Saturday, March 6, 2021

Online education considered by Romanians in Canada

(Romanian-CA) - On February 22 and 23, 2021, His Grace Bishop Ioan Casian met with the priests, teachers and coordinators of the Sunday Schools within the Diocese.

"This year is the Homage Year of the Pastoral Care of Romanians abroad in the Romanian Patriarchate, and right now all of us are called to pay special attention to the religious education and the planting of the Orthodox Christian values ​​in the diaspora," said Bishop Ioan Casian.

Priests, teachers and coordinators of Sunday Schools in the three Deaneries of Canada, presented and discussed the current situation, the difficulties of a year marked by restrictions and with a very high impact on children and young people. The methods and alternatives used to continue religious education among the youth of the Diocese were also discussed.

Sharing the experiences of previous years and observing current trends and realities, the option of virtual schools alternating with the traditional school (in person) was widely discussed. It has been suggested to use online platforms that can offer young people and children the opportunity to learn through play and image without neglecting, when health regulations allow, the return to school at the Church. Some participants expressed concern about the impact of the virtual environment on interpersonal relationships but also highlighted the benefits of the online environment that offers the possibility to stay connected between young people. There was also talk of the extensive use by the new generation of the electronic devices as a form of communication and information.

The issue of harmonizing and clarifying the Sunday School curriculum in the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Canada was also addressed, starting from parishes that have a rich experience in the field of religious education and extending it to those at the beginning of the road. In this regard, the possibility of sharing existing information through online access to practical workshops and teaching modules was discussed. The creation of a virtual school of religion under the auspices of the Diocese of Canada has been suggested.

This year, instead of the Olympic competition, as a viable alternative, it was discussed the plan to organize an annual gala-contest or an annual group project to help participants acquire information about language and faith using information from the online environment but encouraging teamwork. In this way children are encouraged to interact with each other, to develop and build their own projects which they then present to others.

Both the coordinators and the participating priests appreciated the wealth of ideas and experiences that shared periodically can provide benefits and encouragement to both children, teachers and parents. 

The series of meetings will continue in the coming weeks and a working group will be set up to work on the theme of religious education and youth ministry. 

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