Friday, July 8, 2011

theology and pedagogy

I've just finished reading Models of Religious Education: Theory and Practice in Historical and Contemporary Perspective, and it occurs to me that pedagogy really always arises out of theology. If you look at the reasoning and theory under the "techniques" of pedagogy you find assumptions about:

  • The fundamental nature of humans
  • The purpose of life
  • The ultimate goal of personal development
  • The desired society
  • The right balance between the needs of the individual and those of the community
  • Right relations between persons, especially older persons to younger persons, authority figures to those under their authority
To me, all of these are theological questions, because how I understand the ultimate truth, or don't understand it, directly leads to all these other understandings.

This was addressed in graduate school as "philosophy", and I'm fine with that word also. But I wish that grad school hadn't left out all these religious figures who were also educational theorists and practitioners. In grad school we studied Socrates, Rousseau, Locke, then Dewey, Piaget, and Vygotsky. We also had to study Freud and Erikson. But what about the many centuries when education was primarily conducted by the church? What about Augustine, Luther, Calvin?

If teaching is a theologically rooted act, and I believe it is, then it would be behoove all teachers to examine it honestly from that perspective.

p.s. here is why I don't care whether you call it philosophy or theology:

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. [1][2] It is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument.[3] The word "philosophy" comes from the Greek φιλοσοφία (philosophia), which literally means "love of wisdom".[4][5][6]

Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary. [1] Without further qualification, the term is generally understood to refer, specifically, to Christian theology.

I don't much see the difference, but of course that is influenced by the nature of my theology. :) Everything is is influenced by that!

No comments:

Post a Comment