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Teachers Notes

Church History Module

The Church History module of RESource assists Religious Education teachers to find reliable online resources to help them prepare and present lessons and lesson sequences in the study of Church History. It is constructed in such a way so that teachers can see a logical progression in the study of various aspects of church history, and also see how valuable a historical perspective is in understanding the Church in the present day.

Introductory Presentation

An illustrated chronology (yet to be developed) will introduce s the Church History module . It showing shows key events and people from the time of the apostles and the early church through to modern times.

Six Categories

The Church History module is made up of six categoriess; five dealing with chronological eras and one devoted to the history of the Catholic Church in Australia. These are Early Church, Medieval Times, Renaissance and Reformation, Early Modern Church History, Twentieth Century Church History and Australian Church History.

Within each category there are various topics. Some of these take a broad view, examining large movements with many effects and implications for human society and the Church, e.g. Luther and the Beginnings of the Reformation. Other topics will be more local in scope, e.g. the History of Catholic Education in Australia (coming soon). Naturally it will be sometime before this The Church History part of RESource is yet to be fully developed.

The RESource Approach

Each object topic in the Church History opens with a snapshot which highlights some key points. Then, using the internet as a tool, the topic is developed in five stages which examine context, characters, events, and consequences leading to an exploration of the topic’s impact in our own time.

Church History on the Internet

There is an enormous amount of primary source material available on the internet, which makes it a great resource for learning. However, many sites are fairly challenging for students, particularly in the junior and middle years. RESource hopes to help teachers work with these primary sources as well as directing them to secondary sites that are (if not always impartial) fair and balanced in their commentary on history. Many sites provide access to excellent online learning but, as always when using the Internet, be care ful should be taken in selecting sites to ensure that an evaluation of their authenticity, reliability and quality has been undertaken prior to their use as a resource with students. A useful rule is to a void any site whose purpose seems to be to stir up antagonism, dislike or distrust.

The Internet for Religious Studies site has a fine section advising Internet users on ways to identify reliable sites. In addition it is necessary to read some reputable histories and introductions to the topics you will be teaching. This is important because it will familiarise you with both the subject matter and with some of the critical questions around it. Moreover, reputable books on history go through a process of screening, editorial comment and correction that websites do not. There are no comparable checks and balances on material posted on the internet, and it is difficult to judge the reliability and worth of online data unless you have some background in the subject matter.

Core Resources

On the front page of each topic arena there is a Core Resources section which contains general history materials. This section is organised under a series of headings.

An introductory article explains Why Church History is Worth Studying.

Using Primary and Secondary Sources recommends a couple of sites which explain how to work with historical source documents.

Sources and Sourcebooks directs teachers and students to online texts that are relevant to their studies.

Timelines points to three or four chronologies already on line .

Background and Introductory Sites directs searchers to any good general historical sites relative to the topic but not specifically about it.

Topic Outline

Each topic is introduced by a trailer ‘snapshot’ or some photographic material intended as introductory stimulus material, and occasionally as a help to reviewing work.

Understanding the Context

Provides background to the particular historical topic/era being studied, putting it in its social, cultural and religious context.

Introducing the Characters

Looks at the lives of key people who played a significant part in the unfolding history of the period/movement.

Focusing on the Events

The section which tries to ‘get the facts straight’ about events, while appreciating that history is a interpretative discipline and always reflects the response of its recorders as well as what actually happened.

Examining the Consequences

Looks at the immediate results of the events under examination. Colloquially speaking, this section looks at the question ‘What happened next?’

Exploring the Impact in Our Own Time

Examines the long term effects of events, persons or schools of thought, particularly the impact felt in our own time. Evaluation and application, the ‘so what?’ of history, is important in this section.

The Church History section of RESource assists Religious Education teachers to find reliable online resources in the study of Church History.