Learning in a New Way

July 20, 2020

by Greg Henson, President

Over the past several weeks, we have looked at how following Christ is an invitation to be transformed by the renewing of our mind.  We have learned that when Paul refers to the “mind” he has much more in view than we have traditionally understood.  Transformation requires us to break from the molds in which we are often so comfortable.  This can be a challenging – even disorienting – process because it invites us to become aware of and then to reconsider what has shaped us.

We are learning that one of the more disorienting aspects of the transformation we are experiencing in Kairos is related to how it requires learning to be understood, practiced, and assessed in new ways.  Historically, the academy, the church, and really modern culture in general, have approached learning as the process by which one acquires knowledge.  Over the years, we have attempted to include things like “praxis” or “field education” but have done so from a pretty limited perspective – one in which the goal is still “knowing” ideas or content.  Our definitions of excellence, measurements of quality, systems of assessment, and priorities have all been shaped by one particular stream or tradition wherein “content” (and only particular types of content) is the most important aspect of learning.

Over the next few weeks, we are going to explore what it means to approach learning in a new way.  We will ask questions like:

  • What are standards of excellence and where do they come from?
  • Is there a more robust way to think about knowledge, one that encompasses whole life discipleship?
  • How do we ensure quality in a new paradigm of learning?
  • What might we need to let go of in order to embrace a more holistic way of learning?
  • Does student learning assessment need to look different in this approach?
  • Is there a way to approach contextual theological education that keeps us from being developed in an echo chamber?  That is to say, how do we learn alongside the “fellowship of differents” that is the Body of Christ while simultaneously learning to engage faithfully in our local context and theology?

I am sure we will bump into a few more questions along the way and even change some of these as we go.  Stay with us each week as we reflect on what we are learning and what it might mean for the future of theological education.

We will begin with a deep dive into standards of excellence!

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