A social cognitive framework for examining the work of Catholic religious education teachers in Australian high schools
Religious education in Australian Catholic High Schools is the raison d'etre for the Catholic education system and religious education teachers are critical to this mission. This paper offers a framework for investigating the self-efficacy of religious education teachers. We first describe the nature and context of religious education in Australian Catholic schools. We argue that the teaching of religious education presents a set of unique challenges to teachers, compared to teaching other disciplines in the curriculum. Next we review the extant literature on Social Cognitive Theory, and self-efficacy as it may apply in this context. Then we look at likely constructs that may impact upon teacher self-efficacy for teaching religious education: collective efficacy, teachers' implicit theories about student ability and student faith, and the intrinsic spirituality of religious education teachers. We present a theoretical framework for examining the self-efficacy of religious education teachers, and we argue for research in this area that has not been studied hitherto, making this a unique contribution to the field of the psychology of religion, and to practitioners.