Dr Patricia Kieran


Patricia Kieran lectures in Religious Education at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. She teaches Christian and multi-faith Religious Education to undergraduate and postgraduate pre-service teachers. She previously lectured in Theology and Religious Education at Newman University College, Birmingham.

With Anne Hession, she is co-author of books on Catholicism, theology in an intercultural context, and children and Religious Education. She has published chapters and articles on the subjects of Catholic education, Roman Catholic modernism, inclusive religious education, gender and inter-religious education. She edited, with Thomas Grenham, New Educational Horizons in Contemporary Ireland: Trends and Challenges (Peter Lang, 2012) and, with Gareth Byrne, Toward Mutual Ground: Religious Pluralism in Educational Practice in Ireland (Columba, 2013). Her forthcoming book is on inter-belief dialogue in contemporary Ireland (Veritas, 2017).

Patricia is a member of The Enquiring Classroom (TEC) Erasmus+ Project, which supports creative enquiry-based methodologies for dialogue about religions, beliefs and values in the primary and post-primary classroom in Europe.


Inter-belief Dialogue and Belief Circles in Catholic Schools


This workshop explores the opportunities and challenges of dialogue about religions and beliefs in Catholic schools in Ireland. It will begin with a very brief overview of the rationale and nature of Inter-Belief Dialogue (IBD) in Catholic schools. A number of key principles for respectful dialogue in Catholic schools in a modern multi-belief democratic society will be explored. Key skills of empathy, perspective-taking, curious engagement and sensitivity will be explored through the use of an innovative practical TEC classroom methodology called Belief Circles. Belief Circles scaffold classroom discussion about what really matters to children of diverse faiths in a safe space.

The workshop will provide an opportunity for invited members of diverse belief and religious communities in Ireland to engage in a practical dialogue with congress participants as they talk about the opportunities and challenges of living their conviction or faith in contemporary Ireland.