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PublicationHow Do Students Learn Theology?(Teaching Theology and Religion ) 2009-10 Saines, DonThis paper explores the way students learn theology through a small qualitative research project. It is undertaken in conversation with current higher education learning theory. This learning theory suggests that it is important to discover how a student conceptualizes learning and how they perceive the teaching environment. Students interviewed increasingly spoke of the value of this academic or more cognitive side of learning as they learned “deep approaches.” Important in this movement to deep, transformational learning was the presence of a relational teaching environment in which peers and teachers played a crucial role. This present study offers support to the view that the tradition of the learning community remains important for deploying deep approaches to the learning of theology in higher education. The paper argues that these relational principals of teaching and learning remain important in the face of the increased use of technology-based tools and other pedagogical challenges to theological education today.
PublicationLearning to be the church: The value of learning theory for discipleship and mission(Pacifica; 28 (3) ) 2015 Saines, DonThis article draws on the findings of recent learning theory in adult education and describes possible ecclesial dispositions that better enable parish churches to be learning communities within the mission of God for the world. Once we understand our educational philosophy and our goals then we are better served to inform and shape the way we plan and go about the process of teaching and learning, and so develop the church’s sense of mission. The article argues that, deep approaches to learning offer a vision for ecclesial learning that will draw from the many and varied contexts where diversity is increasingly our experience. Creative but transformative learning that is ‘world involving’ precisely because it is ‘God involving’ and vice versa, can help the church mirror approaches to mission that reflect discipleship and mission in the name of the Triune God.
PublicationWider, Broader, Richer: Trinitarian Theology and Ministerial Order(Anglican Theological Review ) 2010 Saines, DonDeveloping expressions of ministry are evident across the Anglican Communion. This paper seeks to address the “crisis in ministry,” as some call it, by offering a theology of relational ministry fitting with these culturally diverse developments. Drawing from the doctrine of the Trinity, the paper argues that ordered or relational ministry arises out of and is formed by the relational nature of the Triune God, known in Christ and the Spirit in the world as an outward movement of generosity. The understanding of order and ministry arises out of a communio ecclesiology that is viewed as a “method” or an “ecclesial disposition.” What this means for order and ministry requires ongoing vigilance and theological reflection. This paper is such an undertaking. It does so by drawing on historical precedent and present cultural inclination so as to develop an understanding of ordered ministry in its dynamic and diverse but relational sacramental identity.
PublicationToward Redemption in Theological Education: Teaching and Learning Theology(St Mark's Review; 209 (3) ) 2009 Saines, DonResearch findings into student approaches to learning and learning theory in theological education are examined. The research helps theological educators understand the process of learning in the context of a changing pedagogical, social and cultural scenario.