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Learner-Centered Quality Management at Theological Seminaries

Author: Verena Schafroth
Date: April 28th, 2012
Key Words: leaner-centered pedagogy, learning, power, teacher, evaluation, feedback culture,

Theological seminaries have commonly adopted an instructional paradigm (IP), which dates back to the economic needs of the industrial revolution and which has been prevalent at secular universities ever since. Its catchphrases are administrative control, ownership of knowledge by the faculty, isolation and competition (Harris & Cullen, 2010). The last few decades, however, have witnessed the dawn of a new era: the information age. This shift also made way for an educational change to a learner-centered pedagogy (LCP), in which people, their individual differences and backgrounds are valued and collaboration and team work is focused on (Barr & Tagg, 1995). McCombs and Miller (2007, p. 16) define LCP as “the combination of a focus on individual learners with a focus on the best available knowledge we have about learning and the teaching practices that support learning for all teachers and students alike.” The all too cognitive preparation of ministers at seminaries has long been criticised by church leaders and denominations, which is why this paper will assess the implications of a shift to LCP at seminaries, given that research has shown that LCP results in increased motivation, learning, and holistic development. As an introduction to LCP, five key pedagogical areas will be considered, after which consequences for quality management will be discussed. 


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