|dc.description.abstract||The "ultimate aim" of the recently introduced Religious Education Curriculum for Catholic Primary Schools of New Zealand is "to assist children to develop a relationship with God ...... always recognising that this depends on each child's free faith response" (Curriculum Statement 1996, p.l2). This study examines the use of metaphor in the Religious Education Curriculum, with respect to a metaphors role in enabling children to demonstrate "free faith response". There are four stages to the study. Firstly, metaphor theories are reviewed in order to gain an understanding of what a metaphor is and how it works. Semantic theories provide differing descriptions of metaphor whereby the metaphoric meaning of a statement is reached by an 'interaction' between the subjects of a metaphor. Max Black's theory is representative of a semantic approach. Semantic theories cannot adequately account for fresh and creative metaphor. A pragmatic approach, as posed by the analytic philosopher Donald Davidson, suggests that theories should consider what a metaphor does, not what it means. Davidson submits that metaphors have special effects not special meanings, however he cannot within the parameters of his approach provide a thorough description of these effects. The debate between the pragmatist and the semanticist is a case of the two parties talking past each other. An integration of both approaches is needed; initially Searle's theory fulfils these requirements. A continuum that represents the degree of effect a metaphor can have is established.
The second part of this study establishes a framework that highlights the effects different metaphors have, building on the views of Richard Rorty to highlight the different stages in language evolution. Four generic types of metaphor are discussed: "fresh"(e.g. the Church is a broken pencil), "comparative"(e.g. A priest is a servant of God), and "didactic" metaphor (e.g. the Lord is our shepherd) and "metaphoric assumptions"(e.g. God is Love). The effect of each of these differs.
The third part of this study presents examples of metaphor used in the Religious Education curriculum. In order to provide an overview, a description of the chosen strand is included and achievement aims are listed. Each of the three chosen examples includes a description of the material taught, an explanation of the teaching sequence, and a discussion of the metaphors used.
The thesis then uses the framework of analysis developed in the earlier chapters to examine the effects of using certain types of metaphors and how they may permit a free faith response. It argues that fresh metaphor is the most indicative of an environment that would permit a free faith response. Analysis of the examples shows the curriculum primarily uses comparative and didactic metaphors. Comparative metaphors are used to provide an explanation, while didactic metaphors are used to persuade and assist in adopting a particular model. The role of fresh metaphor and education is discussed, and also difficulties relating to presenting fresh metaphors in a Religious Education curriculum. It is concluded that teachers of Religious Education should strive to incorporate 'fresher' metaphors into their teaching.||en_NZ