Prof. Adrian-Mario Gellel

Prof. Adrian-Mario Gellel

Prof. Adrian-Mario Gellel



Room 323
Humanities A (Laws,Theology,Criminology)
University of Malta
  +356 2340 2663
Prof. Adrian-MarioGellel is a full Professor in the Department of Early Childhood and Primary Education (Faculty of Education) and in the Department of Pastoral Theology, Liturgy and Canon Law (Faculty of Theology).
His main areas of interest are Symbol Literacy, Child and Adolescent Spirituality, Religious Education and meeting individual differences in the classroom. His academic interests led him to convene the International Conference on Children's Spirituality (2005), the International Conference EARLI SIG19 Religious and Spiritual Education Conference (2011), the International Conference on Catholic Religious Education (2018) and the International Association for the Study of Youth ministry European Bienale (2018).
Between 2009 and 2011 he served as a Theological Advisor to The Center of Spiritual Development in Childhood and Adolescents, Minnesota, USA. Between 2011 and 2016 he acted as external Ph.D examiner and External Programme reviewer for Dublin City University, Waterford Institute and the Australian Catholic University
He developed and coordinated the Master of Arts in Youth Ministry and the Master of Education in Symbol Literacy. Together with Prof Buchanan he edited the Global Perspectives on Catholic Religious Education in Schools (Springer 2015).
Between 2006 and 2010 he was appointed by the Catholic Church in Malta as the National Coordinator for Religious Education in Schools for the Catholic Church. Among other, during his term of office he coordinated and led the publication of the consultation policy document Religious Education in Malta: Reflections by the Catholic Community.
In 2017 he has been appointed Honorary Fellow at the Australian Catholic University.
  • Symbol Literacy
  • Children's Spirituality
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Adaptive Education
  • Religious Education
  • Youth Ministry

BUCHANAN, M.T. and GELLEL, A., eds, 2019. Global Perspectives on Catholic Religious Education in Schools. Volum II: Learning and Leading ina Pluralist World. Spiringer.

GELLEL, A., 2019. Children and Spirituality. In: L. ZSOLNAI and B. FLANAGAN, eds, The Routledge International Handbook of Spirituality in Society and the Professions. London: Routledge, pp. 120-126.

GELLEL, A., 2019. The Power of Symbols in Pop Music: A case study of 2017 hits. In: M. STRAMAGLIA, ed, Pop Cultures: Sconfinamenti alterdisicplinari. Lecce: Pensa Multimedia, pp. 87-112.

GELLEL, A., 2019. Rethinking Catholic Religious Education in the Light of Divine Pedagogy. In: M.T. BUCHANAN and A. GELLEL, eds, Global Perspectives on Catholic Religious Education in Schools
Springer, pp. 39-49.

SULTANA, R., GELLEL, A. and CARUANA, S., 2019. Teacher Education in Malta. In: K.G. KARRAS and C.C. WOLHUTER, eds, International Handbook of Teacher Education Worldwide. Vol. 2. 2nd edn. Nicosia: HM Books, pp. 397-414.

GELLEL, A., 2018. The language of Spirituality. International Journal of Children’s Spirituality, 23(1), pp. 17-29.

GELLEL, A., 2018. Metaphors and Symbols in Popular Music as exemplified in Katy Perry’s Music and Music Videos. In: A. HÄGER , ed, Religion and Popular Music: Artists, Fans and Cultures. London: Bloomsbury Academic., pp. 11-27.

GELLEL, A., 2018. Towards a Symbol Literacy Approach in the Education of Children. International Journal of Children’s Spirituality, 23(2), pp. 109-121.

GELLEL, A., 2017. Putting Catholic Religious Education on the Map. Revista Pistis & Praxis: Teologia e Pastoral, 9(3), pp. 699-720.

GELLEL, A. and ROSSI, C., 2017. Of Lamps & Clay Vessels: towards the Validation of Non-Formal and Informal Learning of Youth Leaders in church Youth Groups. Malta: Pastoral Formation Institute and Malta Catholic Youth Network.

GELLEL, A. and IMBARACK DAGACH, P., 2016. La educación como un ministerio central de la comunidad católica. PEL Pensiamento Educativo, 53(2), pp. 1-4.

BUCHANAN, M.T. and GELLEL, A., eds, 2015. Global Perspectives on Catholic Religious Education in Schools. Netherlands: Springer.

GELLEL, A., 2015. The Interdisiplinary Imperative of Catholic Religious Eductaion. In: M.T. BUCHANAN and A. GELLEL, eds, Global Perspectives on Catholic Religious Education in Schools. Cham, Switzerland: Springer, pp. 23.

GELLEL, A., 2014. An Emerging Approach to Spiritual Development through Religious Education in Maltese Schools
. In: J. WATSON, M. DE SOUZA and A. TROUSDALE, eds, Global Perspectives on Spiritual Education
New York: Routledge, pp. 58-70.

GELLEL, A., 2013. Popular Music as a resource for the Religious Education Classroom. A study through Lady Gaga's Judas. Religious Education Journal of Australia, 29(1), pp. 28-33.

GELLEL, A., 2013. Responding to the challengs of Globalization through an education anchored in Christian anthropology. In: M.T. BUCHANAN, ed, Leaderships and Religious Schools: International perspectives and challenges. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 13-31.

GELLEL, A., 2013. Traces of Spirituality in the Lady Gaga Phenomenon. International Journal of Children’s Spirituality, 18(2), pp. 214-226.

GELLEL, A. and SULTANA, M., 2012. Aspects of Feminine Spirituality in the Maltese Village Festa. In: R. GOTHONI, ed, Religious Experience. North and South. Bern, Swizerland: Peter Lang, pp. 199-229.

GELLEL, A., 2012. The spiritual life of Maltese adolescents attending Catholic Schools. In: T. VAN DER ZEE and T. LOVAT J., eds, New Perspectives on Religious and Spiritual Education. Munster: Waxmann, pp. 235-250.

GELLEL, A., 2011. Adaptive Religious Education at the service of inventiveness: A scientific way of being creative and effective in Religious Education. The Person and the Challenges: The Journal of Theology, Education Canon Law and Social Studies Inspired by Pope John Paul II, 1(1), pp. 99-111.

GELLEL, A. and BUCHANAN, M.T., 2011. The Impact of cultural religious values upon pre-service teachers perceptions of their role as educators in Catholic religious schools. Journal of Beliefs and Values, 32(2), pp. 317-327.

  • EPE1013 - The Art and Science of Learning and Instruction
  • EPE2006 - Nurturing the Spiritual, Moral and Religious Dimensions
  • EPE2018 - Tapping on Funds of Knowledge
  • EPE2019 - Becoming Symbol Literate
  • EPE5004 - Spiritual, Moral and Religious Education
  • EPE5017 - General Pedagogy
  • LLI5009 - Subject-based Pedagogy and Methodology
  • LLI5010 - Practicum for School-based Mentoring
Living Together: Towards Understanding Each Other's Culture
This two-year project aims to provide a series of 8-hour educational sessions, develop a
handbook and a digital application intended to give essential information about the beliefs,
customs, religious etiquette and practices of the various worldviews currently found in
Malta. The project aims to directly reach 100 TCNs and another 300 professionals in the
health, social work and educational sectors as well as a wide audience through the
dissemination of the cultural orientation tool.

This project is conducted in collaboration with the Inter-Religious Commission of the
Catholic Church as well as the Malta Ecumenical Council and with the support of a number of
local faith communities. It is co-financed by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Funds
(AMIF) of the European Union.

Symbol Literacy
The Symbol Literacy Project is a pedagogical approach that is being implemented in various
state and church schools with the participation of over three thousand students between the
ages of four and eleven.

The Symbol Literacy approach is a conscious education towards the formation of a symbolic
repertoire by helping children to read symbols in art, architecture, rituals, and stories. It
aims to:
- increase children's cultural capital
- help children make meaning of the wisdom passed on to us by previous generations
- develop children's creativity and higher order thinking skills
- enable children to observe, read and construct metaphors
- nurture the spiritual and moral dimension of children
- enable children to understand reality through an interdisciplinary mode.
Research in this area is showing that such approach, not only increases children’s cultural
capital but it also helps children to foster a mindful attitude and develop those skills that
are essential to the education of a literate child.

The project is conducted in collaboration with the National Literacy Agency and the
Metropolitan Cathedral Museum.