About the author: John Coman is currently Senior Education Leader with the Diocese of Toowoomba Catholic Schools Office. Prior to that he was a CaSPA Principal at St Mary's College Toowoomba
In our current context, the answers to questions about what does the Catholic identity of a school look like and how do we develop and nurture it, do not have simplistic checklist type answers. We need to re-examine our thinking and mind frames so that they are relevant to today and at the same time honour Catholic tradition. We also have to consider the context in which schools operate if we are to find meaningful answers to these and similar questions. In a largely secular age where the practice of religion has fallen markedly, it is essential for Catholic schools to be clear about what they offer in terms of curriculum offerings, approaches to teaching and learning and how this inter-relates with a Catholic world view.
In conjunction with the rollout of the Australian P-10 National Curriculum, the Australian Government sponsored the development of the National Framework for Values Education in Australian Schools. Supported by significant resourcing to implement the framework, the reviews of the school-based projects that ensued were distilled into a second report which set out the principles of good practice in values education. These include: "establish and consistently use a common and shared values language across the school; explicitly teach values so students know what the values mean and how the values are lived; and, implicitly model values and explicitly foster the modelling of values."