Of Teaching and Learning
Over the past two weeks, I was invited to attend a block class on "Learning to Teach." After two weeks of class, here are some reflections that I have.
|We thank God Bro Casey is a pretty humane teacher... :P|
Firstly, teaching needs to meet the changing challenges of the 21st century. This is especially pertinent with all the advancements in technology as well as the worldview changes with the generation today. There is simply no room for the teacher to remain stagnant and not be able to keep up with times so as to engage their students and to facilitate learning. Applying to theological education and Bible school, we have to consider what kind of ministers we are training for the churches in the 21st century. If we are training ministers who are able to engage today’s generation, then we need to review the current methods of teaching and train ministers to be savvy in social media and technology and be able to make use of them in their ministries. Reflecting back on the learning experience I had previously when I was in NUS, I realised that I learned more in modules where I was forced to do discussions over forums and social media. I have also seen how other churches and seminaries have successfully utilized the internet such as iTune U and Youtube to create alternative learning environments for their students and members. In view of this, there is a lot that we can do in theological education to help our peers and students to reach out to a generation that is so connected over the internet. For me, it is a matter of how I am going to engage my students in the future to ensure that what I am doing continue to remain relevant to them and their learning.
|You just have to keep up with time...|
Secondly, the teacher is not defined by his qualification. It is very easy for one to think that once he gets his ‘PhD,’ he will be ready to teach. But I learned from the class that this is often not the case. Going through this class, I realised that there are so many techniques and tools that the teacher can utilize to make learning happen. Having the content knowledge and paper qualification are merely the first steps towards teaching and learning. For example, the teaching does not need to come solely in the form of transmission but the teacher can also teach through cooperative learning and problem-based learning, as taught in class and mentioned in our textbook. This also means that, as a teacher, we need to be open to adjust our teaching methods to suit the needs of the students. We have to be good host and be able to provide for the students, as well as protect them and support them all the way in their journey. This is very thought-intriguing for me. It has been very easy for me to do teaching through transmission and direct instruction, since this is the way that I have experienced education for most part of my life before university. All I need to do is to imitate what I saw from the teachers who have taught me and replicate the teaching methods in the settings that I am teaching in. However, if qualification is not everything, and the teacher will still need to be in touch with various teaching techniques, this means that I need to be more reflective and intentional in how I design my teaching in the future so as to meet the learning needs of my students.
Lastly, pertaining to teaching, this course has acted as a further stimulus to challenge me in my calling to teach. Over the past year, I have observed that God seems to be moving me towards the area of teaching. Being invited to this class seems to confirm that observation. Throughout the whole class, I asked myself what is going to happen to my future ministry and how will my own teaching ministry look like. Even in my lifegroup, my members have been confirming with me that I seem to be demonstrating the gift of teaching. But yet the requirement in the ministry of teaching is high, for those who teach will be judged more strictly. The lesson on hospitality was particularly an eye-opener, challenging me to practice hospitality in my teaching. This shows to me that I have a lot to learn in this journey. Hence I realised that I am not really a 'finished product' and everyday, as I continue to be molded by God to be a godly teacher, I am also relying on His grace to drive me to live a life of holiness so that my life can be consistent with my teachings, lest I end up like Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction:
Till the next time I write, I shall now go on to my classmates' blog and comment on them.
|Not only quoting wrongly the Scripture but also doing a lot of killing...|