Student perceptions of faith integration


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Linda Sasser

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Student perceptions of faith integration

  1. 1. Linda SasserJudson University ICCTE May, 2012
  2. 2. Integration of faith and learning (IFL) is majorfocus at most Christian higher learninginstitutionsOften referred to as “thinking Christianly” or“holding a Christian worldview(Lawrence, Burton, & Nwosu, 2005)Faith based schools often only employ facultywith strong faith commitmentResearch addresses whether and how IFL occursFaculty differ in degree and manner in which theypractice IFL (Lawrence et al., 2005; Bower (2010)
  3. 3. Bower (2010): How faith influences academiclearning in graphic design courses Wide range of interpretations of IFL by faculty Connections are mostly personal, relational, immediate and spontaneous IFL accomplished through daily conversations, prayer, being transparent, using religious concepts
  4. 4. Hardin, Sweeney, and Whitworth (1999):Faculty perceptions in teacher educationcourses IFL important, easy to do in teacher education “How” is up to individual faculty Suggestions: Faculty model Christian faith/values Syllabi reflect emphasis on IFL through objectives and course activities Faculty include reflection on IFL in class discussions
  5. 5. Sherr, Huff, and Curran (2006, 2007): Salientintegration of faith and learning Need to learn from students whether IFL occurs Focus group interviews with social work students Two main indicators perceived: Faculty relationships with God Faculty competence with IFL curriculum coverage and classroom setting Negligible amount of empirical studies suggest additional research needed to enable faculty to enhance IFL efforts in classroom
  6. 6. Burton and Nwosu (2003): Student perceptionsof IFL in teacher education classes One course over three terms Five question survey completed in class (n=44) Asked about definition of IFL, whether it occurred in class and through what experiences Asked whether IFL experiences would help with professional practice and outside the class Results: IFL defined as teaching and learning processes, connections between faith and subject, classroom atmosphere modeling Christian values
  7. 7. Lawrence, Burton, and Nwosu (2005): Focus onstudent perceptions of locus of IFL Students believed IFL was occurring Perceived instructional strategies/procedures as evidence of IFL, hence more of a teacher activity Conclusion: Necessary component for IFL is pedagogical approach in which attention is given to help students develop ability to integrate faith in content
  8. 8. Eight item survey (Survey Monkey)Emails sent to all teacher education students inSpring, 2012 23 students in Certification Only program 95 traditional undergraduate teacher education studentsReminder sent three days laterFinal reminder sent two days before surveyclosed (available a total of 10 days)
  9. 9. Response rate for survey was 58/118 (49%) 50 of 93 traditional teacher education students (54%) 8 of 23 Certification Only students (35%) Question #1: Approximately how many education courses have you taken at Judson?Figure 1a Certification Only Figure 1b Traditional Students58% of students responding have taken 7 or more courses
  10. 10. Question #2:Please explain your understanding/interpretation ofthe concept of “integration of faith and learning”(hereafter referred to as IFL). Most comments addressed connection between faith and content learning Some comments focused on how faith plays a role in learning content Some emphasized role of faith in future teaching
  11. 11. Representative comments: “Looking at the subject with a Christian perspective” “Showing the subject matter through the lenses of a Biblical, Christian worldview” “Looking at secular topics with a Christian view. God is in everything and that includes things we learn in school” “Faith is incorporated into all aspects of learning.”
  12. 12. At least six students indicated that IFL involvesshowing your faith through your actions andlessons when you are teaching.Three students identified IFL as devotionals orprayer before classThree explained IFL as the professor modelingfaith through his or her teachingmethods, conduct, and conversationOf the 58 students who responded to thesurvey, only two stated either that they werenot familiar with this concept or had “no idea.”
  13. 13. Question #3: Think about all the educationcourses you have taken or are currently takingat Judson and indicate to what extent, onaverage, IFL occurs in them, selecting from thefollowing options:1= Never2= About once or twice during a semester3= At least 5 times during a semester4= In 50% or more of class meetings5= In nearly every class meeting
  14. 14. 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% C.O. 0% TraditionalThe majority of both the Certification Only (87%) and thetraditional students (78%) indicated that, on average, IFLoccurs in at least half of a class’s meetings during asemester.
  15. 15. Question #4: What specificcharacteristics/behaviors do educationprofessors exhibit (either in or out of class) thatcontribute to IFL? 45% - devotions 48% - prayer 34% - professor is kind, caring, helpful 24% - professor models/is open about faith, or demonstrates Christian commitment in lifestyle 12% - professor integrates faith/Scripture with lesson/content
  16. 16. Professor Characteristics/Behaviors that Contribute to IFL70%60%50%40%30%20%10% C.O. Traditional0% Combined
  17. 17. Results were similar to those obtained by Burtonand Nwosu (2003) and Sherr, Huff, and Curran(2007); their respondents saw IFL in faculty who: Demonstrated commitment to faith Showed care and concern for students’ personal as well as academic growthA notable difference is that students in thepresent study did not mention specific teachingmethodology (role playing, inquiry training, etc.)
  18. 18. Question #5: What specific IFL experiences doeducation professors provide in the classroom? 14% - could not recall/no idea (38% C.O., 10% trad) 48% - prayer 48% - devotionals 30% - connections between faith and subjectSample comments regarding IFL: “relating class content to faith” “how subjects we are discussing may relate to our spiritual beliefs” “give samples of connections of learning to faith”
  19. 19. Question #6: In what ways, if any, do you viewIFL in your education courses as being helpful toyou beyond the classroom or in your futurecareer as a teacher?Optional item: approximately 72% respondedResponses were varied, some general71% - “helpful” in: Showing Christ through how they teach, relate to students Their own personal/spiritual growth Knowing how to embed spiritual truths in their teaching
  20. 20. Question #7: Was IFL one of the reasons youchose to attend a Christian university? 12.5% Certification Only students: Yes 56% traditional students: YesDifference may reflect reason C.O. studentscome to Judson C.O. Traditional Yes Yes No No
  21. 21. Question #8: Please select the option that best represents your view of the statement:I believe I am learning, through my educationcourses, to integrate my faith with my learning. 7% - 1=Strongly disagree 5% - 2=Disagree 19% - 3=Neither agree nor disagree 48% - 4=Agree 21% - 5=Strongly agree For C.O., 50% Agreed or Strongly Agreed, and for traditional it was 77%
  22. 22. Majority of students responding agree that: IFL means studying disciplines through the lens of a Christian worldview and making their faith visible through the way they teach IFL is taking place in at least half of their education courses (according to their interpretation of it) They experience IFL through devotions and prayer, and through professors’ lifestyle choices/modeling of Christian virtues, being kind/caring, and integrating faith and Scripture with content They are learning through these courses how to achieve this integration IFL will help them be better teachers and furthers
  23. 23. Representativeness and size of sampleOpen-ended nature of questionsFuture research could use focus groupinterviews with students, and with facultyResearch could survey/interview students inother courses, or in teacher education at otherinstitutions
  24. 24.
  25. 25. Bower, L. (2010). Faith-learning interaction in graphic design courses in protestant evangelical colleges and universities. Christian Higher Education, 9, 5-27. DOI: 10.1080/15363750902973477Burton, L. D., & Nwosu, C. C. (2003). Student perceptions of the integration of faith, learning, and practice in an education methods course. Journal of Research on Christian Education, 12(2), 101–135. Retrieved from wer/pdfviewer?sid=38d16217-64a6-4ba7-ac80- bd24428249e1%40sessionmgr111&vid=2&hid=110Burton, L. D., & Nwosu, C. C. (2002). Student perceptions of the integration of faith, learning, and practice in a selected education course. Paper presented at the Fifth Biennial Symposium Coalition of Christian Teacher Educators “Educating for Life,” Calvin College.
  26. 26. Hardin, J., Sweeney, J., & Whitworth, J. (1999). Integrating faith and learning in teacher education. Paper presented at the Extended Annual Meeting of the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education. Retrieved from, T.A., Burton, L.D., & Nwosu, C.C. (Spring 2005). Refocusing on the learning in “integration of faith and learning.” Journal of Research on Christian Education, 14(1), 17-50.Rasmussen, J.B., & Rasmussen, R.H. (July 30,2009). The challenge of integrating faith-learning-living in teacher education. The ICCTE Journal, 1(1). Retrieved from h ttp:// rasmussen/
  27. 27. Sherr, M.E., Huff, G.E., & Curran, M.A. (2007). Student perceptions of salient indicators of integration of faith and learning (IFL): The Christian vocation model. Journal of Research on Christian Education, 16, 15–33.Sherr, M.E., Huff, G.E., & Curran, M.A. (2006). BSW student perceptions of salient integration of faith and learning indicators. Social Work & Christianity, 33(1), 58-76.
  28. 28. Chart Title 9% 10% 1st Qtr 2nd Qtr23% 58% 3rd Qtr 4th Qtr
  29. 29. 654 Series 13 Series 2 Series 32 Series 410 Category 1 Category 2 Category 3 Category 4
  30. 30. 141210 8 Series 3 6 Series 2 4 Series 1 2 0Category Category Category Category 1 2 3 4