You are on page 1of 6

Curriculum Manual Appendix I 61

Curriculum Manual Appendix L 70



< Functional Domain Affective Domain >

“achieving” “being fit”

what how how to

(Youth) to to to (Old


“hearing” “seeing”

Cognitive Domain > < Sapiential Domain

Diagram 4

Because these four learning domains apply as much to the development of the individual as a
person as they do to the student as a potential minister, it is tempting to see in these domains a cycle of
a person’s life-span. Thus in youth a person acquires much knowledge, taking in much information
through instruction. Later (s)he develops in the area of achieving skills, learning how to do things.
Older adults enter the affective domain and become concerned with personal issues of character
formation and the importance of being themselves. Finally old age is reached and the stage of wisdom
experienced where insight into the nature of things, their design and purpose, becomes the prime

Diagram 4 puts all this together and suggests a gradual movement from the first to the second
domain (from acquiring knowledge to exercising skills) and from the third to the fourth domain (from
an interest in being to that of understanding). By contrast the movement from skills to formation is
represented by a sudden transition, suggesting the so-called “crisis of middle age” where the individual
questions his/her existence and place!

Of-course, all this is speculation, and for a Biblical perspective on the subject see the next note:
“Proverbs and Learning Domains”.
Curriculum Manual 71


There is much in the Bible about both the content and method of godly education, even though the
categories and terms used are not those in contemporary use. God has always had an educational agenda
(curriculum) for His people. Some of the principles involved can be discovered in the first four chapters of
CONTENT Since “the fear of the Lord is the foundation of knowledge” (Pro. 1:7), any coherent world-
view must be based on a right relationship with God. Ultimately, if we leave God out of our thinking, our
knowledge of things tends to be deficient and warped.
Such godly learning involves all four learning domains of knowing, doing, being and understanding.
In particular knowledge is closely associated with understanding: “My son, if you take my words and treasure
my commandments deep within you, giving attention to wisdom and your mind to understanding…then you
will understand the fear of the Lord and attain to the knowledge of God” (Pro. 2:1-5. Revised English Bible).
Godly learning involves first storing up God’s commandments in the mind. This is undoubtedly the
cognitive area of learning, where knowledge is “banked” in the head against the critical moment when it will
be needed to meet the challenge of the hour. It is important to know God’s Word and the directions it contains.
Godly learning involves learning to do God’s will as well as well as receive it. But note that this sort
of doing (“treasuring my commandments”) does not occur not in the functional domain of acquiring skills, but
rather in the affective domain of behaviour arising from a proper attitude. Such an attitude values what God
requires above self-will. Likewise the “knowledge of God” has more to do with understanding God’s purposes
and design through an intimate relationship with him (sapiential domain), than with acquiring information
about God (cognitive domain).
Godly learning always displays a proper attitude to God’s Word (the affective domain), one of
acceptance and proper attention. It is indeed important to pay attention to the formation of both mind and heart
as the latter is “the source of life” (Pro. 4:23 REB). What a person is affects what (s)he learns and what (s)he
learns influences the person (s)he is. As the saying goes, a man is not what he thinks he is, but what he thinks,
he is!
Finally godly learning leads to understanding the things of God (and therefore a true evaluation of the
ways of the world, for we learn His perspective on everything) in a way that is quite impossible in a purely
informative way. The sapiential domain is thus also involved in learning the character and purposes of God.
Note that all four domains are to be involved right from youth.
METHOD The Bible shows learning as imparted in three ways: instruction, correction (or discipline) and
by contact with the wise. This pattern is seen in the Rabbinical division of the Old Testament into Law,
Writings and Prophets. The Law corresponds to the instructions given through Moses; the Writings cover the
words of the Wise; and the Prophets convey God’s words of correction to His people.
The best way to learn godliness is by modelling oneself on the life of a wise and godly person, the
ultimate example of which was Jesus Christ himself. Thus he who walks with the wise grows wise” (Pro.
13:20). Learning is caught as much as taught!
But knowledge is not acquired by sitting passively and waiting for it to come! The presence of a good
teacher does not guarantee learning (Pro. 22:17)! Learning is not caught automatically.
Finally wisdom is discovered not only in the classroom, but in the street (“field-work” implied?). “She
walks the streets, stands in crowded thoroughfares.” (Pro. 8:2,5 REB)


How far does our three-fold division of Teaching, Preaching and Counselling match the Old
Testament way of Instruction, Correction and the imparting of Wisdom?

Curriculum Manual 71

Curriculum Manual Appendix M 72

2 Timothy 2

Although there is really no ultimate difference between goals, aims and objectives, it is
sometimes helpful to distinguish, say, pastoral goals and educational objectives. The
objectives chosen below are those that, if reached, will enable us to achieve our goals.
Indeed, it is possible to identify a hierarchy of Goals, Aims and Objectives. Achieving any
objective would, in this system, be one indication (among several others) that the aims were
being met, just as the aims, when met, would contribute to the achievement of the over-all

Thus we could outline goals, aims and objectives from a study of chapter two of second
Timothy as follows.

Spiritual Goal: ‘To be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus’.

Aim: ‘To enable those being mentored to entrust to others

the things they have heard us say.’
Note: ‘What you have heard me say entrust to reliable men
qualified to teach others.’
Objective: ‘To enable those taught to pass on what they have learnt
to people able to teach this learning in turn to others’.

Aim: ‘To develop good character in those being mentored’.

Indicators: SOLDIER. Objective: ‘To inspire loyalty in Jesus Christ at all times.’

ATHLETE Objective: ‘To show how to lead a fair, self-disciplined life.’

FARMER Objective: ‘To give a proper perspective on work and recreation.’

Aim: ‘To reflect on what we say, and so allow the Lord to give insight into all this.’
i.e. ‘To train students to reflect on all they learn, to gain understanding.’

Indicators: WORKMAN Objective: ‘To enable people to handle God’s Word diligently.’

SERVANT Objective: ‘To show by example how to be gentle and to serve

others humbly.

Questions for reflection:

“What kind of teacher am I least like?”

“What should I do about it?

Curriculum Manual Appendix N 73

The WESTERN MODEL of Theological Education: A Brief CRITIQUE

Traditionally Theological Education in the West has been wedded to four ideals:

• the pursuit of academic scholarship that is largely formal and theoretical;

• the construction of degree-driven programmes that bestow status through the award of paper

• the acquisition of knowledge through informative lectures and the research required to
complete a thesis;

• the establishment of academic standards (and thus also the credibility of the educational
institution) through submission to the scrutiny of accreditation bodies.

Increasing fragmentation has resulted from an emphasis on academic research and scholarship
(CONTENT) and student training for specialist roles (SPECIALISATION), rather than the preparation
for the work of equipping others for ministry (ENABLEMENT).

The modern stress on the interests of the student, which very rightly takes into consideration
his/her background and development,. has also led to thinking of theological education purely in terms
of roles (the expectations of others?) and of techniques (how to do this or that).This has resulted in the
introduction of separate disciplines of Theological Education /Training into the teaching Faculty, which
in turn has lead to an emphasis on the provision of information (including outlines of current
orthodoxies) rather than the exposition of the Bible, the Faith and its application to daily living in the
contemporary world.

Passing exams, acquiring a degree / diploma has largely replaced the development of a life of
prayer and the cultivation of a walk with God, leading to the disillusionment so common amongst
students once they enter a theological institution. The mode of education represented by the delivery of
lectures and the preparation of theses, together with a degree-driven curriculum and its accreditation by
an outside Board, may do much to enhance the academic standards. But it is also in danger of creating a
faculty of academic specialists out of touch with each other and with no sense of the integration of the
total programme. This can result in fragmented thinking as the student loses any sense of direction,
overall cohesion or even vision for what (s)he is doing.

The inadequacy of such an approach is seen in the fact that the traditional model is practically
divorced from such ideals as:
• contextualisation with its focus on the practical problems of church and world;
• the ministerial formation of the student in his/her relationship with God, others and self,
together with the development of his/her own gifts.
• the use of contemporary pedagogy that encourages learning through interaction in community
and subsequent reflection that is informed by both theological insight and person experience.

A truly theological Curriculum needs to be geared to a Trinitarian ministry that

a) the work of God in the World;
b) the work of Christ in the Church;
c) the work of the Spirit in the individual, beginning with the student him/herself;
and prepares every minister spiritually, theologically, educationally and practically.