Anzats 2011

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Anzats 2011

  1. 1. INCORPORATING STUDENT EXPERIENCE AND TRANSFORMATIVE LEARNING INTO CURRICULUM DESIGN & PLANNING OF UNDERGRADUATE THEOLOGICAL DEGREES COUNCIL OF DEANS OF THEOLOGY
  2. 2. Behind the Project <ul><li>Uncovering Theology 2008 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>more mature experienced students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>transformative experience in theological education </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Aim </li></ul><ul><ul><li>to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the undergraduate theological education curriculum in providing an increasingly diverse population of theological students with a transformative education </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Scope <ul><li>All theological HEPs in Australia </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Universities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>ACU, CSU, Flinders, Murdoch, Newcastle, Notre Dame </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consortia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>ACD, ACT, MCD, SCD </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stand-alone HEPs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Alphacrucis, Avondale, CHC, Harvest, Harvest West, Tabor Adelaide, Tabor Victoria, Moore, PBC, Wesley </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>50 teaching campuses </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Research Methods <ul><ul><li>Literature survey on transformative learning, with particular reference to theological programs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Historical and Current Curriculum Document Analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Student Surveys, Focus Groups, Interviews </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Faculty Interviews </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Church Leaders, Employers, Graduate Interviews </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Workshop </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Findings to Date <ul><li>Curriculum Development </li></ul><ul><ul><li>historical </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>current </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Student Profile </li></ul><ul><ul><li>at entry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>initial expectations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>transformative experiences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>life experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>most valued subject areas </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Learning and Teaching </li></ul><ul><ul><li>institutional focus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>content, skills, methods </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Curriculum Development 1973-2010 <ul><li>High degree of uniformity in course design and content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>biblical studies + systematic theology + limited church history </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>+ philosophy in Catholic tradition </li></ul></ul><ul><li>1990s-2010 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>inclusion of ministry skills, especially in BMin programs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>more in Bible colleges than in mainstream denominational systems </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>mainly class-room teaching with some field placement or practical project work </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>increase in Supervised Field Education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>still relatively minor electives </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>limited pedagogical rigour </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>No clear evidence of intentional or strategic connection with a student’s prior life experience </li></ul><ul><li>No clear evidence of intentional transformative learning </li></ul>
  7. 7. Student Profile: at entry <ul><li>Age </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Very few under 20 (6%) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Most between 20-40 (64%) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Prior Education </li></ul><ul><ul><li>45.5% have prior bachelor or post-graduate degree </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>27% have post-secondary certificate/diploma </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Assumptive Tensions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>all are blank sheets with no prior knowledge or study skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>all are at same stage of readiness for theological study   </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Students’ Initial Expectations <ul><li>Most common aspiration </li></ul><ul><ul><li>acquisition of deeper theological/biblical knowledge accompanied by personal spiritual development </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Other </li></ul><ul><ul><li>acquisition of practical ministry skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>but not outcome of paid vocational employment </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>interpersonal relations & cultural issues are not as important as knowledge and personal development  </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In terms of goals , cognitive learning & skills development are more significant than personal transformation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>attractiveness of “transformation” may not be as strong as suggested by the colleges’ promotional material </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Students’ Transformative Experiences <ul><li>Personal transformation has been a common outcome of theological study </li></ul><ul><ul><li>reaching full potential rather than radical change </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Intense personal challenge involved in critical study of sacred texts and doctrines </li></ul><ul><ul><li>with resultant strengthening of levels of faith and tolerance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>but also lack of spiritual support for such intense struggle </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Expansion of intellectual horizons and critical thinking </li></ul><ul><ul><li>broadening of tolerance towards other theological & ecclesial positions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Greater degree of simultaneous humility and confidence in terms of personal identity and role  </li></ul>
  10. 10. Emergent challenges <ul><ul><li>Should such transformative development be </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>allowed (by happenstance) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>fostered (by encouragement) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>or strategized (by planning)? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(How) should schools support such personal struggles? </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Students’ Life Experience <ul><li>Little evidence of any intentional connection between theological study and prior life experience </li></ul><ul><ul><li>only occasional and incidental intersection </li></ul></ul><ul><li>More intentional (though not necessarily strategic) linkage with current experience </li></ul><ul><ul><li>esp in areas of ministry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>esp associated with field placements, integrated with or parallel to the degree program </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Experiential application happened more via the community of theological education than by the content of the curriculum </li></ul><ul><ul><li>lecturers and student cohort very significant agents </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Emergent challenges <ul><ul><li>(How) can prior life experience be used as an enrichment springboard for theological studies? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(How) can integration of contemporary life situations be expanded beyond the currently dominant preparation for professional ministry? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(How) can the role of the theological community be used more strategically in such integration? </li></ul></ul>
  13. 20. Emergent themes <ul><li>Cognitive aspirations </li></ul><ul><li>(trans)formative experiences </li></ul><ul><li>Pivotal role of lecturer and theological community in transformative experiences </li></ul><ul><li>Need of pastoral support throughout transformative experiences </li></ul><ul><li>Issues of modern pedagogy </li></ul>
  14. 21. Learning and Teaching Institutional Focus <ul><li>Need to define the primary raison d’être of your institution </li></ul><ul><li>In terms of student development, which area is the most important focus in your school? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Biblical/theological knowledge </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Practical ministry skills </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Personal growth </li></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 22. Balance in Curriculum <ul><ul><li>Content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Historical truth </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Contemporary world </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Professional performance </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Personal applications and engagements </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Methods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Scope for creativity </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Modern pedagogy </li></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 23. Problem Solving Appreciative Inquiry “ Felt Need” Identification of a Problem Analysis of Causes Analysis of Possible Solutions Action Plan (Treatment) Appreciating Valuing the Best of “What Is” or “Where I have come from” Envisioning “What Might Be” Or “What I might become” Dialoguing “What Should Be” or “What I should become” Innovating “What Will Be” Or “What I will become” Basic Assumption: Person Has/Organization Is a problem to be solved Basic Assumption: Person is a Continuing Work in Process With Past/Existing Successes that can be built on
  17. 24. Still to come <ul><li>Stakeholder Interviews September-October </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2 Faculty; Academic Board Chair/Dean of School; Church Leaders/Employers; Graduate </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Workshop </li></ul><ul><ul><li>April 2012; Dissemination of Findings; Articulation of Best Practices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Or Good Practices in Various Contexts </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Communications </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Brochure; Newsletter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Website; Blog </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Final Publication late 2012   </li></ul></ul>

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