The Catholic identity of schools today is being challenged by processes of pluralisation and secularisation. While school communities used to be considered more or less homogeneous, nowadays schools are characterised by increasing diversity and a diminishing interest in the Catholic faith tradition, among students as well as teachers. How can schools today maintain and strengthen their Catholic identity, whilesimultaneously remaining open to diversity and otherness? How can the Catholic faith traditionstay relevant for young people today in a way that takes their individuality into account? The model of the Catholic Dialogue School, developed at the Catholic University of Leuven, provides a theological framework and a pedagogical strategy for schools that want to enhance their Catholic identity. On the one hand, it supports principals and teachers in ‘translating’ Catholic teachings so that they become more life-giving and inspiring for students. On the other hand, it encourages schools to enter into dialogue with other traditions and ideologies that are present at school and in society. After all, it is through this dialogue that one’s own identity can be strengthened and deepened in a mutually enriching process. In the words of Pope Francis: “If there is one word that we should never tire of repeating, it is this: dialogue. We are called to promote a culture of dialogue by every possible means and thus to rebuild the fabric of society. “[…] This culture of dialogue, which should be included in all lesson programs like a red thread, will help teach young generations to avoid and resolve conflicts in a different way than we’re used to.” Through five extensive modules of this MOOC, you will become acquainted with a new vocabulary and theological framework regarding Catholic school identity. You will learn, in an active way, about several quantitative instruments to assess the Catholic identity of your school – alongside practical theological instruments to strengthen and enhance it.
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