Welcome to the Winter 2014 ICCTE Journal Issue
Letter from the Editor
Exploring Spirituality in Teaching Within a Christian School Context Through Collaborative Action Research
Alaster Gibson, Bethlehem Tertiary Institute, Tauranga, New Zealand.
This article reports on a collaborative action research project conducted in New Zealand, during 2012, exploring spirituality in teaching within a Christian school context. The experienced primary school teacher participant chose to take action around the issue of personal fear and insecurity which were believed to be hindering professional growth and relationships. Through self-directed inquiry, critical reflective journaling, Bible study, fellowship and prayer with trusted friends, the teacher experienced a renewed sense of peace and freedom in Christ. This personal transformation was believed to be influential on subsequent professional practice, assisting the teacher to become more relational, responsive and compassionate. The findings provide a rich description of the participant’s spirituality, the lived reality of a person’s spiritual life. This report will be of interest to teachers, teacher-leaders and teacher-educators who desire to explore Christian spirituality through practitioner-led inquiry.
Researching the Teaching Context: Faithful Practice
Geoff Beech, National Institute for Christian Education, Australia
Christian teachers are called to a teaching practice that is biblically grounded or based on a biblical world and life view, but can the same imperative be applied to those wishing to conduct research in Christian education contexts? This paper considers one approach to qualitative methodologies that considers the ultimate goal of truth-seeking in research in the sciences to be a deeply religious activity. The ultimate goal of biblically grounded research is proposed as being greatest-commandment driven, and to accomplish this, an epistemological base that is holistic and relational is proposed. This epistemology moves from a biblically oriented sense of both being and purpose to bring a level of redemptive engagement with social phenomena. Such research is seen in the context of unhiding and/or reclaiming God’s truth to bring transformation and reformation to research subject individuals and communities. The paper includes references to philosophical bases such as reformed critical realism and methodological constructions such as critical ethnography.
Addressing Cultural Pluralism from an Evangelical Christian Perspective
Jeanette L. Hsieh, Louis B. Gallien, Jr., and Jillian N. Lederhouse, Wheaton College
The complex issues surrounding cultural pluralism are rapidly turning the public square into a battlefield that divides our country. As Charles Haynes summarized, “At issue for this nation, as for much of the world, is the simple but profound question that runs through modern experience: How will we live with our deepest differences?” (Haynes, 1994). At a time when many citizens of our diverse nation have become disillusioned with the motto e pluribus unum, the Christian higher education community deals with issues involving race, ethnicity, and gender through a variety of responses ranging from isolationism to unqualified inclusion.
The Postmodern Paradox: How the Christian Scholar has Both Declined and Thrived as a Result of Postmodernism’s Influence in Higher Education
Patrick Otto, Oral Roberts University and Lani M. Malcolm, Cameron University
The Christian scholar faces an interesting paradox concerning postmodernism’s influence in higher education (Edlin, 2009). One of the key components of the modernism paradigm was the ability for humans to reason (Pells, 2007). Universities were based largely on a model in which young adults were expected to first acquire knowledge, principles, and skills, and then later apply that which was learned to their career ambitions, citizenship, or professional development (Willis, 1995). But in the 1960s and 1970s, higher education began to face increasing social pressure as the ideas of modernism associated with knowledge acquisition, power, and authority came under scrutiny and were replaced with plurality and skepticism (Maranto, Redding, & Hess, 2009). This trend largely grew out of the ideas of French philosopher Jean-Francois Lyotard and his work The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (Cary, 1999). Postmodernism has declared Christian scholarship null and void. Conversely, it has unintentionally reignited the quest to understand the spiritual nature of mankind and the world. Thus, Christian scholars have an opportunity to re-engage in a dialogue that had appeared to be closing (Martini, 2008). Ultimately, the Christian scholar must be grounded in an understanding of Biblical principles and open to the empowerment of the Holy Spirit if in fact they are to carry forth the great task of protecting the Truth with which they have been entrusted (2 Timothy 1:14) and they must not shy away from the conversation.
Heart-Deep teaching: Engaging students for transformed lives.
HeeKap Lee, Azusa Pacific University
Teaching has been and continues to be “the most universal and appreciated role of the Christian ministry through the ages” (Nouwen, 1971, p. 10). However, the teaching in churches has not made a positive impact on the young. According to Ham and Hillard (2009, p. 31), over 60% of children who grow up in the church will leave it as young adults. Christian churches need to understand the Gospel’s call to develop human potential to the fullest through what Newton terms heart-deep teaching.
How should Christians in vocations respond to this situation? As the author of this review and as a teacher by vocation and a pastor by calling, how should I revitalize the church’s education policies? Heart-deep Teaching: Engaging Students for Transformed Lives provides a unique way to revitalize Christian education by focusing on key theoretical and practical methods to stimulate deeper student learning in church settings.
The shaping of an effective leader – Eight formative principles of leadership
Glen Green, Azusa Pacific University
The Shaping of an Effective Leader has been fundamentally encouraging to me in the area of leadership because I have been fortunate enough to be a recipient of the leadership of the author. Serving on my dissertation committee, Gayle Beebe encouraged me to development a Christian theology of suffering. He recommended reading the works of Diogenes Allen, Lawrence Bowker, Herbert Lockyear, Henri Nouwen, as well as others. In our meetings to discuss these works, it did not take long for me to discover that I was in the presence of one of the most Christlike individuals I had ever encountered. The knowledge, skills, and dispositions of leadership modeled to me by the author are reflected in the principles of this work.
About the Journal
The ICCTE Journal is a scholarly community for Christians in Teacher Education.