Accompanied learning in religious education
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This article introduces a new approach to religious education; that of accompanied learning. Whilst not an explicit pedagogy, its practicality lies in the cognitive architecture it derives from Christian anthropology. Its catechetical philosophy is distilled from the rich patrimony of post-Vatican II Church documents on catechesis and religious education. Accompanied learning has a profoundly Christocentric dynamism that views the learner–teacher relationship as an intensely individuated experience which is nevertheless communal in its setting and approach. Whilst this approach is reliant on the notion of teacher-as-witness it is sensitive to contemporary realities and proposes a path to witness for religious educators who may be disconnected from regular religious practice. In addition to exploring the learner–teacher relationship, this article also maps out a mystagogical understanding of the spiritual dynamism between the teacher and the person of Jesus Christ that engenders theosis. Nevertheless it remains firmly grounded in the taxonomy of the sensory-cognitive and affective dimensions of pedagogical discourse. It describes an educative relationship that allows the teacher to co-operate with the theandric actions of Christ, bringing to that relationship the threefold virtues of educational skill: the art, the science and the gift of educating. This aspirational synthesis views accompanied learning as intentional and formative; taking its inspiration from the universal call to holiness: Jesus calls us to total commitment to Himself—“the way, the truth and the light.” (John 14:6)
KeywordsAccompanied Learning Relationship Syntheandric Witness Catechesis Religious education
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