ERIC Number: EJ853404
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Apr
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 11
Transforming to Teach: Teaching Religion to Today's Black College Student
Coleman, Monica A.
Teaching Theology & Religion, v10 n2 p95-100 Apr 2007
Emerging from the particular experiences of the marginalized, postmodern pedagogies (bell hooks, Paolo Freire, feminist pedagogies) argue that education is more than conveying information from teacher to student. Rather education should encompass the transformative process of shaping character, values, and politics through the dynamic interaction among the teacher, the students' experiences, and the content of the instructional material. These perspectives argue that educators should reject "the banking model" of education, and teach to transform. However, religious studies with today's black college student tests the mettle of these approaches. On the one hand, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have long practiced transformative education through a commitment to shaping both the minds and characters of their students. On the other hand, many of today's black college students are less receptive to transformation, particularly in the academic study of religion. This resistance to transformation is a reflection of (1) the socio-economic reality of the current student, and (2) a new black religiosity that portrays the world in binary terms. These economic and religious realities present a teaching context for which few religious scholars are prepared. This essay discusses the particularities of teaching religion to today's black college student by sharing the challenges, failures, successes, and joys of teaching religion at a small church-related, historically black women's college in the south. I will discuss the techniques that fail, and the way in which this unique context causes me to transform the way I teach religion. In the midst of a commitment to postmodern pedagogies, I feel a need to return to the "banking model's" establishment of authority and emphasis on content. As I negotiate with this method, I find ways to stealthily infuse transformative pedagogical techniques. I also discuss the way such a dramatic shift in pedagogy has transformed me, the teacher.
Descriptors: Religion Studies, College Students, Black Colleges, Religion, Teaching Methods, African American Students, Transformative Learning, Socioeconomic Influences, Religious Factors, Banking, Church Related Colleges, Womens Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A