Random Thoughts on Theological E

 

 

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Random Thoughts on Theological Education

Seth Godin, an innovative thinker and marketeer gives a fresh perspective and reminds us what may be a problem with our pedagogy in Stop Stealing Dreams. He writes,
 

What is school for?

The economy has changed, probably forever.

School hasn't.

School was invented to create a constant stream of compliant factory workers to the growing businesses of the 1900s. It continues to do an excellent job at achieving this goal, but it's not a goal we need to achieve any longer.

In this 30,000 word manifesto, I imagine a different set of goals and start (I hope) a discussion about how we can reach them. One thing is certain: if we keep doing what we've been doing, we're going to keep getting what we've been getting.

Our kids are too important to sacrifice to the status quo.

Here, Godin questions the schooling instructional paradigm. It is interesting to note that while most disciplines (medicine, social sciences, humanities) have moved away from this paradigm whose main mode of pedagogy is the lecture, this seems to be the mainstay in theological education. There seems to be a lot of support for the lecture as the main mode of content transference. However there may be another agenda for the theological professors' support of lectures. Some professors have indicated in private discussions that their sole support for the lectures is that in preparing lectures help them in writing their books!
 
About the same time that Godin posted his 'manifesto', there is this interesting article in Christianity Today March 2012, The Missing Factor in Higher Education about whether 'secular universities' impart moral values. The implication by the author Perry L. Glanzer is that only evangelical Christian colleges do. While that is debatable as evangelical colleges become more and more like 'secular' colleges, Glanzer underscores his argument by stating:
 
Research shows that Christian, particularly evangelical, institutions demonstrate a marked moral difference in five areas: (1) faculty attitudes; (2) Bible, theology, and ethics in the curriculum; (3) measured or reported impact on character or moral attitudes; (4) students' moral reasoning; and (5) alumni views about moral education.
 
Is there a conflict in both views? If both authors are correct, then the implication to me is that theological education should be more than just the the pedagogy. Yes, I agree with Godin that the schooling paradigm as the main mode of pedagogy should be abandoned. But that is not the the whole answer to improving theological education. The key to theological education should not be only be content management but also role modeling by the teaching staff , the community ethos (culture) and relationships building in a Christian faith community.

 

 

12 March 2012

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