the approach. Even if a teacher was assured of plenty of excursions, with ready access to the people and places representing a variety of other traditions, the teacher would know how to get the best from the model. Furthermore, if one were assured of the serious intent of one's students, one could not find a better guiding vision than that provided by the model.

Within the confines of the regular classroom, however, the teacher does not have ready access to such facilities not normally, such a positive demeanour from students. The teacher requires deliberate and progressive strategies to motivate and guide students toward s appreciation in any subject. Perhaps this is a practical -weakness o the Phenomenological model as it stands. To be fair to Smart, his primary interest or intention is not directed towards the day-to-day practicalities of the classroom. He is primarily an academic and so specializes in offering a vision and a theory.

The theorist, likewise, might wish to question Smart's apparent dependence on the 'Forms Thesis'. While not in any way detracting from his personal reputation, nor from the general thrust of the inter-faith approach, his model must suffer, to some degree, because of the general questioning of the 'Forms Thesis', which was noted in Chapter 2. In some ways, it is open to the same sorts of criticisms which we saw leveled at Goldman's and, especially, Grimmitt's experiential approaches. This latter was equally dependent on the thesis and, as was seen in Chapter 2, this can lead to certain philosophical and curricular difficulties. In particular, it suggests that religion, as a 'way of knowing', is a valuable educational enterprise. This is not a matter for critical negotiation. In effect, this can offer a very attractive rationale for educational authorities who want to impose a particular type of Religion curriculum for their own ideological reasons.

Perhaps more seriously, it has been shown that the 'Forms Thesis' can lead to a practical 'carving away' of subject areas from each other, on the grounds that, if a subject requires a distinctive 'way of knowing', then the teaching/ learning process need pay no heed to the way education is handled generally in the school. Again, we noted in Chapter 2 that this can have extreme practical difficulties. To be fair to Smart, it does not necessarily follow that the essence of the Phenomenological model is affected by queries related to one of its philosophical underpinnings. It might well be that the 'Forms Thesis' provided no more than a little apparent support for the general direction of the model, and that it was in no way essential to it.

D. A Theological Critique

Smart's model appears to satisfy several theological demands for a start, it encourages an exploration of a variety of religions and provides the strategy by which this exploration might be carried out. This would seem to make it a very suitable model, not only for a State school situation, but for those

Church schools which subscribe to the type of theology which was evident in Vatican II Declaration On The Relationship Of The Church With Non- Christian Religions, and which has been noted already in this text." One thing which can worry some confessional religion educators is that the inter-faith approach might trivialize the study of religion and, especially; depreciate the students' respect for their own tradition. Smart's model seems to overcome such concerns by emphasizing strongly that any comparison must be done with great care. He contends that there is no such thing as 'religion' or 'religiousness' in general, but only the religion of a group. People experience religion, by and large, through identification with, and participation in, a particular tradition. If we wish to understand that experience, we must enter into that tradition as far as possible. Trivialization should never occur.

Moreover, Smart emphasizes the range of skills necessary for plumbing the depths of any religion. 'Included in these are the skills which tune into the very profound emotions and levels of commitment which religion involves for many people. Certainly, the following of Smart's approach should lead to .a greater appreciation of any religion including the students' own traditions. In fact, it would appear to offer a way of helping students through the fairly skeptical stage which so many experience during adolescence. Additionally, Smart's model might well provide a solution to the recurring 'catechetical problem', noted in Chapter 1. Here, it was suggested that catechesis within the school context would appear to be misplaced because the commitment which should precede catechesis was not likely to be present in most of the students. Most religion educators know this anyhow: they recognize that true faith commitment is not possible at such an early age and that to impose it could be quite damaging to long-term commitment and certainly in breach of the spirit of Vatican II's Declaration on Religious Freedom. Often, teachers are at a loss to identify criteria for assessing R.E., other than some growth in faith. Smart has offered the alternative criteria. R.E. students can be assessed, like any others, by how well they accrue the skills of analysis, and interpretation of data related to their subject area. Basil Moore and Norman Habel express it this way:

He (Smart) has provided the teacher with a methodology which enables assessment of student achievements in the study of religion which does not require intrusion into the area of the student's faith or lack of it. On Smart's approach, it is possible to assess students' skills rather than their level of religious commitment."

The Typological Model Of Religious Education

  1. 'Knowing The Trees Before The Forest'

The Typological Model of R.E. has been developed in Australia by Basil Moore and Norman Habel, from the Religion Studies Department at the South Australian College of Advanced Education. The name Typology (literally TYPE-ology, i.e. a study of TYPES) is derived from what they see as the crucial starting-point in the study of any religion, namely, attention to the "types of components"' which go to make up that religion.

From this, it is easy to see that Moore and Habel how much to the thinking of Ninian Smart. They acknowledge this but move on to show that their model is a more explicit spelling out of the assumptions of Smart's Phenomenological model.2 Whereas Smart supposed that an religion could be seen as a collection of rituals, myths, beliefs, etc, he did not really provide us wit a practical methodology, least of all a class-room based strategy, for helping students to tackle a study in this way. It was more less assumed that any study of religion would reveal the standard phenomenological pattern of rituals, myths, etc. Moore and Habel make no such assumptions. If this is considered to be a valid and desirable way of studying religion (and they believe it is), then teachers and students must be offered practical and workable models for putting this into effect in the classroom: this is at the heart of the Topological model.

For Moore and Habel, the 'types' (or elements) of religion (i.e. rituals, myths, etc.) make up the vocabulary, the fundamental concepts, or 'building blocks', which must be mastered and understood for religious literacy to develop. They become the 'map' or 'guide' by which any number of religions might be compared.

The typological method suggests that learning in any area functions in this way, that is, with an understanding and grasp of basic elements, which then become the 'map' or 'guide' for further learning. So, in developing language and speech, the basic elements (or 'types') are the letters (a, b, c, etc.) and learning to form and sound them. These letters, and knowing how to use them, guide us through the formation of words (i.e. developing a vocabulary) and on to the higher learning involved in putting words into sentences for the purpose of essays and books, as well as speech. However far one goes in the process, one is always relying on the most basic knowledge ever gained (i.e. knowledge of the basic 'types', called 'the letters of the alphabet. A similar case could be made out for Mathematics and the primary value of its basic 'types', called numbers (i.e. 1, 2, 3, etc.). Notwithstanding recent trends in Process-Conference Writing, for instance, which tends to work from sentences back to words, then back to letters, still the role of the basic elements (letters) in further literacy is maintained. Similarly, the modern environmental forms of mathematics tend to begin with life and work towards the numerals but the central role of the basic building-block (number) is still present.

Typology suggests that effective learning in any area will follow something of this methodology In Science, knowledge of formulae, elements and theories are fundamental; in History, an understanding about dating and events and, in Religion, a recognition of rituals, myths, beliefs, etc, is necessary for further learning. As it was said of Smart's phenomenological approach so it could be said of typology that it simply wants to let

people understand about the different 'trees' before attempting to characterize the 'forest'; alternatively, it wants students to 'find their feet in the shallows before learning to swim in the deep'. The path to literacy in any area must be measured out wisely: it cannot be demanded of the average 5 year-old that he/she write a 1000-word essay or tackle Differential Calculus. Neither should the five year-old be hit too hard with the sophisticated concepts of religion (i.e. God, Son of God, Heaven, Hell, etc. before being offered knowledge the basic elements of religion.

A Kindergarten or Year 1 R.E. lesson following the Typological model, therefore, might consist of exploring a selection of stories, and perhaps a ritual or two from different religious traditions. Stories are the 'bread and butter' of Infants' education, anyhow, so R.E. should take advantage of this to begin developing knowledge of one of the basic religious 'types'.

In this model, we find elements of the other Inter-faith models already noted. In particular, it addresses the same issues and holds to the same desired end as Smart's Phenomenological model. Whereas it could be said of Smart's model, however, that it is a little light on practical recommended classroom practice, the same could certainly not be said of typology. This latter is a prime example of a model for curriculum devised with great consciousness of, and constant reference to, general educational parameters. Moore's and Habel's work takes account of the most recent thinking in the worlds of Developmental Psychology and of Curriculum Theory.'

Moore and Habel recognize that, as with any other subject, R.E. students will require the development of a range of skills and a gathering of a good deal of information before their interpretations of religious phenomena can be intelligible or their personal experiences of it placed on a solid foundation. As with any study, the development of higher skills rests, in part, on the acquiring of more basic ones. If the phenomena of religion are to be understood for all the meanings they contain, it is essential that a student be familiar with the language and parameters of religion:... inherent in the concept of a religion ... is the concept that it is an integration of relatively discrete components".'

B.The Importance Of The Home Tradition

The Typological model is very much like the other Inter-faith models in that it is, by its very nature, cross-cultural. The study of a select number of different religious traditions is necessary in order for the pattern of elements or 'types' to be noted, confirmed and understood. In this sense, it is an ideal Inter-faith

model, yet there is one aspect which distinguishes it from the other models studied so far.

There appears to be an assumption in many inter-faith approaches which suggests that a study of religion could be an identical process for a Hindu, a Christian, a Baha'i or an atheist. The Typological model rejects this: for Moore and Habel, the religious examples one has come to know in one's own tradition make up the primary subject matter of any course of study.' Before one enters upon a formal study, one has come to know and recognize certain 'types' of phenomena as religious, or at least as being generally described as such. One has come to this under standing, not through experiencing religion as a generic thin, but through a particular religious tradition. The educational process must, then, reflect this. Moore and Habel propose a typological approach which begins unapologetically with the home tradition of the student.'

C. A Six Stage Model

Presuming the student has been exposed, at least partially, to one or other version of the Christian tradition, let us say, then Stage One of the learning model involves careful selection of a phenomenon, or 'type', to be found in Christianity. Here, the model can be seen to be equally adaptable to the confessional or non-confessional arena: whether the ultimate intention is to promote confessional awareness or more general religious literacy, the typologists argue that the process will begin and end with an exploration of phenomena from the student's own tradition. A Year 10 study which began by selecting Confirmation', let us say, as an example of a Christian Initiation Rite, could achieve both a fuller understanding of Christian ritual and of religious ritual in general. Granted that the phenomenon, in this case, 'Confirmation', has been selected, Stage Two then becomes an identification of the generic 'type' to which Confirmation most closely corresponds:

"A major concern of typology is to bring the insights gained from a wider cross-cultural study of religion to bear on any particular area ..."

It is not easy to characterize any phenomenon. For the moment, however, let us simply say that Confirmation can be seen to be a ritual of sorts presumably, a ritual of initiation This is sufficient to allow us to mope on to Stage Three.

Stage Three then becomes an application of Stage Two to a selection of non-Christian examples of the 'type'. Moore and Habel are not specific about how many examples to select, nor whether they should be exclusively religious or not. They simply recommend that as many examples be chosen "... as necessary and practicable to establish the type by designating its most characteristic components".'

Presumably, then, a range of .rituals could be chosen, especially those which mark out some transition or initiation in a person's life. These could range from non-religious examples (like being inducted into a club) through to other religious examples (like marriage). The best examples of all would be those from a non-Christian religion which parallel Confirmation in the Christian tradition (e.g. the Jewish Bar-Mitzvah or an Aboriginal Coming-Of-Age ritual). With all the examples, the intention is to trace a pattern of characteristic components; in other words, the goal is to produce another 'map' or 'guide' by-which to dissect, analyze and better understand any ritual. At the very least, one might conclude from this stage, for instance, that any initiation ritual can be seen to have a starting point, a central point and a finishing point. Even a 'map' as simple as this would help us to analyse other rituals.

Stage Four then applies the 'map' devised within Stage Three to the original selected 'type', in this case, Confirmation within the Christian tradition. By this stage, a fair exposure to pubescent rites of initiation generally has been gained, so that the student should be in a good position tope Confirmation for what it is to discern its internal structure and to compare and contrast it with other similar rites.

Stage Five then sets out to:

"... Locate the phenomenon in the wider context of the (Christian) tradition"

This is the stage when interpretation becomes the chief skill called for. In other words, the student is now challenged to go beyond the mere description of the ritual to see what. part it plays

in its own tradition. Again, the student should be prepared for this to some extent because, within Stage Three, part of the exposure of other initiation rituals would, presumably, have included some degree of interpreting its place within its own tradition. At this point, the model offers an almost endless array of

Opportunities to explore other dimensions of one's home tradition. The sorts of 'springboard' questions which might be asked include:

... How does this ritual express some of the basic and distinctive beliefs of Christianity?

... What Christian myths and parables provide the foundation for this ritual?

... Are there any Christian texts which provide justification for this ritual?

... How is this ritual related to other major rituals in this tradition?

... What can we learn from this ritual about the way Christians worship?

... What can we learn from this ritual about the nature of the Christian God?

... Are there any ethical implications associated with this ritual?

Having placed the ritual in its context and seen how it relates to other aspects of the tradition, Stage Six then becomes an even more huge interpretation of the total tradition:

"Here the attempt is made to utilize the insights gained from both stages 4 and 5 to interpret the phenomenon"."

The sorts of questions which Moore and Habel recommend for this stage include:

... What does the rite of Christian initiation mean for believers? ... Why do we need these sorts of rites?

... Can people become Christians without such rituals?

... How does Confirmation compare with similar rites in other traditions?

... Are there more effective non-religious rituals which mark out initiation into adulthood in our society?

... If Christian initiation is structurally similar to rites in other religions, does this fact tend to devalue it and detract from its significance?

D. An Educational Critique

As has been noted, one of the distinctive contributions of the Typological model is in the attention of its authors to educational thinking in other areas. Moore and Habel devote an entire section of their work to detailing current developmental psychologies (especially those of Piaget and Kohlberg) and drawing out implications for R.E.'2 While they make no pretence at being specialists in this, in the way of a Fowler, they do, nonetheless, go beyond Fowler in making their implications eminently practical. Their sense of workable and appropriate classroom strategies, related to sound developmental theory, is a highlight of their book.

Equally, Moore and Habel are conscious of the categories and distinctions of modern curriculum theory; they devote another section of their work to detailing the practical relationship of these to their own approach to R.E . "Interestingly, they make specific reference to Stenhouse's work, in this regard."

Certainly, their model appears to cater well for the broad range of functions which Stenhouse advocates for education (seepage 17). Students are encouraged in the more technical training and instruction functions by learning to describe and detail - to list and compare, to gather sufficient historical and contextual data related to any religious 'type' in order to make sense of it. They are also encouraged in the more interpretive initiation and induction functions by learning to locate' the religious 'type' and by the effort to get in on the 'inside', to try to see what the experience of the 'type' means for its participants.

Perhaps, the single greatest educational strength of typology is in its very method. As has been illustrated, it has been devised with consciousness of, and constant reference to, the rest of education. One gets the feeling-that Moore and Habel are familiar with the way education actually works in the classroom, as well as with the many theories about it. They have brought their theoretical and practical knowledge together to create a model which can work a alongside other subjects at any level of schooling; best of all, they show us how to design a program of work for all the levels from K/1 to Year 12. Certainly in Australian terms as well as international terms, their work marks a gigantic contribution to the field. Perhaps, the one aspect of modern educational thinking which has not been integrated into the Typological model in quite the way it might have been is the 'Critical Theory' notions of Habermas and company. While Moore and Habel certainly do address the need for senior students to face up to the problematic of religion and its inter-relationships with society, they offer only a fairly dislocated critical focus in a study which appears almost to be 'tacked on' to the end of their K/1-12 sequence.

Certainly, Moore and Habel do not seem to have integrated the critical perspective into their total scheme in the way in which Groome has. To me, there seems to be plenty of room for welding the critical perspective further into the scheme: the progression through the six stages would appear to lead logically towards an ultimate critical dimension, and the parameters of Stage 6 seem to lend themselves to a full-blown critical perspective. Perhaps, this exposes an area for further development within the typological framework. More will be said about this in the following chapter.

E. A Theological Critique

As already suggested, Moore and Habel have developed a model which can be as attractive within the confessional arena as within its natural home. the non-confessional arena. It manages to preserve all of the benefits of the other Inter-faith models ... benefits which have been alluded to as theologically sound. In particular, it maintains the right of each individual student to freedom in matters of religion. It sets up parameters for a study of the subject which allow, and even encourage, a student to consider what all this means for him or her, without in any way intruding on the personal' space' of a student, in the way in which Specific R.E. models could be seen to do.

In this, its debt to the thinking of Smart, who encouraged student participation and imaginative involvement without overtones of proselytization, is obvious. Yet, as we have seen, Moore and Habel go further than Smart in a way which should make this model particularly attractive to confessional religion educators. Whereas the home tradition of the student was not of central importance to mart, it is to Moore and Habel. In fact, there is a tendency within most Inter-faith models for the student to be encouraged to ignore his/her own personal background and religious stance, to attempt to be 'objective' and highly 'scientific'. This is a view of objectivity and of science which is not shared by Moore and Habel. For them, it is not only impossible, but highly undesirable, that a student should disregard what has been her/his primary learning and formation wit 1 regard .to religion. For them, this primary experience must become the linchpin for effective further learning within the R.E. program.

Here, then, teachers and students are not only licensed, but are encouraged, to pay as much attention to the home tradition as to the study of other religions. Moore and Habel have pro- vided a framework which makes these two elements indispensable to each other. this way, general religious literacy and greater knowledge about one's own faith tradition and experiences are seen to be two sides of the same coin. Moore and Habel have provided a sound theological framework for the beginnings of a truly integrated version of R.E.

Section C An Integrated Model

As has been noted, there has been a tendency, in recent times, for confessional religion educators to become disenchanted with Specific, or Faith-forming, R.E. models, be they of the more traditional or innovative types. As has also been noted, this has led to much interest in the various species of Interfaith models which have developed primarily to meet the needs of a non-confessionally based study of religion. By and large, these models can be seen to be a little more educationally sound and avoid some of the theological difficulties of the Specific models, especially those related to religious freedom and narrowness of focus. As such, they have proven to be of enormous worth to the Church-based religion educator, battling to place the subject on equal footing with other subjects in the curriculum. Nonetheless, these models are often judged to be deficient for all the purposes of confessional R.E. After all, while many of the goals of confessional and non-confessional R.E. might be the same, there will, no doubt, be some objectives and demands which differ between the two arenas. This has led, in very recent times, to research aimed at drawing the best out of the Inter-faith models and making them applicable to the needs of confessional R.E. This effort has resulted in what I choose to call an Integrated Model of Religion Education.

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