Published papers

Developing a living theory of theopraxis: how do I improve my practice as a professional educator in RE?

 
Swaroop Rawal
Re: Developing a living theory of theopraxis: how do I improve my practice as a professional educator in RE?
by Swaroop Rawal - Wednesday, 15 July 2009, 7:15 AM
 

Developing a living theory of theopraxis: how do I improve my practice as a professional educator in Religious Education?

Maria James

ACCEPT - Publish as it stands;

Maria’s paper makes a commendable effort in addressing the critical issue of teaching Religious Education and faith-based practice. Making Religious Education effective and at the same time interesting is an aspect that is more often than not overlooked. The importance of making RE interesting is often underestimated. The challenge as I see it is to demonstrate clearly whether RE can be taught or not. Whether there is a translation of what is learnt in the class to real life outside. Another issue is whether the understanding gained from the research can used by educators and is not dependent on the passion and commitment of an individual personality.

The reason for selecting action research as the method of choice is well stated, and draws out the personal quest of the practitioner-researcher’s attempt to improve and build upon her own personal skills, both as an educator and as an individual.

However, I have some reservations with regards to the image of a senior lecturer as one standing on the higher ground, distinctly divorced from the â€swampy lowlands’ of everyday practices (Schön, 1991). Even though she is a senior lecturer Maria is still an educator. I believe the distinction Schon made was for researchers who are not from â€field’ and were â€purely’ researchers.

I think the â€read thread’ is easy to follow. I was initially a bit sceptical about the links and the visuals. However, the image -http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3092/3226311543_5da67fe9a4.jpg. and http://bbs.chinadaily.com.cn/attachments/month_0904/finger-pointing-796415_LibKhVdkzTpG.jpg made me change my mind. Maria has made very skilful and endearing choices in the images as they express something which is beyond the capacity of words. I do believe that Maria should not be even slightly apologetic concerning the previous link …when she writes â€Perhaps the message that the image communicates is somewhat hackneyed’.. the image is not hackneyed; on the contrary it is strong and effective.

On the other hand I was a bit disappointed with -

http://www.keyframeonline.com/Animation/Wallace_&_Gromit:_The_Wrong_Trousers/169/. Having said that, I also stress it is a personal choice and I think this comment can be ignored.

â€How do I evaluate my educational influences in learning?’ is an interesting read and is written well. It is dynamic making it an excellent piece of reflexivity. In that section, Maria pulls forward the core concepts and the insight the research has given her so far and makes the reader progress with her.

Teaching RE has an inherent problem of being â€value-laden’. In the hands of an incompetent teacher it can be dogmatic. Maria is attempting to find answers to all this and more as a part of her Ph.D study. I wish her the best on her journey ahead to develop deeper insights and share a valuable and honest way of teaching RE.