My seminary, Biblical Seminary, focuses on teaching excellence when choosing new professors. We want teachers who are experts in their field but who can also teach. Hence, we had a daylong seminar yesterday about teaching adult learners. We discussed and explored a number of things (e.g., what do adult learners want, how do they best learn, the uses and limits of PowerPoint, etc.). But this one line stuck with me that I have re-written to apply to my own field:
Does how you teach counseling courses model the kind of counseling you wish your students to emulate?
For example. If humility and dialogical/interpersonal factors are big in counseling, do we teach that way or do we just do straight lecture and/or get defensive when others disagree with us?
I think we do a pretty good job with the attitudinal side of things. We try hard to model listening and humility. However, I think I still struggle with the interactive side of teaching. And here’s my defense for that struggle 🙂
1. Classes I teach tend to be higher order with complex and very specialized content (e.g., psychological testing, psychopathology, reliability, validity, research, ethics, etc. ). Some information has to be delivered by me via lecture.
2. Several of these courses last just 6 weeks. There is no time to meander and muse in these classes.
3. The emphasis on PowerPoint leads to spending inordinate time building quality slides and away from contemplating more interactive learnings.
Despite these complications I’m going to try to pay more attention to hands on learning. I want us to emulate our kind of psychological practice.
One response to “Teaching style and outcomes”
Your comment about seeking excellent teachers for Biblical and your personal struggle with mastering the quality of impersonal materials brings us an interesting problem; the ‘intellectualization of the gospel’. For the last two days, I was at a Paul Tripp conference concerning the dangers of the ministry. The first danger on his list was the ‘intellectualization of the gospel’. Knowledge is wonderful. I love it and pursue it. I have my masters from Biblical. I wish I would have gone on for my doctorate. But I find pastoring and counseling to be eighty percent or more relational. If my memory is right, all of my teachers in ‘83’ had pastoral backgrounds and many were serving as pastors or elders. Is that still true?
God is a God of relationships. It starts with the Trinity. Pastors and counselors who can not build and maintain relationships are simply destructive to the gospel. If we are preparing men and women for the ministry, is there a way to teach ‘relationship’ in the classroom? If we can’t teach ‘relationship’, is it possible to keep intellectualism from overwhelming relationship? Is it possible to weed out those who are prone to destructive relationships, so they do not enter the ministry? Better than that, we have the ministry of reconciliation from God. Are we reconciling and restoring those who exhibit imbalance and destructive habits, so God can use them in a 2 Co 1.4 manner?