I am greatly appreciative of some feedback that I don’t want to get buried in the Comments section of a recent posting.
Readers of this web site may recall an article by medico Alex Tang who has seen the value of problem based learning with medical students and he asked, “I wonder whether any seminary is using Problem Based Learning (PBL) as a pedagogy. I know medical education has been changed in a big way by PBL.”
ME has responded today with this comment:
“One of the best implementations of problem-based learning I’ve seen in theological education is “Into the New Testament” a problem-based tool for teaching exegetical skills.”
I note that this resource has been developed by Mary Hinkle Shore, associate professor of New Testament at Luther Seminary. Mary developed this online workbook for use in her classes. It is hosted and supported by her school at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA.
This looks fantastic. Check it out. I’d love to hear from students and others who give this resource a go.
Thanks for the comment and thank you Mary for your creativity. So grateful!
Dr. Geoff Pound
Image: “Into the New Testament.”
Geoff, thank you for posting about Mary Hinkle Shore’s Into the NT I first saw the site some time back when it was only just started. Even then I was very impressed.
She uses a strongly “Problem Based” method, and also focuses on the skills that students need to interpret the biblical text – so fulfilling the one of the sorts of goal of most biblical studies courses.
I have not used her material – I teach OT 😉 But I’d love to use an OT companion site!
Mary’s focus on skills means that many of the problems are not those typically found by seminary graduates. In fact many of them look like conventional biblical studies essays in fancy dress. This however makes them potentially much more engaging to students who are also much clearer about the particular skills each problem is intended to develop.
Perhaps a course like this one could be linked with one that covers the “contents” of the New Testament, and followed by some that focus on different sorts of more real-life problems. E.g. one on preaching, one on ethics etc. but trhat would mean reworking a whole seminary program.
And that is one of the key reasons that problem based approaches have not taken off more in theological education. Alongside the inevitable pedagogical inertia of “teachers” who have not been taught to teach 😉 And an academic culture that is rife with territoriality, for surely a more thoroughly problem based approach would inevitably lead to a more cross-disciplinary approach as well…