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ISSN 2346-7479; Volume 4, Issue 2, pp.

26-32; May, 2015

Online Journal of African Affairs

2015 Online Research Journals
Full Length Research
Available Online at http://www.onlineresearchjournals.org/JAA

Blended learning: Innovation in the teaching

of practical theology to undergraduate
students from diverse African backgrounds1
Ian A. Nell
Associate Professor, Department of Practical Theology and Missiology, Faculty of Theology, University of Stellenbosch,
South Africa. E-mail: ianell@sun.ac.za; Tel.: 021-808-9094.
Received 9 May, 2015

Accepted 24 May, 2015

Blended learning is an approach to teaching which is gaining ground in the academic world. This form
of learning developed partly as a result of the problem of information overload and the need for
integration of theory and praxis. Recent brain research indicates that the brain changes necessary for
success in the learning process are related to various factors like practical exercises, emotions and
background feelings at the time of learning. The purpose of this research was to evaluate the innovative
use of blended learning by first-year students from diverse African backgrounds through empirical
surveys. The results of two empirical surveys indicate that students experienced this blended form of
learning positively. The results are interpreted using theoretical insights from the fields of pedagogy
and practical theology. Four pedagogical strategies are discussed, all of which make a unique
contribution to the learning process. In the last section a number of recommendations are made
regarding the use of blended learning in practical theological teaching by analysing a specific case
history in a theo-dramatic approach to practical theology. The use of the film Son of Man is examined
as an example in terms of the intended outcomes for practical theological teaching.
Key words: Blended learning, practical theology, pedagogy, film, theo-drama.
Practical theology is constantly under reconstruction [1].
Part of this work in progress is the teaching of the
subject to undergraduate students. These students
participate in a so-called rite of passage in which
academic literacy is one of the main goals [2 pp201-222].
Ballard and Clancy [3] describe academic literacy as a
compound of linguistic, conceptual and epistemological
rules and norms of the academe in which the student
develops the ability to use written language to perform
those functions required by the (University) culture in
ways and at levels judged to be acceptable by the
As practical theology is continuously under
reconstruction it also requires innovation in teaching en
route to academic literacy. Another goal of the
programmes in practical theology is to make students
part of a community of practice [4] in which social
competence and personal experience form part of the
learning process. According to Cummins [5] students
fields of competence are enlarged by creating more

opportunities for socialisation and participation in a

specific community of discourse. In this way students
become part of a new community or discipline group by
learning a new set of values and developing a new
identity, without sacrificing their old identity. The research
described in this article reports on a case history in which
innovation of an existing programme within the BTh
degree of Stellenbosch University took place with the aid
of blended learning .
The innovation relates to the problem experienced in
the curriculum, which offered only one type of learning
experience: the presentations of lecturers in a classroom
situation. This in turn relates to the further challenge of
the integration of theory and practice in the teaching of
practical theology to students in the field of practical

Financial support by FIRLT (Funds for Innovation in Research into Learning

and Teaching at Stellenbosch University).
Blended learning (BLE) is increasingly used in the world, especially in
university degrees. It is based on integrating web-based learning and face-toface (FTF) learning environments (Yilmaz 2010:121).


Innovation of Learning Experience
Innovation in the form of blended learning through the
use of web studies, tutorial assistance, service learning
activities and different modes of assessment works with
the hypothesis that, it not only increases students
competence to develop academic literacy and gives
access to the community of discourse, but also influences
their learning experience in a positive manner. The
supposition is that the better the general experience and
learning experience of the learner, the greater the
probability that they will be motivated to creatively
participate in the learning experience. In this regard the
researcher concur with the point of departure of Leibowitz
et al. [6], which is that the success of the first year
student depends largely on the students willingness to
also accept responsibility, ownership, of his/her own
wellness and thus react positively to the influence of
others and the community.
The problem which is also investigated, was not only
experienced by the researcher, but also forms part of the
wider academic discourses about the teaching of
practical theology [7]. This innovation is further
necessitated by meta-theoretical shifts in the field of
theology and teaching. The problem can be summarised
as the transformation of an exaggerated one-dimensional
focus on the cognitive-theoretical teaching of practical
theology to the creation of more opportunities for
socialisation and participation in practical-theological
discourses by expanding students social competence
and personal experience. This also leads to a greater
integration of theory and praxis as discussed in recent
research about practical theology [8]. The research question
addressed in the article can be formulated as follows:
Could a greater integration of formal teaching through the
use of blended learning in the form of web studies and
tutorial assistance, involvement in service learning
activities and the use of different forms of assessment,
lead to improved and more integrated learning processes
in the teaching of practical theology to undergraduate
Blended Learning
Although blended learning has been in use for more than
a decade, it does not seem to have penetrated academic
programmes in theological disciplines. This becomes
very clear if you ask theologians how they understand
blended learning. Answers tend towards, What? Never
heard of it or, I have heard the term, but have no idea
what it is or, Is it not if you add e-learning and all that
stuff? or, Is it not just putting old wine in new bags?
Thorne [9] defines blended learning as follows:
Blended learning is the most logical and natural evolution


of our learning agenda. It suggests an elegant solution to

the challenges of tailoring learning and development to
the needs of individuals. It represents an opportunity to
integrate the innovative and technological advances
offered by online learning with the interaction and
participation offered in the best of traditional learning. It
can be supported and enhanced by using the wisdom
and one-to-one contact of personal coaches.
From this it is clear that blended learning consists of a
combination of traditional forms of learning in a
classroom situation (face to face communication) and
multimedia technology which can include web studies,
virtual classrooms, email, online activities, service
learning and journal activities. The importance and
significance of this form of learning lies in the potential it
offers. It creates the opportunity to make the right
learning experiences, through the right learning
processes, in the right places possible for every individual
student. In this way the rite of passage of academic
literacy and access to the community of a new academic
discourse is facilitated better and made easier. According
to Frick [10] the latter is ultimately also an important
condition for students to develop their own academic
Paradigm Shifts in Practical-theological Teaching
The core of the theological theory formation on which this
research is based, is related to the move away from an
encyclopaedic approach in which the various fields are
dealt with in silos, to an interdisciplinary approach with
greater integration of theory and praxis. When we work
with a hermeneutic-rhetorical point of departure to
theological theory formation and teaching [11] practical
theology is not a subject which is only addressed at the
end of a theological curriculum, but one in which students
become part of the academic discourse in practical
theology from the start of their studies. So doing they not
only become part of a community of practice but also
learn how the integration of theory and practice takes
place [12-14].
At the beginning of 2012 it was decided to give
innovative attention to the module Practical Theology 114
with the aid of tutorial assistance from CTL and through
the use of blended learning. PT 114 is a compulsory firstyear module in the BTh programme. The aim of the
module is to give students an introduction to the field of
practical theology. Another module which is compulsory

CTL is the Centre for Teaching and Learning at Stellenbosch University which
describes its activities as follows: Our vision is to be a centre of excellence
which facilitates quality teaching and learning at Stellenbosch University. Our
mission is to support the institution and lecturers to promote the teaching and
learning climate and maximally increase the potential for student success.For
more information visit: http://www.sun.ac.za/Teaching/indeks.htm
The most recent Inleiding tot praktieseteologie is the work of Heyns, L and
Pieterse, H, 1990. Eerstetre in praktieseteologie, which is more than 25 years


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for first years is Information Skills5. Students often

complain this last is a freestanding module in which
certain computer skills are taught, but without it being
linked to a specific course or assignment. The empirical
study and results will be discussed next.
Empirical Study
The methodology used in the two analyses can be
described as mixed methods [15,16].7 Denscombe [17]
describes the methods as follows; The mixed methods
approach has emerged as a third paradigm' for social
research. It has developed a platform of ideas and
practices that are credible and distinctive and that mark
out this approach as a viable alternative to quantitative
and qualitative paradigms. The first questionnaire was
completed by the 2012 year group and the second by the
class of 2013.8 Both questionnaires were prepared and
completed making use of web studies. The questionnaire
consisted of three sections, each evaluating a different
aspect of the learning experience. The three sections are:
Section 1: Class attendance, time spent on
assignments and experience of assignments and journal
entries. The answers to these questions yielded a
positive response between 80% and 90%. In an open
question about students general impression of the
course, the researchers received only two responses; I
feel that PT 114 helped me to develop a theological
vocabulary and also to understand how other races and
denominations perceive things and feel about things, the
reading of sources was very interesting and I feel that it
was very applicable to us first-years; Second response;
This module helped me to answer questions that I used
to struggle with as to why the Church seems not to be
effective in delivering its services. I am fairly certain that
the content will help to make a difference in my ministry.
Section 2: Attendance of PT 114 tutorials, value of
tutorials (web studies, computer use, and journals), and
knowledge of use of library. Here the average positive
response was between 70% and 80% and it is clear that
the level of students computer skills vary. Those more
familiar with e-learning activities (like web studies) find
the tutorials less useful after a while. In an open question
about how the tutorials can be adapted to offer better

In the Calendar for Arts and Social Sciences (2011:172) this module is
described as: Study and practice of information usage, the WWW and selected
software programs such as word processing, databases, spread sheets and
presentations that are necessary for communication and information purpose
in the humanoria.
Cf. some of the responses to the questionnaire.
The mixed methods approach has emerged as a third paradigm' for social
research. It has developed a platform of ideas and practices that are credible
and distinctive and that mark out this approach as a viable alternative to
quantitative and qualitative paradigms.
Dr JP Bosman of CTL helped to compile the questionnaire using web studies.
The good cooperation between the lecturer, tutor and Dr Bosman contributed
greatly to the successful completion of the empirical part of the study.

support to students, responses show the same trends; I

think it was meaningful, but I think students who struggle
should receive assistance separately, It was fine, but I
can work most of this stuff out myself, maybe it should be
conducted more than once a week. It was very useful and
now I am able to search for information concerning my
studies without any struggles.
Section 3: The assessment of computer and web
studies skills before and after tutorials, user friendliness
of web studies, and its contribution to study success.
Here the average response was again between 70% and
80%. In an open question about how web studies can be
extended to offer more support to students, the replies
were illuminating; Because I am a beginner, I am still
learning about the use of web studies, I am not very
focussed on computers, and I think it is necessary, I
would prefer that it be used in more subjects, I think it
should be the only form of communication between
lecturer and student outside the classroom. I think it
should be given more time in a week. I have learnt a lot in
my web studies and it has also helped me with the
struggles I had in my information skills module.
The results of the empirical studies clearly indicate that
blended learning as a combination of face to face
teaching in a class situation, tutor guidance with the aid
of web studies, service learning activities through
discussions with a mentor, and exposure to the practices
of faith communities followed by journal entries and
normal assessment processes, all try to confirm the
hypothesis of this study in an innovative manner. The
hypothesis is: The better the experience and the
accompanying learning environment, the greater the
possibility that the student will be motivated to participate
in the learning exercise and in doing so become part of a
specific community of discourse. In the following section
four different pedagogical strategies are used as heuristic
instruments to further reflect on the importance of
blended learning.
Four Pedagogical Strategies
The results of the empirical study about the importance of
the use of blended learning in the teaching of practical
theology to first-year students can be further deepened
and elucidated using the following four pedagogical
strategies. The researcher make use of the
comprehensive study of Foster et al. [18 pp67-186]
entitled; Educating clergy Teaching practices and
pastoral imagination. In this work they discuss four
different strategies, which the researcher have made use
of, trying to supplement every strategy with an own
application of blended learning in the teaching of practical
theology to first-year students.9

Compare the work of Cahalan, Hess and Miller-McLemore (2008)which

makes use of six strategies in the teaching of practical theology.


Contextual Pedagogies
Pedagogies of contextualisation refer to pedagogies that
all emphasise the social situatedness of knowledge and
practice in some way [18 pp127-155]. In the case of the
teaching of practical theology to first-year students, it
takes into account their situation as newcomers (rites of
passage) in the academic discourse of practical
theology. In the teaching of students the first aim is to
foster an awareness of their own context. The goal is to
help them to reflect about the task of practical theology
A second pedagogy focuses on
developing in students the ability to participate
constructively in the meeting between their different
contexts. Whether it is the context of the class situation,
the tutorial assistance, the meeting with a mentor or
participation in activities in faith communities, it is all
about developing the ability to interpret various contexts.
A third pedagogy is to make students aware of the
processes of social and systemic transformation of
contexts. Students become aware of their own and other
cultural prejudices and the importance of approaching
social analyses from different perspectives. From these
pedagogies it is clear that the social situation of the
student has a big influence on the teaching and learning
situation of the student.
Interpretative Pedagogies
There is consensus in the theories of interpretation that
there are four different realities in the process of
interpretation. This includes; a phenomenon which must
be interpreted, the interpreter, the interaction of the
interpreter with that which must be interpreted, and the
interest of a community of interpretation. All these
interpretation practices have one communal goal; to help
students to think critically [18 pp70-99]. In the light of this,
different pedagogies of interpretation can be
distinguished. They include:
Interpretation as a continuous dialogue in which various
levels of dialogue can be discerned. In the teaching
situation of first-year students the element of encouraging
them to participate in various dialogues specifically
comes into play. This includes dialogue in the classroom
with the help of the Socratic Method (question and
answer), conversations with mentors in a service learning
situation about the work which are dealt with in class and
in group discussions in class.
Interpretation as the application of tradition. The students
are from different denominational traditions. Each one of
these traditions is a lens, colouring the interpretation
process. A consciousness of an appreciation of these
traditions helps students to understand how the

Compare the work of the Roman Catholic theologian Robert

Schreiter(1985)who spent much of his career in the study of context(s).


interpretation of the same activity (for example baptism or

communion) can lead to different applications of the
traditions. Interpretation through the choice of the right
method. Here it is important to understand that the
outcomes of the module determine the method. If there is
consensus that it is about the development of the critical
thinking ability, then it is important that the methodology
should also serve the outcome. Should the goal of critical
thinking in short be described as understanding, the
method should help students to develop the ability to
make sense of texts, situations or contexts, and events.
Thus it is the capacity to analyse texts, situations and
relations, and integrate it in a frame of understanding.
Students must be guided to understand that they are part
of an on-going dialogue with the source documents,
traditions and contemporary practices of faith
Formative Pedagogies
The distinguishing characteristic of formative pedagogies
is that they strive to contribute to the formation of
knowledge, attitudes, skills and customs that are related
to the development of a professional identity and with the
accompanying practices, commitments and integrity. The
goal which a formative pedagogy strives for in the case of
religious leaders has to do with involvement in the
mystery of human existence [18 pp99-126]. Three
approaches to pedagogy of formation can be distinguished,
which includes:
The practice of the presence of God: This pedagogy is
about making students aware of that which is holy and
mysterious, which transcends human consciousness
through texts and the reality itself. Thus it is about the
transformation of the consciousness which has the ability
to make sense of things from the perspective of the
TotallyOther which is symbolic of God, the holy and the
Sanctification as practice: This pedagogy concurs with
the previous one, but also goes further to live on every
word and gesture, taste, touch, smell, sound, and sight of
the liturgies they celebrate with people [18 p.104].
Through the practising of customs and attitudes related to
the previous, students learn a manner of being (being
functions) which is unique to each ones individual
tradition. The pedagogical intention is that in time they
will embody the value of a certain religious tradition in the
manner in which they think, talk, act and develop
The practice of religious leadership: This pedagogy is
the practice of the attitudes and customs of the previous
pedagogy, but specifically within certain roles and
responsibilities related to the practices of a religious
vocation. Students are guided to master certain skills that
lead to the formation of patterns of leadership. This is


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related to the manner in which the interaction of

institutional processes and the people participating in
them is facilitated.
In each of these pedagogies it is clear that an integration
of head, heart and hand thus in whom students are,
what they do and what they know is essential.
Therefore these pedagogies are interdependent on one
another to assist and rehearse the cognitive abilities,
emotional development, practical skills and identity
formation of students.
Performative Pedagogies
Performative language provides the vocabulary to
describe the public practice of the roles and
responsibilities related to religious leadership. The
performance of the lecturer in class and the ultimate
professional performance of students in the career world
are not separate. Pedagogies of coaching which are to
be found in actions like the liturgy, preaching and
teaching are closely related to practices found in theatres
where performative language is also at work. Thus the
term performance is used widely to indicate a manner of
thinking and doing which is revealed in the actions of
peoples performances, in the rehearsing or putting into
action of events. This performance takes place at a
specific time and in specific circumstances, which are
constantly shifting, and in the performance a specific
embodiment of the action takes place [18 pp156-189].
McCall in [18 p.167] names four characteristics of a
performative pedagogy which are also suitable for the
discussion of this specific pedagogy. These characteristics
are; (1) the text of the performance, (2) the actors or
characters and the audience, (3) the plot, or the manner
in which the performance takes place, and (4) the telos or
purpose of the performance.
The text: focuses the attention on that which must be
performed. In the teaching of students in practical
theology it is typically the text of the Bible and tradition,
but it can also be the text of a liturgy, a sermon or a
catechism. It can be in writing, in some art form, part of
an oral tradition or a ritual. In the teaching of practical
theology the goal is to put students in dialogue with the
texts of the religious traditions when they study them.
Simultaneously they also begin to learn how to rehearse
it in the practice of prayers, liturgical actions, care of
people and other modes of actions.
The characters and audience: (lecturer and students)
appear on the stage of the classroom, and what takes
place here serves as a form of rehearsal for the
performance of the plot which is enacted in faith
communities and for which students are prepared. As
preachers, pastors, teachers and evangelists these
students will continue their activities on the stage of faith
communities. And as in the classroom their roles will

keep changing from actor to director to choreographer to

ensure that the plot unfolds.
The plot: (manner and medium of performance) requires
a certain competence, ability or skill of the actors. Think
of the skills needed to lead a service as liturgist. Aspects
like clothing, posture, gestures, use of symbols and tone
of voice all work together to create an atmosphere of
holiness at certain times and in certain places. All these
aspects form part of the plot as a performance of the
practices of a tradition.
The telos or purpose of the performance: is related to
the ultimate goal of the various pedagogies in practical
theology. This is about imagination, attitudes, skills and
knowledge that link the different academic disciplines in
theology and also determine the culture and mission of a
specific institution.
It is clear that the integration of the different per formative
pedagogies form part of a dynamic interaction in which
students get the opportunity to give form and expression
to the knowledge, attitudes, skills and perspectives which
they learn and rehearse in the learning situation. The
researchers now examine the use of blended learning in
practical theological teaching in terms of the potential a
film like Son of Man offers in the light of the hoped for
outcomes of practical-theological teaching.
Blended Learning in Practical Theological Teaching
The film Son of Man: Introduction
Son of Man portrays the story of Jesus according to
episodes from the New Testament but against the
background of contemporary Africa. Jesus, played by
AndileKosi, is the main character in a tense political
situation in which violence is an everyday occurrence.
Maria, Jesus mother, played by Pauline Malefane, flees
the violence and gives birth to Jesus in a contemporary
squatter camp situation. Jesus grows up and collects a
group of followers (disciples). His message is one of nonviolent resistance. Every scene and the various
characters in the film are a reinterpretation of extracts
from the gospels from a dramatic point of departure. The
disciples for example include a number of women. The
film has relatively little dialogue (all of it in Xhosa), but,
typical of Africa, there is much music, which comes from
the heart. Some of the most moving moments in the film
are scenes of choir music to the glory of God. The
director Mark Donford-May with the Dimphi Di Kopane
improvisation. This same theatre community also
performed U-Carmen, a version of Bizets opera sung
entirely in Xhosa. 11

For more information about the Dimphi Di Kopane theatre community visit:



Contextual Insights

Formative Insights

If we bear in mind the three contextual pedagogies

named, that is the cultivation of an awareness of own
context, the construction, participation in and interaction
of different contexts, and the social and systemic
transformation of contexts, it becomes clear why the film
offers a good point of departure for the teaching of
practical theology. The film is shown early in the course.
The underlying epistemology, which can be described as
the videosphere12, is one that resonates well with most
students basic frames of reference. Students from a
mainly white background are immediately confronted with
a squatter camp context and a black Messiah, both of
which are alien to them and require conceptual
adjustments. The students from traditional Africa contexts
usually understand the Xhosa dialogue in the film and
help their classmates with the interpretation. Their
understanding of the Xhosa culture also helps with the
reinterpretation of certain symbolic acts, like the fact that
in the film Jesus is circumcised according to the Xhosa
tradition, which indicates a reinterpretation of the practice
of baptism in the New Testament stories. Clearly a rich
consciousness of contexts is created here, which not only
offers opportunities for interaction, but also has the
potential for social and systemic transformation of these

As explained, formative pedagogies are mainly

concerned with involvement with the mystery of human
existence. This includes the rehearsing of the presence
of God, sanctification as practice and the practice of
religious leadership. The film is ultimately an example of
what Ganzevoort [19] calls lived religion and we find
each of the aspects mentioned in the film. To name but
one example, there is a scene in which Jesus breaks
bread with his disciples in a squatter hut and drinks from
a tin cup. The sacramental nature of this act includes all
three formative aspects. The students participation in the
activities of faith communities (service learning) and the
linking thereof to the theoretic insights discussed in class,
including a discussion of the sacraments, creates
numerous opportunities for faith formation. The fact that
the students prepare themselves for some form of spiritual
leadership, cultivates the awareness that these activities
should be rehearsed as faith customs and discipline.

Interpretive Insights
As well as the contextual insights, the three aspects of
interpretive pedagogies are also present in the
interpretation of this film. Interpretation as dialogue is
stimulated by the discussions between lecturer and
students and students amongst themselves about the
meaning of the film. The dialogue is further reinforced by
the application of different traditions that come into play
here, which include a rich variety of cultural and religious
traditions. The third aspect, which is related to the
method of interpretation, creates the ideal opportunity for
the development of critical thinking where students
develop the ability to find meaning in texts (the film as
text) and contexts. In this manner their capacity to
analyse texts and contexts and integrate it in a frame of
thinking, is further enlarged. The assignments arising
from this help students to further evolve their
interpretation skills as the analytical aspect of scientific
thinking is encouraged and writing skills developed.14

The philosopher Johan Rossouw makes use of the termslogosphere,

grafosphere andvideosphereto describe the shift in the way in which we
communicate. In thelogosphere it is the spoken word, in thegrafosphere it is
the written word and especially the art of book printing, and in the videosphere
it is the development of audiovisual media, which lies at the core (Pieterse
The work of Paulo Freire (1992) and his ideas about a critical pedagogy are of
particular importance.
The assistance of tutors is very valuable here, as is the writing laboratory
which offers an important service to students who struggle with this.

Performative Insights
Performative language and categories like stage, text,
plot and characters offer a meaningful dramatological
frame of reference for the performance of the acts
relevant to lived religion. They are also the categories
used in the film world and especially by film critics.
Faithful performances; Enacting Christian Tradition is the
title of the book by Hart and Guthrie [20], which indicates
that the performance of the plot of practical theology
involves all the nuances and intrigues of the performance
of life. It is in this regard that the film Son of Man offers
much that can be discussed with students in the class
situation. Besides the performance and character
development we find in the acting of Andile Kosi who
plays the lead as Jesus, Pauline Malifane also offers an
impressive performance as Mary. Another interesting
character is Judas, who records the events surrounding
Jesus on video camera. Here we find a reinterpretation of
the person who betrayed Jesus. Judas plays the role of
some kind of detective with his camera offering more
interesting material for critical reflection. The use of terms
like stage, script (text), plot and characters provides an
epistemological framework which not only broadens the
theological grammar, but also offers interesting possibilities
for reinterpretation of the performance of the gospel. This
even presents the opportunity for the class to give their
own reinterpretation of certain scenes through role play.15
In conclusion it seems worthwhile to again reflect on what

Although this is not part of a first-year module, I asked Masters students in a

module about leadership to prepare a text and perform it for the class. In the
participation, performance and critical reflection afterwards there was an
integration of several of the pedagogies discussed.


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was initially stated as the problem and the goal of this

article, bearing in mind the definition of the term
outcomes. Outcomes are usually related to a
description of the knowledge, attitudes and skills which
are considered to be of value to a certain community of
practice and as such essential for the playing of a certain
role [21]. In the light of this we can link the innovation of
the teaching of practical theology to undergraduate
students to the overarching outcome of understanding,
insight or comprehension. And then understand it as the
ability to apply or use knowledge, attitudes and skills that
were learnt within one context, in new contexts and other
problem situations. One can also say understanding is
the ability to think with discrimination and flexibility and
act according to what is available to you [7 p223].
Bearing in mind the four pedagogical strategies
discussed, the overarching outcome can be further
refined as the following outcomes; (1) The cultivation of a
consciousness, analysis and understanding of different
contexts and the constructive participation in and
interaction of these contexts; (2) The ability to interpret
within a continuous dialogue and the application of a rich
variety of traditions from a wealth of cultures and
contexts; (3) The willingness to be formed through
participation in and rehearsal of different faith disciplines
and practices concerned with the mystery of the Godly;
(4) The willingness to participate in the performance of
the acts relevant to lived religion, and where necessary,
taking the lead in these activities. Thus the significance
and value of blended learning is strongly encouraged.
But it is important to bear in mind that innovation in the
teaching of practical theology to undergraduate students
is not merely a question of acquiring a number of
techniques. It requires wise judgement in specific
circumstances and above all a sincere interest in the
student as person. The willingness to journey with
students, to help them grow and develop a new selfunderstanding, to see them change and guide them in
developing a realistic view of their strengths and
weaknesses is probably the most important aspect of
any attempt at innovation in the teaching of practical
theology. Thus it demands a very personal quality of
teaching and mentoring. How to attain this in a classroom
situation, particularly with a big class, remains one of the
greatest challenges for innovation in the teaching of
practical theology [7].

[4] Wenger E. Communities of practice and social learning systems.

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