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Vince Cancilla Textual Criticism Seminars Reflection

Pre-Student Teaching Observation Reflection

EDU 667 Dr. Ahuna

Best Practice Focus

The number one best practice I had to implement in this project was to understand my
audiences biases, traditions, and long-standing views concerning the topic at hand, and
specifically structure my content and teaching strategies to overcome those biases and
objections. The church denomination highly favoured the King James Bible translation, and
the overall view of other modern translations was very negative. Based on data I had gathered
from quizzing young people in the churches, it was clear that the comprehension rate of the
older style English of the King James was very low among them. In order to address this
need, I researched all the data and scholarship behind the original manuscripts, ancient
translations, and the King James Bible, to discover the basis of their objections, and was able
to communicate the strengths and weaknesses of the different versions in a very factual and
historical manner that deflated objections and confuted various negative and uninformed
viewpoints that were held by some members of the class. The rubber really met the road with
this especially in the Q & A, where I had to be highly informed about possible objections and
specific controversial points that would be brought up by the objectors.
The class consisted of about 20 adult males, of a fairly narrow ethnic demographic
(mostly Eastern European), ranging from ages 30-70. One seminar occurred in Hamilton in
November of 2011, and another one was in Windsor in May of 2012.

Both seminars were

conducted in rural areas in the church buildings located in those cities. The students in the
class were all pastors from Ontario churches.
For this teaching experience I was commissioned by the elders to prepare an in-depth
study on the history of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures, including the origins and diversity of
ancient manuscript families, landmark historical translations, textual criticism and higher
criticism scholarship, and how various modern Bible translations are built on the basis of this
scholarship and the technical reasons why translations differ (translation methodology). It was
a two-part series that also covered historical subject matter such as comparing the Jewish and
Christian manuscripts to other ancient manuscripts (such as Homers Iliad or the writings of

Vince Cancilla Textual Criticism Seminars Reflection

Josephus or Plato, etc), the impact of Islam, and more. I also prepared a English language
comprehension quiz covering Early Modern English passages and terms from the King James
Bible, showing how English has evolved over time and the meanings of words have changed in
reference to archaic words. I administered this test to the seminar participants, graded them
and returned them at the second lecture.
I presented two Keynote presentations on two separate occasions, in a lecture format
with each lecture being 2 hours long with a 1 hour Q & A time. This project required an
immense amount of research and background study which took me in excess of 50 hours.
Slides were prepared using Mac Keynote and projected on a screen, and it was a lecture style
delivery with the option for the class to ask questions about particularly thorny points or points
that needed clarification during the presentation, but most questions were reserved for the end.
Analysis (Connection/Links)
There is a connection between this scenario and culturally responsive teaching. Since
there was a specific academic or intellectual culture concerning the particularly favoured
translation of the denomination, I had to be culturally sensitive to this and prepare my
teaching in a way that would be amiable and winsome and not trigger unnecessary animosity
or negative reactions. This took intentionality in my preparation to ensure sensitivity, tact,
and diplomacy, all traits that will help me with class management and social awareness /
culturally responsive pedagogy.
I can definitely see overcoming objections as a best practice, and also adjusting my
teaching strategies to overcome the biases of the class, as it might relate to teaching
Shakespeare in high school. There is often a default animosity or resistance to Shakespeare
and other older forms of English literature in high school, and so I can apply what I learned
in this experience in a very practical way by customizing my approach to best overcome these
objections and make the material relevant and engaging to students.
Secondly, using test data to establish facts about the abilities and needs of the students
is another crucial component I learned from this experience.

Not only did it bolster the

authority with which I could teach upon the topic, but it gave me vital insights into the
environment and needs of the people I was engaging, as well as their children. I could use
this approach, for example, to quiz the students on their repulsion to learning Shakespeare
and poetry, and then build my teaching strategies around compensating for that.