Saturday, June 16, 2018

homeward after UK 2018

In a few hours, I step into a metal tube for some 22 hours of flying. It has been an excellent 9 days in the United Kingdom, in 3 different countries, speaking to 6 groups, with 3 other booked meetings. The welcome from various folk in the Church of Scotland was warm and the interaction rich. They are in interesting times as a church, with some very thoughtful folk working hard to discern the ways ahead. It was a great gift to me to see how helpful the material from my book, Built for change: A practical theology of innovation and collaboration could be in a different place and to watch it find life in a very difficult cultural context. To hear that it was being quoted in Church of Scotland General Assembly reports and to see the gratitude with which people responded to the images of fool/risk/play was very encouraging. (For those in the UK, Doug Gay at University of Glasgow still has copies at the very good price of 10 pound + postage).

onetreehill The U2 Conference was a blast – a triumph of passion over obsession. Locating it in Dublin, after conferences in North Carolina and Cleveland was a master stroke, as it located U2 within the context of Ireland and the streets and people in which U2 were formed. Seeing in real life the “boy” who experienced the “war” and encountered “grace” in the midst of the “bad” was very special. My paper on the endings of Pop went well, which given it was stitched together in scraps of hours in January, May and then in Dublin at midnight, was a relief. I find the focus on creativity, imagination, justice and spirituality provided by conversations about U2 to be quite life-giving, all mixed in with academics thinking deeply about how contemporary cultures might be understood.

Then there were the friendships. Previous relationships renewed, new connections made. Connecting with Steve Stockman and his church community at Fitzroy Presbyterian was inspiring. While it has been a great 9 days, it will be good to see the lights of home. (And to fight off jetlag to lead an 8 day blockcourse starting in a few days.)

Posted by steve at 08:10 PM | Comments (3)

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

word craft

writing-1-1314626-639x477 Intensives are intense. Running from morning to evening, from 8:30 am to 4 pm, stacked day after day, a lot of information and experiences are pushed together. One way people process is through group discussion and lecturer interaction. But there are other ways. In the intensive I co-taught last week, Church in Mission, I decided to explore processing through writing.

In the programme, I set aside 55 minutes each morning. Before the intensive started I wrote, asking students to come prepared to write. If they wrote by hand, then bring pen and paper. If they wrote by laptop or Ipad, bring that.

Writing is a “practice of care” (Writing for Peer Reviewed Journals: Strategies for getting published, 4). It is a major way by which knowledge is shared. Words written emerge from the internal work we do. Hence writing is a spiritual practice, that invites us to attend to self-awareness, our passions and vulnerabilities.

However, while writing is an essential skill, it tends to be taught informally. I did not receive any formal advice on writing during any of my undergraduate or postgraduate degree training. So over the last few year, wanting to take writing as communication seriously, I have read, reflected and refined my writing. The results have been encouraging. Last year I wrote 8 academic pieces (4 book chapters and 4 journal articles) and 9 industry focused pieces (plus my annual 11 film reviews for Touchstone). So I was keen to see what would happen in a class if given space to write.

Each morning of the intensive last week, I offered a few minutes teaching on writing skills. On Tuesday, warm up exercises; on Wednesday, writing habits, on Thursday, tiny texts; on Friday, structures. These were drawn from sources like Pat Thomson, Writing for Peer Reviewed Journals: Strategies for getting published and Helen Sword Air & Light & Time & Space: How Successful Academics Write and Stylish Academic Writing.

Then I simply invited people to write, whether to summarise the course in preparation for the first assignment or to report to their church leadership on learnings from the week of study leave.

The quiet tap of keyboard and scratch of pen enveloped the class.

As the writing time drew to a close, I invited folk to do two things. First, to count the number of words. Second, to note a few dot points of what they would do next. So that come the next morning, after a few more writing tips, they could climb back into the keyboard tap and pen scratch.

The first morning, in trying to framing why we might do this, I asked folk to brainstorm the forms of writing they might be expected to do in their ministerial context. The list was extensive and together we realised the value of writing, and the need to think about and practise together the skill of writing.

Feedback from participants was very positive, with writing mentioned every day in the daily debrief and in written class evaluations at weeks’ end.

(more…)

Posted by steve at 08:01 PM

Monday, January 29, 2018

tiny text of Church in Mission: Theology in Changing Cultures

A tiny text is a miniature version of the whole. It has been applied to academic work by Pat Thomson. So here is a tiny text, a summary of what I was trying to do in Church in Mission: Theology in Changing Cultures, the week long intensive I taught last week for University of Otago/Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership (in partnership with Doug Gay) . I offered it to students as the course progressed and as I challenged myself: could I, in around 350 words, summarise the week of teaching, including linking to assignments, course learning outcomes and each of the course readings.

globe-trotter-1-1531337-640x480 Mission can be defined as joining what God is up to in the world. This human response emerges from the conviction that God sends the Son and Spirit. Humans partner with God, including in resistance of evil, the making of all things new and expressing God’s life in the indigenous particularity of local contexts.

This understanding of mission defines the church as willing to be sent beyond existing locations into liminal spaces; to pay attention to contexts; and to participate in discerning the patterning of God’s movement. However, the sheer complexity of our global world suggests that no one size fits all. Further, the ongoing unfolding of our cultural contexts requires us to listen afresh to context and to respond appropriately in change.

Analysis of history, for example in Classic Texts in Mission and World Christianity, enables a global and in-depth understanding of the resources of the Christian tradition (Assignment 1). One way to categorise the range of church responses is using the headings of resistance, innovation and indigeneity. Because of the unique relationship between theology and culture, each of these responses will have strengths and weaknesses.

As we learn from the past, we gain insight for the present. We can understand the present as we engage in mapping cultural hermeneutics: listening to the cultural complexity of New Zealand today, including at micro, meso and macro levels (Assignment 2). Mapping is then followed by discerning which of the responses – resistance, innovation and indigeneity – the church might adopt. The re-forming that results is part of the churches ongoing participation in the unfolding mission of God (Assignment 3).

Hence the three assignments will demonstrate a theologically rigorous and culturally informed understanding of re-forming Christian communal identity: past and future. The three assignments will bring together perspectives of global theology (Classic Texts in Mission and World Christianity), contemporary cultures (mapping cultural hermeneutics) and ecclesial study of resistance, innovation and indigeneity in a critical and constructive dialogue.

Posted by steve at 09:42 AM

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Christ-based innovation

A few weeks ago, I provided spiritual wisdom in an Educating for innovation weekend run by KCML. Seven teams from around New Zealand were brought together. They were offered a fabulous location and invited to work on taking ideas to opportunity for their local community context.

We worked with Dr Christine Woods from University of Auckland Business School, who was invited to walk us through the processes she used with small businesses and in Maori innovation. In planning the weekend, she was careful. “In working with Maori, I quickly realised I can’t just add on a bit of Maori to my existing work. I needed to begin with Maori values. So in this weekend, we can’t just add on a bit of Jesus. We need to begin with Christian values.”

I grinned. I had just written a book on faith-based innovation. In Built for change: A practical theology of innovation and collaboration I read Paul in light of Christ, using six images from 1 Corinthians 3 and 4. This includes an entire chapter on Jesus the innovator.

So here is how I introduced the weekend, a beginning located in Christ-based innovation:

We gather as whanua (family) of Ihu Karaiti (Jesus Christ). One of the more interesting innovators in the Christian tradition is Apostle Paul. Most (all) of Paul’s innovation begins when he, like us, goes to the edge.

So in Acts 16, Paul goes to the edge. He hears a man from Macedonia say “come on over.” Paul is a learner. Paul takes a risk. Paul forms a mission team with two others, Timothy and Silas.

And they go to a community in Macedonia called Philipi. In that community, he find some partners. He finds a business woman called Lydia. Together they form prayerful community in the borderlands outside the city

Then he moves to a community called Athens. He takes time in that community to learn the culture, to read their poets and study how cultures gather.

And in each place, in each community, Paul and his mission team, are gaining perspective, seeing more clearly, the Gospel in community.

And in each place, it is only once they get there, only once they begin, only once they listen, that they see light for a next direction.

And for one community, after Paul has left, he sends a letter. And in that letter, we get a glimpse of what it means for Paul to be an innovator.

And so this weekend, as innovators, we will open one of Paul’s letters. It is the letter of 1 Corinthians. It is written to a church that Paul has begun. And in that letter he describes his innovation. The first image is that of servant ….

Posted by steve at 03:00 PM

Friday, November 10, 2017

Church in Mission: Theology in Changing Cultures

I’m back in the public ie accessible to anyone teaching space (as opposed to more in-house-KCML-intern-teaching-spaces) this summer.

Church in Mission Theology in Changing Cultures

From 22-26 January, 2018, Doug Gay of the University of Glasgow, and Steve Taylor of the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership will teach an intensive: Church in Mission: Theology in Changing Cultures. The course is jointly offered by the Department of Theology and Religion, University of Otago, and the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership.

The paper offers a theologically rigorous and culturally informed understanding of re-forming Christian communal identity. It will bring together perspectives of global theology, contemporary cultures and ecclesial study in a critical and constructive dialogue.

The course can be undertaken in two way:
• for credit through the Department of Theology and Religion at University Otago course costs.  For further details on this option contact Paul Trebilco, Department of Theology and Religion paul.trebilco@otago.ac.nz or 03 4798 798

• for audit student by contacting the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership. This will cost $500, with further Ministers Study Grant subsidies available for PCANZ ministers. For further details on this option : The Registrar, Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership; registrar@knoxcentre.ac.nz; 03 473 0783

The course can be undertaken in two locations:
• In Dunedin, at the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership, with Doug and Steve face-to-face and a face-to-face tutor to provide interaction and contextual reflection

• In Auckland, with Doug and Steve streamed in via video and a face-to-face tutor to provide interaction and contextual reflection

Posted by steve at 02:55 PM

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

the final lecture – transforming leadership in Vanuatu

The final lecture of my week of teaching at Talua College, was titled Transforming leadership in Vanuatu and I designed the intensive carefully to build toward this final lecture. The aim was to encourage local agency and group application of the lecture material to local context

Talua Memorial lecture

Talua Memorial lecture

On the first day, I had provided two case studies.

Either: You are chairing a leadership meeting. During a discussion of the church budget, two long time members of the church engage in a protracted and tense public exchange. How can you provide effective leadership in this situation (both immediate and during the next week or month)?

Or: You hear news that an overseas company wants to set up a fish factory on an important beach that is part of your village. You are preaching in church the next Sunday. How can you and the church provide effective leadership in this challenge?

Work in a group. Select one of Paul’s images of leadership in 1 Corinthians 3 and 4. Discuss with your group how this one image of leadership might guide your response to the challenge. Be prepared to share with the entire class 2 things you would do and thing you would not do.

I noted that on the final day, I would invite groups to present in relation to the case studies. I had workshopped the case studies with Paula Levy, who had recently served with her husband Roger at Talua.

I was delighted that on the last day, twelve groups presented. 7 chose the first case study, on handling conflict. 3 chose the second case study, on the arrival of a foreign fish factory. 2 groups worked on a 3rd assignment, a case study that had come up in class. This involved forgiveness and the question of whether saying sorry on behalf of someone else would allow genuine reconciliation. It was encouraging to see this level of improvisation occurring over the week and a sense of grounded integration.

Each group was able to clearly work between Biblical text and local context, and offer clear and practical next steps in leadership. 5 groups worked on leader as servant, 1 group leader as gardener, 2 groups leader as builder, 1 group leader as resource manager and 2 groups leader as fool – (With 1 group, my Bislama was not good enough to work out which Pauline image they were using).

11 of the groups presented in Bislama, 1 in English. The staff at Talua gave verbal feedback on each of the group presentations. This was verbal, and involved providing affirmations and suggesting improvements. This ensued some rigour and accountability in the learning process.

So in Bislama, this was nambawan (the best) lecture. It was a class essentially taught entirely by the Ni-Van students, as they grounded the material in their context.

Posted by steve at 12:32 PM

Friday, August 11, 2017

Transforming leadership in Vanuatu: Talua Memorial lectures

I’ve been invited to give the 2017 Talua Memorial lecture, August 14-18, in Vanuatu and address the topic of Transforming leadership. The Presbyterian Church in New Zealand has a long history of relationship with the Presbyterian Church in Vanuatu; and Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership has a long history of relationship with Talua College. So it was easy to say yes.

Talua_Ministry_Training_Centre

Until I realised that the Memorial lecture was actually 10 lectures! Gulp. However the topic – leadership – is something I’ve written a book on recently (Built for change: A practical theology of innovation and collaboration). And I did some research last year on Christologies in Melanesia, so I had some resource to weave. And Jesus has a lot to say about transforming leadership. So the invitation has provided a good opportunity to turn a book into a one week intensive, and integrate with contextual Melanesian theology.

I’ve had some creative educational fun in the preparation over the last week. I developed an assignment that would allow group work on “what does this mean in Vanuatu?” This included a set of case studies, which I had workshopped by a colleague with many years of experience at Talua. I also had help in the making of a certificate, to encourage assignment participation :)

certificateimage

Posted by steve at 07:29 PM

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Listening in mission 1: the value of chat

listeninginmission KCML in 2017 are offering a listening in mission practical learning course. It is an experiment for us, testing ways we can provide life-long learning opportunities for ministers in context.

The listening in mission practical learning course involves a listening project, in which participants gather a team of 4-6 from their church and engage in a provided guided listening project. So it is based on action, the church doing something. This is supported by a set of online sessions, in which there is listening to Scripture, engagement with readings in mission, sharing of resources, support and prayer. In other words, reflection.

After a no-strings attached introductory webinar on May 3, to allow folk to check if this was for them, the cohort got underway yesterday evening. The aim was to create links between the project and Scripture and mission and to be a practical resource for each other as we seek to get the listening project going.

For me it was a such rich and sustained engagement in the realities of mission and ministry. I loved the way conversation moved so freely between the readings, the listening practical project and our role as ministers. I loved the exchange of ideas as various folks shared from their current practice. It felt at times like being on holy ground.

Once again, it was a joy to teach without leaving my desk or entering a classroom. Instead, online technology makes possible a very different sort of experience. On the video, I saw children come in for a quick cuddle and partners begin to check about dinner arrangements. This was learning in lounges and around computer desks, threaded through with everyday realities. So different from a classroom.

One of the learnings for me in this particular experience of online learning is the value of the chat function. The online platform we are using has video, voice and a chat function. Three of the KCML Faculty are involved (all from different physical locations). With this shared leadership model, it means that while one is talking, the others can engage on chat. Key discussion themes can be highlighted and 1-1 questions engaged. Even better, the platform we are using allows us to copy and paste the chat.

So every class has the online participation through video, voice and typed chat. It also has the audio saved, to be listened to again afterward. And the chat, which serves as written notes, allowing further reflection on learning. The result is a rich set of layers for learning.

Posted by steve at 03:37 PM

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

4 talks in 4 hours: Kamai Presbytery bound

I shut my office door at 1:30 pm this afternoon. I have to travel tomorrow morning to deliver 4 talks in Tauranga over the weekend.

Friday, 19 May, 10am-12pm: Discipleship and the mission of God – an examination of what it means to from disciples, including reflecting on the distinctive archival resources from Presbyterian history It was Innovation and the Mission of God

Friday, 19 May, 1-2pm: Preparing for mission and ministry today – the introduction of three art pieces, with the stories of how they have been central in shaping my ministry and their implications for innovation, formation and mission.

Saturday, 20 May, 10:30am-11:10 am: Innovation and the Mission of God – a workshop reflecting on six Biblical images that help us understand innovation as an essential practice of a healthy community. Two stories of change that help us appreciate that innovation is not the mysterious quest of a heroic leader, but a set of collaborative, practical actions.

Saturday, 20 May, 11:15am-12:15pm: Refresh! Renew! Rethink! How Scripture brings change in our communities, with particular attention to the justice-making of Wiremu Tamihana, Te Whiti and the Tamar project.

So with a 4 hour window clear of appointments, it was time to prepare. Thankfully each of the talks was something I’ve done before. Thankfully when I speak, I keep physical files of the various resources I use on the day. Thankfully when I speak, I prepare on a computer, which means I can easily make adjustments from one context to the next. So the preparation was a matter of sifting piles, compiling resources, checking and then copying handouts.

IMG_4892 By 4:45 pm this afternoon, I had 4 rows. Each row was in relation to each talk and included speaking notes, handouts and a range of creative resources, unique to each session, that I will use to enable engagement, imagination and interaction.

Now all I need to do is get the 4 piles packed and on the plane, trust nothing gets lost in the Dunedin -> Tauranga flights and make sure the right resource gets pulled out for the right session. I really enjoyed my time with the Kaimai Presbytery last year, and I’m also looking forward to connecting with current interns, recent graduates and perhaps some incoming interns!

Posted by steve at 05:20 PM

Thursday, May 04, 2017

organising for online learning: a physical space

I taught my second online course within 24 hours today. (An intern mission cohort today; a Listening in mission professional development offering yesterday). In preparation, I realised that I have never seen any information on how people prepare to teach online. The online space is totally different physically from a face to face class. I’m no expert and I’ve still got lots to learn but how do I organise myself physically?

Well, this is my desk in preparation.

IMG_4849

On the screen is the video conferencing software ready to go. My video and microphone are turned on and the chat screen is open. As participants arrive, especially for first time users, I will get them familiar with using chat and then turning their microphone and video on and off.

On the desk in the middle is a Bible – I generally use Scripture at some point for lectio divina and to generate interaction and it is ready, open at the page.

You will notice three piles of paper.

On the left is the reading material sent to participants prior. I have a copies printed so that I know exactly what students have recieved and in case specific questions are asked of any of the reading material. I could of course have this on my computer, but I like to keep the computer screen for participants, not for searching for files.

On the far right is a folder (green) of various technical problem shooting solutions. Invariably participants have different browsers or different ways of accessing. I have some basic troubleshooting options, in case simple technical questions emerge. I have limited IT skill, so this covers the basics of login, sound and video.

On the near right is a number of documents I use to keep track of the actual tutorial. I have the names of every participant, which I use to tick off participation. It helps me check who has arrived and in making sure I miss no-one in the initial ice-breaker (name, weather in your location). It also allows me to keep track of who is speaking and ensure student voice is being equally shared. I have a pad of paper, on which I keep notes during the tutorial of what is being said. This enables to keep track of key points in discussion and if I have time after, to provide a summary of key points in the discussion as a way of enhancing feedback loops. In a face to face class, this might be on the whiteboard. I also have a lesson plan/run sheet. This helps me keep track of time. So my run sheet for the Listening in Mission taster is below. This class had 3 facilitators in 3 different geographic locations, so I was quite particular about time – down to every 3 minutes – so that we all knew how we were tracking and could remain disciplined.

Listening in Mission online taster
Wednesday, May 3rd, 4:45-5:45 pm
Hosted by Mark Johnstone Steve Taylor, Rosemary Dewerse

4:45 pm Welcome – Steve Taylor
 
Prayer – Rosemary Dewerse
 
4:50 pm Group building questions – 1 min/person
1. What is weather in your place. 
2. What word or picture or symbol to describe your community (outside the church)?
 
5 pm Scripture Read Luke 10 – Steve
3 questions to contemplate in silence
- as they walked into the village – I wonder what word or picture or symbol they used to describe the community 
- as they listened at table, I wonder what word or picture or symbol they used to describe the community 
- as they saw healing, I wonder what word or picture or symbol they used to describe the community 
  
5:09 pm A short story – how listening changed us and our mission – Mark 
 
5:12 pm Outline of online sessions – Steve
- Scripture 
- pre-reading 
- catch up on project ups and downs 
 
5:17 pm A short story – how listening changed us and our mission – Rosemary 
 
5:20 pm Outline of Listening project – Mark 

5:30 pm Project Q and A – Mark
 
5:40 pm Costs, dates, timings – Steve Taylor
 
Q and A. 
 
5:45 pm Prayer – rosemary  

So this is how I prepare. I still feel like a learner in this area. The piles give me a sense of organisation.

Posted by steve at 09:14 PM

Monday, May 01, 2017

Wondering together feedback

Over Friday and Saturday, I presented two keynote sessions, of around 50 minutes each, at the Wondering Together conference. Organised by Sydney College of Divinity, with about 50 academics in attendance, it was an opportunity to focus on teaching and learning. I presented two papers one on the contribution of flipped learning to innovation in theological education, the other on the implications of activist research for theological scholarship. With each paper, I offered a range of takeaways, in terms of my own practice as an educator.

IMG_4797

Both were very well-received. The feedback during question time raised the following points

1. The value of seeking to place Habermas alongside Bloom’s taxonomy, given that Habermas includes praxis ways of knowing, whereas Bloom’s taxonomy concentrates on primarily cognitive.

2. The tiredness of our sector, driven by outcomes focus on education.

3. The fear is that flipped learning reduces lectures focused on content. How to respond to those who prioritise content over skill?

4. A comment: how to frame research in teaching and learning in light of Australian Research Council grants.

I really appreciated the chance to do some thinking and integrating and to be working with Rosemary Dewerse in these areas. As well as the keynotes, there were over 30 short papers presented on a range of teaching and learning questions. The conference plans to release a book, so that will be a valuable addition to the ongoing need to grow our teaching and learning skills.

Posted by steve at 11:11 AM

Friday, April 21, 2017

Researching the future

wonder I’ve spent the last few days pulling together two keynote addresses I am giving in Sydney next weekend. The conference is hosted by the Sydney College of Divinity and is focused on Learning and Teaching, with the theme of Wondering about God together. My preparation has involved trying to stitch together a number of projects sitting on my hard drive, including
- parts of my Flinders Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching application
- some research I presented at the Ecclesiology and Ethnography conference in 2015, on activist research.
- a conference abstract I had accepted for BERA (British Educational Research Association) 2016 (which I had to withdraw from due to work and budget pressures)

It has also involved working in partnership with a colleague, Rosemary Dewerse, who has provided invaluable research assistance. I wanted to offer a “sector” survey – of trends in online learning and research in theological education – and Rosemary has been a superb collaborator.

It is my first international academic keynote/s so I am pretty excited. Here are the two abstracts:

Researching the future 1: the contribution of flipped learning to innovation in theological education
 
Steve Taylor and Rosemary Dewerse

Abstract:
The focus of this paper is learner-centered teaching. Research shows that only 5% of university class time involved active student participation (Maryellen Weimer, Learner-Centered Teaching: Five Key Changes to Practice, Jossey-Bass, 2002). This is considered in relation to the particular demands of teaching theology, which include a student cohort that is often mature and highly invested.

A number of strategies to increase student participation are outlined, drawn from the authors’ own experience. These include attention to classroom interaction, industry-shaped assessment, tutorial design, curricula development and flipped learning.

Given flipped learning is a recent innovation being shaped by changes in technology, it is considered in more depth. Three lines of inquiry are pursued, including as a strategy for increasing student participation, integration with Bloom’s taxonomy and in dialogue with current research into transformative learning, in particular the role of technology in learner centred teaching.

The argument is that learner-centred teaching needs to take technology seriously. However this needs to be nuanced, given that teaching is a profoundly social activity. Paying attention to the voice of student peers is an essential dimension of the learning experience. While technology is an important innovation in attending to this dimension of teaching, equally as important are the pedagogical strategies that enable learners to appreciate agency in themselves and their peers.

Researching the future 2: The implications of activist research for theological scholarship

Steve Taylor and Rosemary Dewerse

Abstract:
The focus of this paper is research-led teaching. The conference theme, of wonder, is applied to the actions of researching our teaching. The notion of researching our teaching raises important identity questions in relation to research, researched and researcher.

The insights of activist research are applied as a theoretical framework which enables us to attend to our identity as theologians (speaking of God’s Kingdom) and teachers (wanting to impact students). The implications of action research are further developed by undertaking a sector survey. This involves applying the work of Ernest Boyer to an analysis of journals, sector bodies and publications in theology. What emerges is a picture of a sector that has prioritised research in the domain of discovery, yet has given little encouragement to the domain of research from teaching and learning.

This is inconsistent with the multiple investments, both as educators and from our key industry partners, who work with us in this sector. I propose four theses:
• Each of us are activist researchers because we care about our content and our communities
• Our denominational stakeholders value activism, our teaching more than our research
• We as a theological sector are weak overall in our research outputs
• Researching our teaching as activist researchers provides an opportunity for us to align our multiple investments and investors and attend to our weakness as a sector

To make this concrete, I outline a set of first steps, under headings of informal research, institutional feedback and researching practice. In the midst of massive social change, the invitation, and imperative, is for us as a theological sector to wonder together by researching our teaching practice.

Posted by steve at 11:24 AM

Friday, February 17, 2017

Structuring Flipped learning: The use of Blooms taxonomy in the classroom experience

A new experience for me today, submitting a proposal to offer a poster to the Australia New Zealand Association of Theological Schools. I’ve not ever offering an academic poster before. However part of my Flinders University 2015 Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching included evidence of practical classroom teaching. It is the sort of material best communicated visually. ANZATS has a stream on Learning and Teaching Theology, so I’ve offered a poster, titled

Structuring Flipped learning: The use of Blooms taxonomy in the classroom experience

This poster will demonstrate the use of Bloom’s taxonomy in structuring the classroom experience in the context of flipped learning. Desiring to personalise the ability of students to consider their own role in the teaching and learning experience, Bloom’s Taxonomy was used in a Christology class to structure content delivery.

The poster will outline the classroom practice. In week one, Bloom’s taxonomy was introduced to both explain flipped approaches to learning, but also to inspire and motivate students to undertake the pre-reading. A set of questions generated discussion and agreement around the types of behaviours that enhance learning, resulting in the development of a shared class covenant in participating in a Flipped Learning Experience.

The poster will further outline the subsequent weeks, including how the classroom experience was structured in relation to different parts of Bloom’s taxonomy. This provided students with choice and also opportunities for immediate formative self-assessment.

Finally the poster will analyse student feedback and the role of the lecturer in engaging class interaction in feedback loops.

Hence the poster will thus provide a visual demonstration of the practice of teaching in dialogue with theoretical engagement with learning theory and interaction with student experience.

Now I’m looking forward to the challenge of communicating all of this visually. It should be a fun, growing, new challenge – if accepted. And something to hang on my wall!

Posted by steve at 03:33 PM

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Research-Led Learning and Teaching

wonder I’ve been invited to be part of the Sydney College of Divinity Learning and Teaching Conference, April 28-9, 2017. The theme is appealing Wondering about God together.

Called ‘the queen of the sciences’, theology begins and ends with wonder at the works of God in the
world. If this wonder is both caught and taught, how can theological educators create a research
culture that fosters deep theological learning? What is the role of research in building communities
of theological learning? Come, let us wonder together!

It invites reflection on the relationship between wonder and Research-Led Learning and Teaching. It also prioritises research in Learning and Teaching, which must be at the heart of higher education and shifts our discussion of learning and teaching out of the realm of anecdote. I have been asked to contribute two keynote addresses, around my research into the impact of flipped learning on theological education. I might also venture into research on innovation and pastoral practice in the face of contemporary.

The conference will offer papers streamed around the four Domains of the new Higher Education Standards (Australia) 2015.

  • Student Experience
  • Learning Environment
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Research and Research Training

The aim is to encourage teaching Faculty and all those involved in the wider tasks of Theological Education to offer papers engaging the wide range of issues currently pressuring all aspects of theological education. The Call for Papers, by 16 November, 2016, is SCD_WonderingAboutGodTogether_Flier.

Posted by steve at 09:55 AM