An evaluation of theological education by extension seminar discussions in selected Christian denominations in Kenya
Benjamin Mwange Musyoka, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, United States
Doctor of Education, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University . Awarded
This observational study was conducted to determine whether or not seminar discussions in theological education by extension (TEE) helped students integrate their life and ministry experiences with the content of the self study materials through critical integrative thinking. TEE is a distance education program used by some Christian churches to provide theological training to their lay leaders and believers in general.
The sample was composed of 228 (163 males; 65 females) TEE students and 36 (28 males; 8 females) seminar leaders in 36 groups drawn from three programs run by three denominations in Nairobi, Kenya. Two questionnaires were used, one for students and the other for discussion leaders. The questionnaires provided information used in the interpretation of the interaction dynamics observed during the evaluation of seminar discussions. An observation chart, developed based on Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives in the cognitive domain (Bloom, 1956), was used for evaluating the quality of thinking expressed through verbal behavior.
The three programs evaluated were used for different purposes. The first was used as a prerequisite program for lay pastors intending to seek advanced training for full-time pastoral ministry. The second was used to train mainly local church lay leaders, while the third was used as a general discipleship program.
The results showed that 96.8% of the total seminar talk took place at the lower cognitive levels of knowledge, comprehension, and application. Only 3.2% of the discussion talk took place at the analysis level. No talk was in the categories of synthesis or evaluation levels. Integrative talk was only 28.9% of the total verbal interaction.
The commonly used teaching resources were student self-study materials and tutor handbooks. Additional reference materials were rarely used. No other teaching resources were used. Student or tutor led discussions were the main teaching methods used during the seminars. Lectures were used only occasionally.
Personal spiritual enrichment was the main reason students joined the TEE program. The proportion of students who were already pastors was 23.7%, but only 0.9% of total had joined TEE because they believed it could equip them with skills for full-time ministry. The students indicated that TEE had helped them least in ministry skill development especially in the areas of leading small group Bible studies, discipling new believers, and preaching or teaching.
Musyoka, B.M. An evaluation of theological education by extension seminar discussions in selected Christian denominations in Kenya. Doctor of Education thesis, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University.
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