During this stage, as maturity sets in, students form a personal identity (“I am who I choose to be”). In terms of faith development, Westerhoff describes the great illumination or enlightenment that can take place for students during these years as they move from searching faith to owned faith. What they do (or don’t) believe is no longer the faith of their parents, teachers or friends, but their own. Westerhoff suggests that owned faith is God’s ultimate intention for everyone, even though most people never achieve this level of faith development.
In terms of development of moral reasoning, Kohlberg reminds us that young people in this age group can start to develop principled conscience, where they show respect for the rights and dignity of all human beings, not out of a sense of law abidance, but out of a deeper moral understanding that it is the right thing to do. Teachers can help students deepen their moral understanding through discussion around moral dilemmas where students explore these issues from different points of view.
To capitalise on these developmental milestones, the Biblical Foundations curriculum in Years 10 – 12 will focus on choosing what to believe and choosing how to live, with students choosing to make a difference in the world as the culmination of the curriculum framework. Learning will mainly be through studying the Bible, critical thinking discussions about ethical, moral and Biblical concepts and practical projects where students can make a real difference themselves.