November 12, 2007

Discussing MERRIAM's Selected Writings on Philosophy and Adult Education

Divine Drill and Practice

I just sat in on a presentation by the psychometricist from Western Governors University. They advertise that they are just like any other school except without the teachers and classes. All their degrees are competency based- if you can pass their tests, you get the sheepskin.

This movement is the logicus terminus of the utilitarian/pragmatic approach that sees iterations in several of the philosophies we have looked at. The goal is to produce a resume that will get the graduate hired. Social skills are irrelevant. In contrast, the transformation that should take place in the Christian classroom is to be two way- the teacher must teach from the overflow of what the Spirit is doing in their own life for this type of transformation to occur. I agree that current trends toward teacher as facilitator eliminates the motivation of the teacher to lay themselves bare before God before teaching. Putting on the talking head and follow the script does not follow any biblical paradigm I can find.

Programmed learning as it exists in behaviorism is not what the Shema (Deuteronomy 6) is describing, I would propose... teaching and learning about loving God happens holistically - in the heart ( in Hebrew thinking, the seat of the mind or intellect), soul (equated with the person himself, the being, not the Hellenistic idea of something discrete from body and spirit), and strength. We are to teach repetitively (the Hebrew here does carry a behaviorist notion of drilling them into the child, but the tefillin or phylacteries of later Jewish origin tended to turn this beautiful rehearsal of truth into ritual.) Reckoning reality repeatedly should be more of a joyous song than a mantra.

Teacher as facilitator can work if the facilitator is exercising the true meaning of the word- to ease the process of learning, focusing on real, not felt student needs. The teacher serves the student by serving God's purposes in their lives, not what they perceive that they want to construct.

Discussion points here soon... I wrote the following in response to a thread that took off on how to relate to homosexuals in the church; I see deeper implications for this as the realization of the agenda has been through the conduit of Higher Education.

The difficult thing about deliverance

The servant leader serves others out of an interest in seeing Christ’s purposes accomplished in their lives. Higher Ed is in the stranglehold of the homosexual agenda, so I will weigh in here. Having worked in the arts and Higher ed for most of my career, I can identify with anyone who wants to thread the needle of loving the sinner and hating the sin.

I have worked with, witnessed to, and had my heart broken more times than I can count over the years by friends and coworkers in the homosexual community. I currently work with two individuals that I pray for daily. They are among the most competent people I know.

We cannot get around the fact that light has to confront darkness (Matt 18:15–20) in order to love. In the last context, if a church member slips back into that old lifestyle, discipline- whatever is required- is in order.

In attempting to think and act biblically, I must conclude that any Church that intimates acceptance of homosexual lifestyle by conferring membership to an active homosexual is not doing a single soul trapped in that darkness any favors by calling the lifestyle anything other than what it is- sin. And yes, I would apply this measure to any other habitual lifestyle of sin. (1 Cor 6:8-10).

And why I stand here...

this all may seem like a rabbit trail, but I think it is justified, given the power of the homosexual lobby and veneer of acceptability it has gained in Educational circles that in part has empowered its infiltration of the Church and all of society as well. The watershed issue here seems to be what constitutes Church membership. Grace extends into the darkness and conquers it. The beautiful Bride of Christ is to permeate the culture with righteousness as well as love. Purity is not an option; this requires brokenness over our own personal sin and glorifying Christ in our bodies. The human body is the Temple of the third person of the Trinity- this is serious business. (1 Cor 6)

God is not glorified by "church members" who are actively introducing this perversion into the presence of the Holy One. The concept of church membership is predicated upon a regenerate, covenant priesthood of believers. (1 Peter 2:5, Ephesians 5:30) A lifestyle of sin, and as Romans 1 characterizes it, "supressing the Truth" excludes the unrepentent practicioner from entering into partaking of that covenent relationship. It has nothing to do with the church being "judgmental". It is a state of being that breaks the heart of the Bride.

The concept of a redeemed and yet active homosexual constitutes a "lofty argument" (2 Cor 10:5-6) that must be brought down. Redemption is from something and to something, he has called us out of darkness and into marvelous light.1 Peter 2:9, I Thess 5:5) The model the Bible presents is compassionate engagement, coupled with destruction of the gates of hell in a cosmic battle ( 2 Cor 10:2-4).

Perhaps we are defining "membership" differently? I don't see how one can consider actual inclusion in the body until one repents and believes. Open the doors and bring poor sinners in, but Grace must attain to be grafted into the vine. the believer is a supernatural being- we are not "a new creatures" only- we constitute "new creation" (2 Cor 5:17).

Overview of the Month- Online Learning

News from the Industry

Athabasca U (Edmonton, Ontario)gets $30M to expand -

The province is contributing $30 million toward the construction of a new academic and research centre at Athabasca University. With demand for distance learning on the rise, the new facility is needed to expand Athabasca's service, including adding new technology, support staff and library materials, administrators said.

Accessibility is important for education, too - Times-Union

Article on the need for investment in work force development. The fact that the nation is seeing a dramatic decline in degree completion among adults, at the very time that the majority of newly created jobs are requiring post-secondary education, should be an alarm bell for higher education.

National Survey Indicates High School Students Preference for Online Learning to Expand Educational Choices - Marketwire

National School Boards Association Annual T+L conference -- Blackboard Inc. and Project Tomorrow, a national education nonprofit group, today announce the release of Learning in the 21st Century: A National Report of Online Learning. The report underscores the importance and value which online learning plays in increasing student and teacher achievement.

Tune in, to e-learning - Times of India

Online education's acceptance as a diverse and powerful tool of learning is yet to gain momentum in India. That is changing.

Strategies to Engage Online Students and Reduce Attrition Rates - Lorraine M. Angelino, et al; the JEO

Attrition continues to be a major issue in higher education. Attrition rates for classes taught through distance education are 10 — 20% higher than classes taught in a face-to-face setting.

University of Florida to Present Results of Online Learning Research - Government Technology

The University of Florida (UF) has announced some early results from a nationwide education study that suggests that online learning and state-led virtual schools can be as effective as live classroom teaching methods. The research resulted from a three-year $600,000 grant by the AT&T Foundation

Study: Disabled less likely to be online - Anick Jesdanun, Associated Press

Americans with disabilities and other chronic conditions are less likely to use the Internet, but those who are online are among the most avid consumers of health-related information, a new study finds.

Educational Pathways (leading online learning journal) Archives Open - George Lorenzo, Educational Pathways

George Lorenzo has announced that all articles in Educational Pathways that were published previous to the past year-to-date are now freely accessible online. Ed note: EP is a leading publication in online learning.

Your Guide to Virtual Worlds - Mark Glaser, Media Shift

New frontier to be mined for educational purposes.

Colorado Technical University Online Launches CTUMobile(TM)

Colorado Technical University's Online campus, a well known degree-granting institution, announced the launch of CTUMobile - an easy-to-use mobile learning channel that delivers elements of Colorado Tech's online educational programs via web-enabled cell phones and other wireless devices.

Sloan-C Survery Reports More Online Enrollments - Inside Higher Ed

More students than ever are taking courses online, but that doesn’t mean the growth will continue indefinitely. That’s the takeaway from the Sloan Foundation’s latest survey, conducted with the Babson Survey Research Group, of colleges’ online course offerings.With results from nearly 4,500 institutions of all types, the report, "Online Nation: Five Years of Growth in Online Learning", found that in fall 2006, nearly 3.5 million students – or 19.8 percent of total postsecondary enrollments – took at least one course online.

Games-Based Learning — Tomorrow’s Training Today? - Terry Hurley, Training Zone

Games-based learning isn’t a new concept. Games-based learning motivates and engages learners in a more creative manner than traditional classroom-based learning. Today, approximately 70% of European company.

Christian is as Christian does

Discussing: (Management Essentials for Christian Ministry by Estep and Anthony)

Discuss the concept of administration as servanthood as indicated beginning on page 45. Include the comparison of the Gentile and Christian paradigm. Have you seen illustrations of the Gentile paradigm in Christian ministries?

The answer to follow here soon.

The Gentile paradigm

The description in the book of the polarized Christian and gentile paradigms is a bit simplistic, as servant leadership as a concept or principle has been pursued by non-Christians for a long time in the literature and in practice (and sometimes more successfully than in many churches). Greenleaf wrote what is considered the seminal "secular" work on this over thirty years ago. I work just a stones throw from the Greenleaf Center in Indianapolis.

The so-called Gentile paradigm raises its ugly head anytime the God given authority of a leader/administrator is usurped for man's glory and not God's. I saw it most vividly at a church I was a part of for nearly five years some time ago. The pastor started believing his own press, as the church expanded to over 1000 members. I saw a change in him as he publicly mocked his teachers and mentors who had advised him that he did not have the gift of leadership by pointing to his "numbers." He stated from the pulpit that the Christian way was to "use one another". This church had one leader and one alone, and rotated through other staff like a revolving door.

He very nearly fell into abject moral failure which was interrupted by a revelation to the Church. He systematically attempted to ruin the reputation of the secretary who was the object of his intentions when found out. He proposed that deceitful methods were justified in getting people into church membership as well as in witnessing. And people who were enamored with this thought he was God's annointed and not to be touched.

Many years later, I'm currently in the process of joining another local church that is undergoing restoration as I write. I believe the Lord is calling us to join in the rebuilding of this church that was devastated by the Pastor's lack of acountability and total disregard for the servant paradigm. It was sort of a mini-version of the Richard Roberts debacle going today. The story never ends. With an entirely new staff and change in the lay leadership as well, I am praying this church can overcome the financial burdens and humiliation it has been left with and become a great church that glorifies God in my community. This is a place where I can live out my theology of failure.

Comments? Questions? Respond on the form below.

When you hit submit your browser will display a message that requires approval
for the e-mail being sent. It's OK. Really.


E-mail address:



From the personal weblog of Anthony Foster @