Article Title

Early childhood teachers' confidence to teach religious education and the influences which impact their teaching of religious education in Catholic primary schools


This article reports findings from a study that examines the factors which influence early childhood and care (ECEC) early career teachers’ confidence in teaching Religious Education (RE) and how it impacts their teaching of RE in Catholic primary schools in Western Australia. Teachers’ confidence is a teacher’s belief in their ability to accomplish a goal and refers to strength of belief. Research in this area has shown that confidence is correlated with the sense of teaching efficacy and responsibility for student learning. Whilst there has been some research into teacher confidence, there has been insufficient research into early childhood teachers’ confidence to teach RE in Catholic schools in an Australian context. Literature supports the notion that if early childhood teachers have a strong teacher confidence for a subject, they are more motivated to teach the subject and this has a positive correlation with positive student outcomes. The epistemological approach underpinning the research is constructivist in nature; therefore, it is based on understanding the constructed realities of what humans know of the world and themselves as produced by communications and systems of meaning. Three case studies follow teachers from their early career to second-year experience in Catholic schools. This study investigates support structures and aspects that contribute to teacher confidence in the teaching of RE. The main themes identified by the data that contributed to confidence or lack of confidence included training, family and religious backgrounds, teaching and learning, mentoring and support in the first year of teaching. The implications of the results for pre-service teacher training and support for graduate teachers are discussed and some suggestions are offered about the courses provided by universities and what schools and education systems can do to support early career teachers to teach RE effectively in Catholic schools.


confidence, early childhood and care, religious education, teacher education, early career teachers

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