Volume 16: Issue 3 – July 2013
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Teaching with Complicating Views: Beyond the Survey, Behind the Pro and Con
Reid B. Locklin
In this article I propose a method of selecting and assigning readings in the religious studies or theology classroom, such that these readings complicate one another, rather than standing in opposition or as simple alternatives. Such a strategy emulates key pedagogical insights of twelfth-century sentence collection, an activity at the very heart of the earliest universities in Europe. It also draws support from the theories of intellectual development advanced by William G. Perry, Jr. and the Women's Ways of Knowing Collaborative. Both precedents suggest a principle of “complicating views” that can be flexibly employed in a variety of ways and diverse pedagogical contexts, as illustrated by examples from several classes. Such strategies aim to avoid reinforcing intellectual patterns of dualism or undifferentiated relativism; instead, they attempt to promote students' ability to integrate discordant voices and to appreciate diverse points of view, while also staking their own claims relative to them.
Hidden Treasures in Theological Education: The Writing Tutor, the Spiritual Director, and Practices of Academic and Spiritual Mentoring
Lucretia B. Yaghjian
Mentoring is an important but often overlooked resource in theological education and students’ academic and spiritual formation. This essay profiles the mentoring practices and postures of the writing tutor and the spiritual director as exemplars of academic and spiritual mentoring. An extended probe of this analogy affirms the integration of academic and spiritual formation as a core value in theological education; identifies mentoring in theological education as a hidden treasure fostering this integration and warranting attention as a theological practice; and re-envisions the theological practice of mentoring under the traditional rubric of the “care of souls,” embracing the relational, educational, formational, spiritual, and rhetorical dimensions of this practice.
IN THE CLASSROOM
• Demystifying and Disentangling the Aims of Religious Education
• Textual Detective Work
• Responses to “Sketching the Contours of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion”
Reid B. Locklin
Joanne Maguire Robinson
Nadine S. Pence
The three short essays collected in this manuscript respond to Patricia O'Connell Killen and Eugene V. Gallagher's “Sketching the Contours in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion,” published in issue 16, no. 2 of this journal (2013). See additional responses by Charles R. Foster, Stephen Brookfield, and Pat Hutchings published in Teaching Theology and Religion.
• Teaching Oppressive Texts
Claudia V. Camp
Jane S. Webster
Scholars have identified the many stories in the bible that are oppressive to women or other minoritized groups. It is remarkable how common it is that North American undergraduate students remain blind to the oppression that is depicted and that is too often the result of commonly accepted interpretations of these texts. Three brief essays collected here, originally presented as part of a panel at the Society of Biblical Literature (Atlanta, 2010), present various teaching strategies for exposing the oppressive elements in the biblical text and showing how the oppression operates (an aspect of ideological criticism). What are good strategies for communicating these hard points to students in a way they can hear them and work with them? Why is this important to do?
• Using Twitter to Teach Reader-Oriented Biblical Interpretation: “Tweading” the Gospel of Mark
Robert Williamson, Jr.
Twitter offers an engaging way to introduce students to reader-oriented interpretation of the Bible. The exercise described here introduces students to the idea that the reader has a role in the production of a text’s meaning, which thus varies from reader to reader. Twitter enables us to capture the real-time thoughts of a variety of respondents to the text of Mark as it is read aloud. Students can concretely observe the effects of particular textual moments on individual respondents as well as analyze their general interpretive stances with regard to the text as a whole. Students come to grasp that the meaning of the text varies depending on the reader, setting the stage for more complex theoretical discussion of reader-response theory, the reader’s role in the production of meaning, the adjudication of “allowed” and “disallowed” interpretations, and the appropriateness of “reader-response” criticisms for texts that were composed to be encountered orally.