Category Archives: Along the Journey

From our Center of Lifelong Learning.

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Eight Ways to Maintain Your Learner’s Attention

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

Much of what we do by way of teaching takes the form of classroom instruction. It’s a pedagogy that is highly dependent on teacher performance. So much so that we can identify around 49 specific instructional acts that are teacher-specific. The key to instructional effectiveness is knowing how to perform those acts effectively. Part of the dance of the classroom is triggering the connection between teacher performance and student learning. I think too many teachers work too hard at teaching as performance, to the extent they run the risk of turning learning into a spectator sport. When that happens learning loses its effectiveness. The pedagogical principle at work here is, “Students learn what they are giving attention to, and when they don’t give attention, they don’t learn.”

In classroom instruction, then, student attention is key to learning. Here are eight ways to maintain attention in classroom instruction: Continue reading

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For the Bookshelf: The Family in the Bible

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

The title of this concise book says it all: The Family in the Bible: Exploring Customs, Culture, and Context, by Richard S. Hess and M. Daniel Carroll R. Coming from an evangelical orientation, the collection of essays in this book on the family focus on the depiction of the family in the varied times and contexts of the biblical canon. While the book itself is not organized thematically—there are, logically, two parts: Part 1: Family in the Old Testament, and Part 2: Family in the New Testament—some of the contributing writers do approach their treatment thematically. The chapters provide responsible reviews of the biblical content when it pertains to families, describing, but also interpreting, the ways that the family is understood in the section of the Bible under review. The family, as a social unit, is presented in the cultural contexts of the grand scope of the ever-evolving biblical worldviews in the canon. The writing is impressively tight, consistently so, allowing for a rich biblical background resource in a short 175 pages.

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How Church Size Influences Christian Education

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

There are many factors that influence Christian education programming in congregations. Two of those factors are staff leadership and congregational size. While we may desire otherwise the fact is that congregations are highly dependent on program staff for leadership, development, and the effectiveness of educational programs. And often, educational program leaders are the last staff hired (the typical order of staff hires are: pastor, musician, part-time youth/children staff, full-time youth/children staff, then, educator). Which means that any educator who is the first full-time program staff person in a congregation likely has to deal with years of neglect in the area of church-wide educational programming.

The second factor that influences congregational education is the size of a congregation. Below are general characteristics related to how the size of a congregation affects educational programming: Continue reading

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For the Bookshelf: The Order of Ministry

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

Topics and themes have a cyclical life to them, coming into popular dialogue and debate and then receding into the background, as others become the “hot” issue of the day. Happily, recent years have seen the resurgence of one of the more important concepts in both theology and congregational concerns, namely, the role of the laity in the church. The Order of Ministry: Equipping the Saints , ed. by Jerry L. Sumney. Lexington, KY: Lexington Theological Seminary, 2002. 102 pages, is a collection of essays addressed to a Disciples of Christ audience on matters of long concern for that denomination: ordination and the role of the laity under the understanding of the priesthood of all believers.

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Using Prayer in Your Teaching

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

I remember congratulating a young man on his first sermon. The topic was prayer and he did very well for his first effort. Responding to my compliment on his performance, he replied, “Thanks, but I couldn’t go wrong on this one. Who’s not going to agree that prayer is important?”

Despite his motives for choosing a safe topic to address in his first sermon, the young man was right, who doesn’t agree that prayer is important? Prayer is a given in the Christian life. It is foundational to continuing spiritual growth, including learning about the Christian life in formal educational settings.

Using prayer in the learning experience is one effective way to help your learners grow. There are more opportunities to pray in our teaching and learning than we may realize. Prayer doesn’t just happen when we bow our heads, close our eyes, and whisper a message to God. Prayer can happen all throughout the learning experience if we plan for it and incorporate it into our lesson planning. Delia Halverson in her book, 32 Ways to Become A Great Sunday School Teacher, suggests five ways to use prayer in the learning experience.
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