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Teaching and Christian Practices: Reshaping Faith and Learning Paperback – October 10, 2011

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Teaching and Christian Practices: Reshaping Faith and Learning + Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation (Cultural Liturgies) + Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works (Cultural Liturgies)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (October 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802866859
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802866851
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #455,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This book is a collection of essays by various faculty members in which they describe their experiences linking a particular Christian practice to their classroom pedagogy. For example, one college professor sought to incorporate the Christian dimensions of hospitality into her classroom, thereby challenging the traditional professor-student relationship. Another experimented with the concept of religious reading in a German literature course. Students were to approach the literary texts with the expectation that moral demands would be put on them and that they would be transformed as a result. Whether the successes and disappointments chronicled here will be of interest or even applicable outside the world of Christian higher education remains to be seen. Collectively, these essays do beg several important questions: What is the humanist role of higher education? Should colleges and universities be moral academies that teach specific common values? Are we well served by only a consumerist approach to education? --Christopher McConnell


Perry L. Glanzer
— Baylor University
“Christian professors who seek to integrate their faith into their teaching often lack wise guides. Fortunately, David I. Smith and James K. A. Smith here provide a work in which thoughtful Christian teachers lead readers through reflections upon their own efforts to transform their pedagogical habits by incorporating unique Christian practices. As I read and pondered these insightful stories, I found myself constantly rethinking my own teaching routines. This book represents Christian educational philosophy at its practical best.”

Craig Dykstra and Dorothy C. Bass (from foreward)
"If you want to see great teaching in action, read this book. If you believe that college classes can be communities of learning where knowledge of self, others, and the world is sought in response to God’s call and the world’s need, read this book. If you yearn for pedagogical wisdom capable of sustaining resistance to consumerist and instrumentalist pressures on teaching and learning, read this book. . . . This excellent book is one of the best we have ever read on the subject of pedagogy. It is also one of the best we know on the subject of Christian practices."

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By JDC on September 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book provides a helpful practical face to the theory of higher education outlined in James K.A. Smith's book "Desiring the Kingdom" (arguing that humans are affectional, motivated by loves often shaped by corporate practices).

Contrary to the first review posted here, this book is not written only for seminary professors. It will be most useful for those teaching in Christian contexts (especially at the college level) but would be applicable to a much wider audience.

There is a review essay of this book on the Books and Culture website--probably worth looking at if you are considering purchasing it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Darren Cronshaw on April 8, 2014
Format: Paperback
Recent literature on social practices recognizes that people grow and become who they are not through rationally thinking about ideas, but through embodied participation in activities that are shared with a community and focused on particular outcomes. Christian tradition has developed practices such as contemplative prayer, meditation, sacred reading, fasting, hospitality and silence to help people grow in their character and spiritual depth. These practices can also help intellectual development and guide one’s mind into deeper reflective places.

The editors David Smith and James Smith are passionate about using Christian practices to foster deeper learning and formation, rather than just information consumption. Both teach at Calvin College, a Christian liberal arts college in Grand Rapids, USA. David Smith is Director of Kuyers Institute of Christian Teaching and Learning, which conducted a three-year research project funded by the Valparaiso Project on the Education and Formation of People in Faith. They invited teachers to study the literature on practices and then redesign a course based on one or more Christian practices. Ten of the teachers who took up this challenge reflect on their experience in this book. Half of them are from Calvin College; the other half from other American colleges. They integrate a variety of practices into their teaching of theology, philosophy, history, literature, economics, health science, politics and physics.

The basic argument of the book is that adopting Christian practices for pedagogical purposes will strengthen and deepen teaching and learning. There are ancient and diverse Christian practices that lend themselves to be adopted as teaching methods or community building exercises that enhance learning.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ann on July 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a professor in a different Christian university, I was caught first by the "experiment" in faith integration shared in the essays here. This is not a lesson plan to be followed or a one size fits all recipe - instead the ideas should inspire each educator to examine his/her own practices to find new ways to inbed Christian practices throughout their instruction and student interactions.
Excellent resource.
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