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Volume 1, Number 1: The Challenge of Integrating Faith-Learning-Living in Teacher Education

The Challenge of Integrating Faith-Learning-Living in Teacher Education

Jay B. Rasmussen and Roberta Hernandez Rasmussen

Summary: Teacher educators from member institutions of the Coalition for Christian Colleges and Universities are currently challenged in an unprecedented way. The challenge is to satisfy increasingly rigorous state and national teacher education standards and to fulfill the commonly held mission of Coalition institutions to integrate faith-learning-living. The research presented in this article traces the long history of integration and presents various theoretical integration models commonly supported by educators at Christian colleges and universities. This article suggests meeting the challenge in part through an original six component integration model with potential value for Christian educators representing various academic disciplines.

Teacher educators within Christian liberal arts institutions are faced with a Herculean task as we enter the twenty-first century. Forces internal to the evangelical institution call for the integration of faith-learning-living. External forces such as the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and state boards of education embracing Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) require increased rigor in teacher education programs. In addition to these sometimes competing forces, educators are also required to keep abreast of an explosion in pedagogical research, participate in scholarly inquiry, collaborate with schools, and enter debates about public education. It is little wonder that Christian teacher educators are overwhelmed at times as they contend with a variety of forces vying for their attention.

The dual mission of meeting the intellectual and spiritual needs of pre-service and in-service teachers is a daunting, yet possible, task for the teacher educator. If either mission remains unfulfilled, the next generation of students in public and private schools will be void of the best teachers that evangelical Christian colleges and universities can produce. This article attempts to address the challenge by articulating an integration model with possible benefits to teacher educators and those representing varied academic disciplines. In the following discussion, we define integration of faith-learning-living. Next, we briefly trace the long history of such integration and then provide an overview of suggested integration models, strategies, and levels. Following that, we propose an original six component curricular model of faith-learning-living integration before ending with a set of conclusions about meeting the educator’s challenge of integration.

Integration of Faith-Learning-Living Defined

A great deal of conceptual clutter surrounds the issue of faith-learning-living integration because of unclear definitions of key terms. Badley (1994) considers faith/learning integration a slogan “in serious need of unpacking” (p. 17). For purpose of discussion in this essay, we have chosen to clarify what is meant through definitions suggested by Fischer (1989):

faith — what one believes in his or her inmost being.

learning — intellectual activity, the use of one’s mind, although learning in a broader sense includes the learning skills which may or may not require full exercise of the mind.

living — the application of faith and learning in the living of one’s life.

integration — bringing together that which is apart. (pp. 22-23)

We clearly view faith-learning-living integration as an intellectual activity that is a “journey rather than a destination, a process rather than a product” (Korniejezuk & Kijai, 1994, p. 99).

A Long History of Integration

There is a long and rich tradition associated with integration of faith and secular knowledge. According to Korniejezuk and Kijai (1994), the Jewish and Hebraic system of education emphasized theology as the main subject supported by other disciplines that facilitated understanding of faith. It wasn’t until the Renaissance period, with a rise in the scientific spirit of exploration, that the church failed to satisfy the quest of discovering the world (Rattigan, 1952). Further erosion of church influence in everyday life occurred during the Enlightenment (Badley, 1994).

Dockery (2000) highlights the fact that every college established in America before the 19th century was Christian based. The University of Pennsylvania and the University of Virginia were the first secular institutions. This changed as secularization and specialization “created dualisms of every kind-a separation of head knowledge from heart knowledge, faith from learning, revealed truth from observed truth, and careers from vocation” (p. 1).

After World War II, Protestant fundamentalism gave rise to an evangelicalism that was more responsive to the needs of general society and to higher education. According to Badley (1994) “evangelicals began to work consciously to recoup the losses of their forebears” (p. 16). It was this very evangelical resurgence that precipitated the growth of evangelical liberal arts colleges and seminaries (Carpenter & Shipps, 1987). Badley reports finding the first use of the term integration of faith and learning in a 1954 book by Frank Gaebelein entitled The Pattern of God’s Truth. Arthur Holmes, in his 1975 classic The Idea of a Christian College, further defined the process of faith and learning integration — the very reason for existence of Christian colleges according to Holmes.

Even though the history of faith-learning-living integration spans many centuries, according to Holmes (1994) “research in the area of integration of faith and learning on college campuses is just beginning” (p. 5). Researchers have found that few Christian institutions adequately address the issue of integration. Hobbs and Meeth (1980) reported that less than five percent of 535 Christian institutions are involved in integration as a primary or secondary effort. To be classified as Christian, an institution was required to be accredited and affirm a Christian commitment or to be organizationally related to a Protestant or Catholic body; seminaries, Bible institutes, and Bible colleges were excluded.

Perhaps one reason for the lack of implementation related to the much discussed topic of integration is that most current literature available to college educators on faith-learning-living fails to address practical application. Korniejezuk and Kijai (1994) observed that even with an abundance of literature on faith and learning integration “no comprehensive model addresses these questions: What does integration of faith and learning actually mean in operational terms? and How do teachers help students integrate faith and learning?” (p. 237). Korniejezuk and Kijai found that teachers, in general, possess little knowledge about how integration should be included in curriculum planning and classroom instruction. Hasker (1992) noted that Christian college faculty members, often trained in prestigious graduate programs of leading secular universities, typically receive “little or no guidance in relating their graduate training to their Christian faith” (p. 237). Dr. Constance Nowsu (1998) identified that “a lack of depth in the training and little or no provision was made for follow-up training” (p.8) did not allow for practice or internalization to occur. She summarized, “to learn about something is different from learning to do something” (p. 9).

Suggested Integration Models, Strategies, and Levels

Several approaches to integration have been described in the literature. Each of these approaches, albeit theoretical in nature, provides some insight into the integration process for the educator interested in the development of faith-learning-living. One such approach, with a philosophical basis developed by Holmes (1975, 1977) and systematized by Akers (1977), incorporates four teaching models: (1) complete disjunction, (2) injunction, (3) conjunction, and (4) integration or fusion.

Complete disjunction occurs when the educator dichotomizes the worlds of faith and living and focuses only on learning. The result for students, as one might expect, is a limited development of truth derived exclusively from empirical methods. Injunction is said to occur when the educator presents the separate worlds of learning and faith in a manner which emphasizes the differences. Conjunction occurs when the educator uses natural points of contact between subject matter and faith; partial versus complete integration occurs with this model. Integration (fusion) results when the educator presents a unified view of reality based on a Christian worldview. It should be noted that all four models are best thought of as falling on a continuum ranging from disjunction to fusion.

A second approach to integration, articulated by Nelson (1987), incorporates three strategies: the compatibilist, transformationalist, and the reconstructionist. According to Nelson, the compatibilist strategy “places a premium on the effort to locate and to integrate compatible elements indigenous both to the scholar’s Christian faith and to his discipline” (p. 317). The aim for a compatibilist is to exhibit unity between faith and scholarship. The transformationalist, unlike the compatibilist, finds some tension between faith and discipline. The transformationalist searches to identify common areas of insight and perspective and to identify those discipline areas which need transformation into a Christian orientation. The reconstructivist, even more so than the transformationalist, finds tension between faith and a given discipline. As a result of the tension, the reconstructivist attempts to rebuild the discipline to incorporate faith’s complete vision for the discipline. In elaborating on this approach to integration, Hasker (1992) concludes that these “three strategies may better be viewed as three points on a continuum, than as three mutually exclusive alternatives” (p. 6).

This three strategy approach is also suggested by Harris (2004) to integrate faith, learning, and living. However, he adds the two realms approach and false distinction approach before describing the compatibilist, transformationalist, and the reconstructionist. In this framework, the two realms approach actually is not integrative in that it supposes that “discipline knowledge and Christian faith exist in separate realms that are essentially mutually exclusive” (p. 223). The false distinction approach regards “all knowledge as one” thereby denying the need for integration. Both of these approaches dismiss the need for faith learning and living integration as they deny the need for it to intentionally and actively occur within the context of Christian truth and academic content.

Another approach to faith-learning integration was suggested by Korniejezuk and Kijai (1994). This hypothetical model is structured upon seven levels of deliberate integration. The authors stress that these levels are not necessarily a sequential design of hierarchical stages. The design of the levels include the following:

(0) Non-use — includes teachers who are unaware of the possible underlying world view expressed in their discipline, or a conscious effort has been made to not integrate a Christian worldview.

(1) Orientation — includes teachers who aren’t currently integrating faith but are interested in doing so.

(2) Preparation — includes teachers who sporadically connect Christian beliefs with the subjects they teach.

(3) Irregular, or Superficial — teachers at this level are conscious of a Christian worldview and understand an ideal approach to integration but fail to implement integration on a regular basis.

(4) Routine — includes teachers who have routinely incorporated their beliefs into their subject matter.

(5) Refinement — teachers at this level practice systematic integration and shift the focus from the teacher to the students; they view integration as a process that occurs in the minds and lives of students.

(6) Dynamic Integration — includes teachers who systematically integrate, are concerned with students’ integration, and who collaborate with colleagues to improve integration.

Curricular Model of Faith-Learning-Living Integration (FLLI)

The integration model described in this section was birthed during my (Jay) 19 years of practice as a teacher educator within Christian colleges and universities. We argue that this model, comprised of six interrelated components, provides a springboard for those interested in attaining the model of “integration (fusion)” described by Holmes (1975, 1977) and Aker (1977) as well as attaining the level of “dynamic integration” described by Korniejezuk and Kijai (1994). I believe that this model significantly responds to the call by Hasker and others for practical help with the integration task.

The Curricular Model of FLLI is comprised of six key components: college integration atmosphere, life of the educator, student background, instructional objectives, learning experiences, and assessment strategies (see Figure 1). Each of the six components is grounded in the research of faith integrators and pedagogical experts. The basic contention of the model is that integrators need to be “purposefully and consciously making faith connections throughout the formal or planned program of study” (Korniejezuk & Kijai, 1994, p. 80). The model also speaks to the need for “curricular coherence” as Badley (1994, p. 27) describes it.

Each component of the model is described and a series of questions are then suggested for educators consideration as they approach the process of faith-learning-living integration (see Figure 2).

College Integration Atmosphere

Students and educators do not operate in the isolation of a classroom. Experiences with dorm room discussion, chapel messages/worship/prayer, cafeteria conversations, student life programs, and faculty office visits all impact the educational experience. Clearly, the college atmosphere effects the faith-learning-living integration of students in profound ways. According to Dockery (2000), “The purpose of Christian institutions is to educate students so they will be prepared for the vocation to which God has called them, enabled and equipped with the competencies necessary to think Christianly and to perform skillfully in the world, equipped to be servant leaders who impact the world as change agents based on a full orbed Christian world and life view.” Research conducted with 41% of Taylor University alumni between 1983-1993 (Pressnell, 1996) found that peers had significantly more influence on faith integration than staff, administration, or faculty outside the student’s major. It was, in fact, peers and family, two groups existing outside the formal setting that most influenced faith and learning integration.

Arthur Holmes (1975) called upon the Christian college to realize its distinctiveness by cultivating “an atmosphere of Christian learning, a level of eager expectancy that is picked up by anyone who is on campus for even a short while” (p. 51). According to Holmes, this atmosphere is encouraged through information sharing during student recruitment, residence hall programs, curriculum, individual courses, campus publications, and counseling programs. I suggest that several other factors directly or indirectly influence college atmosphere — institutional mission statement, facilities, faculty accessibility, availability of extra-curricular activities, institutional governance structures, faculty development initiatives, faculty workload/compensation, and assessment programs.

With an increased interest in shared governance on Christian college campuses, faculty have increasing opportunity to shape the college atmosphere through meaningful participation in the college-wide decision making process. Without doubt, much work remains to be done in the area of faith community dimensions of being faith-full scholars and students (Badley, 1994). Sharing atmosphere/community building approaches with colleagues at other colleges can help springboard new initiatives across all Christian campuses. The integration work at Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies, shared by De Witt (1993), is a prime example of innovative approaches to atmosphere building.

As Director of Graduate Programs in Education, Jay requires professors to include and identify in their course syllabi learning objectives, instructional strategies, assessments, and resources that demonstrate integration of faith, learning and living in teaching. An example of this is the annotated bibliography of websites devoted to FLLI which was prepared by one of our doctoral program professors. This bibliography is found in the section entitled “Recommended Electronic Sources.” Emphasis is given in all five Bethel graduate programs to issues of integration as enrolled teachers/administrators have had opportunity to develop deeper content area knowledge and exposure to various learning theorists during their school experience.

At the undergraduate level in literacy education courses, we show students how to use children’s books to teach Biblical principles. We also review the literature available by Christian authors, such as C.S. Lewis, that can be used in public schools as well. In doing so, we discuss the value of quality literature that can be integrated into a teaching situation regardless of public or Christian school setting the students may find as their place of employment.

At a classroom level, climate or atmosphere has been identified as a major factor in supporting the integration of faith, learning and living (Nwosu, 1998). Students in this study clearly emphasized the importance of an “open, accepting, supporting, and encouraging” (p. 18). climate to facilitate FLLI. They also considered atmosphere in the classroom environment meaning “Christian values are modeled in actions and attitudes” (p.8) as another key factor in FLLI.

In the classroom, to promote this climate or atmosphere, we focus on developing a community of faith among the students. We understand the priority of students developing trusting relationships with each other and investing themselves to encourage, support, and, sometimes, challenge each other’s thinking, behavior, or attitudes. Our goal is to learn to listen to each other and be authentic and honest in our communication with one other. Bethel education classrooms have tables, instead of desks, which immediately allows for group dynamics to form. As some students are more comfortable sharing themselves in large groups, others are not. Whether we ask for a specific response to a devotional, a time to pray for student needs, or agreement/disagreement on an academic topic that was presented, we look for ways students can connect with each other and the larger group to allow them a chance to reflect and interact together. So, we spend significant response time partnering in the beginning of the semester, then move to groups of three, and finally, feedback to the larger group of what was shared in a smaller group setting. This think and response time furthers the integration of faith and learning as well. More traditional models of education would have a few students responding to the teacher as “the sage on the stage.” This does not recognize the need for students to actively participate in their own learning or building community with each other.

Life of the Educator

Holmes (1975) makes a strong statement regarding the role of the educator in the faith-learning-living integration process. He states that “the most important single factor is the teacher and his attitude toward learning” p. 51. The research at Taylor (Pressnell, 1996) certainly bears out the centrality of the role played by faculty members, especially those in a student’s major. The Taylor study found that “the impact of faculty on a student’s integration ability follows behind that of family and peers, but is not significantly lower in influence” (p. 19). The impact of faculty on students’ integration ability and ideologies is supported elsewhere in the literature (e.g., Moore, 1985; Astin, 1977; Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991).

What is it about the life of the educator that is most critical in the integration process? Gaebelein (1968) contends, and I concur, that there is “no Christian education without Christian teachers,” because “the worldview of the teacher, insofar as he is effective, gradually conditions the worldview of the pupil. No man teaches out of a philosophical vacuum” (p. 37). For sake of clarity, I use the term Christian worldview as “the overall view of reality which is based upon the transcendent and immanent God of the Bible as its primary fact,” (Fischer, 1989, p. 28).

An educator grounded in academic discipline and possessing a Christian worldview is prepared to conduct what Van Brummelen (1988) calls a “religious craft” (p. 22). In our estimation, and that of Holmes (1975), students need a catalyst and guide to work through a maze of alternative ideas, arguments, and questions. Also, the Christian educator is poised to model a positive inquiring attitude toward liberal learning (Holmes, 1975).

In a study by Burton and Nwosu (2002), students repeatedly remarked about the importance the professor has in FLLI. The two most valued areas mentioned were “professor’s caring attitudes” and “professor’s exemplary life.” These speak to the Christian character exemplified in the professor’s life.

Student Background

The third component in the Curricular Model of FLLI is the student. It is, after all, service to the student that motivates our efforts. I contend that a quality educator shapes instruction to meet the individual needs of students. All students and classes, as anyone who has interacted with students will attest, are unique in some regards. Canned instruction (same content – same delivery) does not adequately deal with the reality of diverse student backgrounds (religious, economic, educational, ethnic, cultural), prior learning, learning styles, and intellectual, emotional, and spiritual maturity.

We also recognize the differences in students’ faith journeys. The group dynamic we develop as a class is based on the ability of students to express their faith. Some students are private with areas of personal faith while others are more vocal. Our work together in partners and small groups is designed to bring a comfort level that is acceptable to all. As our institution draws students from various denominational backgrounds, there are different approaches to expressing faith. Some view spiritual growth by means of intellectual understandings while others develop social/emotional aspects of Christianity. There are various levels of spiritual maturity as well. As we identify students that are more spiritually mature, we consciously solicit their input in class discussions. This allows all students to benefit from their peer community and models for them the possibilities of their own growth and development.

It is interesting to note that the ability to vary the strategies of integration according to student responses is a common characteristic in the two highest levels (Refinement and Dynamic Integration) of faith-learning integration developed by Korniejezuk and Kijai (1994). Discussion of the assessment component, which follows, addresses specific options for better understanding what the student brings to the educational process. Student demographic information (readily available at most colleges) in addition to discussion with student life experts is also a valuable source of information about student characteristics.

Instructional Objectives

If educators take faith-learning-life integration as seriously as they do the conveyance of discipline specific knowledge, we believe that we need to be equally intentional about approaches to integration. One way intentionality is expressed for teacher educators, and others for that matter, is through the creation of instructional objectives. Korniejezuk and Kijai (1994) suggest that “each member of the school community should participate in carrying out clear, God-centered objectives for the school. Perhaps, then, the integration of faith and learning can be routine in the lives of teachers and students” (p. 100). Hasker (1992) relates the necessity of integration of faith and learning to the theological nature of Christian faith. He explains, “There is not a secular world and a sacred world, but a single world created by God and a single, unitary, truth which is know to God.” He cautions that failure to integrate further compartmentalizes one’s content knowledge, faith, and life experiences and responsibilities.

In keeping with the previous discussion of diversity in student background, we suggest that objectives be viewed as guidelines open to minor modification and adjustment (of instructional time allotment) as educators gain better insight into students through a variety of formative assessment techniques. The need to extend instructional objectives beyond the cognitive domain into the realm of the affective is supported by integration scholars. Holmes (1994) states that “we must address the integration of thinking and feeling” (p. 3). Walsh (1992) observed that a more lasting and practical impact is likely to occur when cognitive exercises are meshed with experience.

Table 1 contains suggested objectives written in the cognitive and affective domain. Objectives 1.0-7.0 are applicable to most disciplines; objectives 8.0-13.0 are more specific to teacher education. The objectives in Table 1 are designed to supplement teacher education objectives related to general/liberal arts knowledge, content area knowledge, and professional knowledge. Objectives of this type are readily available in Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium documents (for preservice teachers) and National Board of Teaching Standards (for inservice teachers).

As professors, we intentionally include these kinds of objectives in my course planning and syllabus to identify for students the areas that will promote the integration of faith, learning, and living. We include all levels of Bloom’s taxonomy to ensure cognitive and affective rigor throughout the duration of the course. An example of this is objective — 11.0 “Practices dependence on the Lord as a source of inspiration for every aspect of teaching.” With this objective, I focus on the following concepts: there is no dichotomy between secular and sacred in the Christian worldview, Christ is Lord over all, partner with God as you teach, and you are not isolated in your classroom. We also want students to understand that: God cares more about the students and working with them than you’ll ever fully know, tap into the power He offers in your service for them, God will lead you as you plan instruction for students. The importance of reflecting the emphasis on FLLI in the syllabi is also addressed by Hardin, Sweeney and Whitworth (1999).

Schwartz (1997) discusses three options for dealing with the largest tension and area of confusion for Christian teachers — how to share their faith and living and still function within the legal constraints of the public school system (Objective 9). Schwartz’s options, “Agent for Enculturation, Christian Advocate/Evangelist, and Golden Rule Truth-Seeker” provide an extremely valuable information base for helping teachers wrestle with this critical issue.

Learning Experiences

Learning experiences are certainly a key component in the Curricular Model of FLLI. The original meaning of the word curriculum (from Latin) is actually “a running path.” An educator’s life, student background, clearly defined instructional intent (objectives), and meaningful learning experiences must work interdependently for the running path to converge at a successful integration.

Unfortunately, those engaged in religious education have in part ignored the findings of learning theory research and relied heavily on the lecture mode of instruction — commonly expressed in the form of sermons and devotional messages. Although lecture is certainly an effective educational tool at times, there are serious shortcomings to this instructional method (e.g., McKeachie, Pintrich, Lin, Smith, and Sharma, 1990).

If we believe that the criteria for judging the value of any educational process is the effect on the actual life of the student, we suggest that the likelihood of impacting student’s lives is increased if five basic learning characteristics are considered (Roehler, 1996). Conceptual learning occurs when meanings are:

(1) gradually constructed, (2) by the learner, (3) through a series of interaction with content, (4) with new information integrated with old information, (5) so that the result is conscious awareness of what is being learned, when it will be useful, and how to use it effectively. (p. 144).

Earlier research in learning styles (e.g., Dunn, 1983; McCarthy, 1987) and more recent research in multiple intelligences (e. g., Gardner, 1993; Gardner, 1996; Armstrong, 1994) has equipped educators with a new understanding of the learning process and an awareness of strategies that foster significant depth and breadth of learning. Table 2 illustrates a variety of multiple intelligences compatible methods (Armstrong, 1994) that an educator may wish to consider. Multiple Intelligences theory, stated briefly, holds that (a) each person possesses all eight intelligences, (b) most people can develop each intelligence to an adequate level of competency, (c) intelligences usually work together in complex ways, and (d) there are many ways to be intelligent within each category.

There is also a growing body of educational research that supports the use of active learning strategies to help learners construct meaning. The basic contention behind active student involvement is that our “brain doesn’t just receive information — it processes it. To process information effectively, it helps to carry out reflection externally as well as internally” (Silberman, 1996, p. 3). Mel Silberman authored a most practical book for educators interested in increasing student involvement without sacrificing content — Active Learning: 101 Strategies to Teach Any Subject. According to Burton and Nwosu (2002), from the students’ perspectives in their study, “the methodology used in teaching the course had major influence on their experience in integrating faith and learning” (p. 11).

Perhaps one learning strategy deserves separate attention at this point, experiential learning as Holmes (1994) refers to it. Holmes believes that experiential learning, or service learning as it is called at times, creates the disequilibrium necessary to bring thought and feeling together. An important aspect of our education program is the amount of time and varied experiential learning experiences that are built into the program. From the first education course that students experience and the three methods blocks that follow before their student teaching experience, students are intentionally placed in pubic and private school settings where they teach students of diverse ethnicity. Bethel students are given the opportunity to interact with the full range of challenges that teachers encounter. They have a supervisor from the university that supports them as they develop their own teaching identity. During their 14 -week student teaching placement, the students are observed weekly which allows them the opportunity to process issues of faith integration in their role as a student teacher. They are also required to submit a weekly reflective/dialogue journal to their supervisor which gives further opportunity to address specific questions or thoughts the student may not have shared verbally on a given day. Specific journal prompts regarding FLLI are also included at the supervisor’s request.

Assessment Strategies

The assessment component serves an essential purpose in the Curricular Model of FLLI. Used properly, assessment is a process of observing, recording, and documenting student work for purposes of making sound educational decisions for individual students.

When assessment is practiced in a frequent on-going manner (formative) versus at the conclusion of a course (summative), the decision making process is better informed. Actual assessment does not always need to be time consuming and overly involved. Informal assessment methods, for example, are often better suited to measure objectives in the affective domain. Angelo and Cross (1993) describe a number of informal as well as formal assessment strategies in a recent book entitled Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers. Table 3, based on work by Johnson (1993), also contains a number of assessment options that may be appropriate for measuring student learning. Which option to use should be evaluated in terms of its appropriateness for the student population, instructional objectives, and time available for administration?

One strategy we use in the assessment area is to ask students to identify Biblical examples for the concept of assessment as we have been experiencing it. For example, formative assessment (ongoing during the process of instruction) is modeled in scripture through various trials and tribulations that test our faith or obedience to the direction God is leading in our journey. Summative assessment (occurring at the end of instruction) is described as a final judgment, yet mercy is still involved. Performance assessment is modeled in scripture as well. We see Jesus give his disciples training and then tasks to accomplish. They later interact to discuss and process their experience.

Our education department also developed a list of professional traits of Christian educators. Many of these traits relate to the development of behaviors and attitudes; students are held accountable for the development of these traits throughout program. The use of these traits also requires that professors and supervisors have the courage to address student’s issues/struggles as they become aware of them. The key point: good assessment is Biblical.

The six components discussed above are critical to student success in developing a harmonized view of faith-learning-living. It must be stressed, however, that the model is not linear; all components continually interrelate during the entire educational process. For example, the college integration atmosphere is constantly influencing student maturity levels, the educator is continually growing in his/her own Christian worldview, more is learned about students as the course progresses, and assessment results may suggest that certain learning experiences are successful or unsuccessful.


Although the focus of this discussion has been on the integration challenge that teacher educators face, we are firmly convinced that academicians from all disciplines face equal challenges/opportunities. Fortunately, Christian educators are starting to bridge theoretical principles of integration with actual practice in college classrooms. It is this evolving vitality that can prompt yet another generation of integration theorizing. This regenerative power to articulate new thoughts, critiques, and strategies for refinement makes the integration challenge less formidable. If, in fact, we are committed to serving our discipline and students with integrity, there is no option to facing the challenge of faith-learning-living integration — a responsibility intrinsic to the Christian educator.

Additional Recommended Electronic Resources.


Akers, G. H. (1977). The measure of a school. Journal of Adventist Education, 40, 7-9, 43-45.

Angelo, T. A. & Cross, K. P. (1993). Classroom Assessment Techniques (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Armstrong, T. (1994). Multiple intelligences in the classroom. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Astin, A. W. (1977). Four critical years. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Badley, K. (1994). The faith/learning integration movement in Christian higher education: Slogan or substance? Journal of Research on Christian Education, 3, 13-33.

Burton, L. D., & Nwosu, C. C. (2002, May). Student perceptions of the integration of faith, learning, and practice in a selected education course. Paper presented at the Biennial Symposium of the Coalition of Christian Teacher Educators. Grand Rapids, MI. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED476074)

Carpenter, J. A., & Shipps, K. W. (Eds.). (1987). Making higher education Christian. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

DeWitt, C. B. (1993). Integration in the life and mission of the Christian college: Binding together its life and work. Faculty Dialogue, 19, 129-133.

Dockery, D. S. (2000, September). Integrating faith & learning in higher education. Paper presented at the fall meeting of The Research Institute of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Jackson, TN.

Dunn, R. (1983). Learning style and its relation to exceptionality at both ends of the spectrum. Exceptional Children, 49, 496-506.

Fischer, R. B. (1989). Faith, learning, and living: Separated, juxtaposed, overlapped, or permeated? Faculty Dialogue, 12, 21-30.

Gaebelein, F. E. (1954). The pattern of God’s truth: Problems of integration in Christian education. New York: Oxford University Press.

Gaebelein, F. E. (1968). The patterns of God’s truth: Problems of integration in Christian education. Winona Lake, IN: BMH Books.

Gardner, H. (1993). Multiple intelligences: The theory in practice. New York: Basic Books.

Gardner, H. (1996). Multiple intelligences: Myths and messages. International Schools Journal, 15, 8-22.

Hardin, J., Sweeny, J., Whitworth, J. (1999, February). Integrating faith and learning in teacher education. Paper presented at the Extended Annual Meeting of the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education. University of Texas: Texas. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED429044)

Harris, R. A. (2004). The integration of faith and learning. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books.

Harris, R. A. (2000, July 1). The integration of faith and learning. Retrieved on June 1, 2005, from

Hasker, W. (1992). Faith-Learning integration: An overview. Christian Scholars Review, 21, 234-248.

Hobbs, W. C. & Meeth, L. R. (1980). Diversity among Christian colleges. Studies in Higher Education. Arlington, VA.

Holmes, A. F. (1975). The idea of a Christian college. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Holmes, A. F. (1977). All truth is God’s truth. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Holmes, A. F. (1994). What about student integration? Journal of Research on Christian Education, 3, 3-5.

Johnson, R. (1993, June). Student assessment options: A review and critical analysis. Paper presented at the Eighth AAHE Conference on Higher Education Assessment, Chicago, IL.

Korniejezuk, R. I. & Kijai, J. (1994). Integrating faith and learning: Development of a stage model of teacher implementation. Journal of Research on Christian Education, 3, 79-102.

McCarthy, B. (1987). The 4MAT system: Teaching to learning styles with right/left mode techniques. Barrington, IL: Excel.

McKeachie, W. J., Pintrich, P. R., Lin, Y. G., Smith, D. A., & Sharma, R. (1990). Teaching and learning in the college classroom: a review of the research literature (2nd ed.). Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan.

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Jay B. Rasmussen is a Professor of Education and Director of Graduate Programs in Education at Bethel University. Roberta Hernandez Rasmussen is an adjunct instructor and supervisor at Bethel University.


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