The use of developmental theory in Christian education, though invaluable, has led to several insufficiencies in practice, namely intergenerational fragmentation, a diverted focus from scriptural engagement, and the tendency to box people in according to their developmental capacity. We propose that the church’s historic method of educating believers, catechesis, is a preferable educational framework that re-centers Christian education around the historic faith, brings generations together, renews focus on Scripture, and rigorously challenges believers to continuously grow in their faith.
Keywords: catechesis, Christian education, human development, educational theory, theological education, social science, interdisciplinary studies.
Teaching that cultivates Christian transformation requires conversation, not just as a small component in the teaching process, but conversation as the overarching pedagogical framework and catalyzing force of transformational learning. This article aims to demonstrate the necessity of conversational teaching by discussing the meaning and magnitude of conversation as a force for learning and change; the progressive recognition of conversational epistemology in history; and how conversational teaching maximizes the interdependence of conversation and cognition as well as the social nature of knowing in relationship with God and all other aspects of life and faith. Reflections on life-changing encounters with Christ illustrate the transformational power, meta-components, and specific practices of teaching via conversation.
Key Words: conversational teaching; social epistemology; Christian transformation; and Christian education
Annotated Bibliography on Transformational Teaching
Finding God in the Graffiti: Empowering Teenagers Through Stories. 2012. Frank Rogers, Jr. Pilgrim Publishing.
Teaching as a Sacramental Act. 2004. Mary Elizabeth Mullino Moore. Pilgrim Publishing.
Teaching and Christian Practices: Reshaping Faith and Learning. 2011. Edited by David I. Smith and James K.A. Smith. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
The Teacher’s Way: Teaching and the Contemplative Life. 2005. Maria Lichtmann. Paulist Press.
Teaching that Transforms: Facilitating Life Change Through Adult Bible Teaching. 2010. Richard Melick and Shera Melick. Broadman and Holman Academic.
Neuroscience, Psychology, and Religion: Illusions, Delusions, and Realities about Human Nature. 2009. Michael Jeeves and Warren S. Brown. Templeton Foundation Press.
The New Science of Teaching and Learning: Using the Best of Mind, Brain, and Education Science in the Classroom. 2009. Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa. Teachers College Press.
Connecting Brain Research with Effective Teaching: The Brain-Targeted Teaching Model. 2003. Mariale M. Hardiman. R & L Education.
Experience The Mystery: Pastoral Possibilities for Christian Mystagogy. 1994. David Regan. The Liturgical Press.
Effective Bible Teaching. 2012. James Whilhoit and Leland Ryken. Baker Academic.
Mary McLeod Bethune's life epitomized her philosophy of Christian education. With a sense of divine destiny, clear vision, and daily awareness of God's presence and purpose, Mary Jane McLeod Bethune, the daughter of freed slaves, became the most influential black woman of her times in the United Sates. Along with the establishment of the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute for Negro Girls, later Bethune-Cookman College, Mary Bethune served as president of many national organizations and held leadership appointments under Presidents Coolidge, Hoover, Roosevelt, and Truman. Her life of profound faith and service left a contagious legacy of perpetual spiritual and social transformation.