The Testing of Simulation/Gaming as a Viable Tool in Christian Education at the College Level -- By: Donald R. Rinehart

Journal: Ashland Theological Journal
Volume: ATJ 09:0 (NA 1976)
Article: The Testing of Simulation/Gaming as a Viable Tool in Christian Education at the College Level
Author: Donald R. Rinehart

The Testing of Simulation/Gaming as a
Viable Tool in Christian Education
at the College Level

Donald R. Rinehart

Thomas Carlyle once wrote, “The man who cannot wonder is but a pair of spectacles behind which there are no eyes.”

Of course, those involved in study programs or research seldom have the problem of wondering, of generating questions, or of discovering myriads of unresolved problems. The greater problem is learning to discipline ones’ self to be able to focus on the limited issues.

Many of us wonder. For myself, within an academic setting such as Ashland College, and more specifically within the Religion Department of the same, I began to wonder, How does a teaching faculty member share the reality of the content of Jewish/Christian scripture without surreptitiously inserting his own doctrine on the students? How do we assist students to know God and His love? Do students know this once they are able to write out an examination, giving back the information given them? Is it possible to know the love (reality) of God until one has participated in the love of God ? Beyond each of these questions is yet a more inclusive question which probably ties them all together: How can we most effectively, or at least more effectively communicate the content of Old and New Testament scripture?

With these concerns in the background, the focus of my study was to test the value of simulation/gaming as a viable tool in Christian Education at the college level. I was interested in knowing whether involvement-learning, such as simulation/ gaming, would motivate the student to:

  1. learn more factual Biblical content?
  2. give a higher affective perceptive rating to Biblical courses, as compared to the same courses taught with the lecture/ discussion method?

The context for that study was Ashland College, a four year, church related liberal arts institution. In the fall semester, 1972, the year in which this program was initiated, church preference of student enrollment was reported;

No preference 33.29%

Catholic 16.69%

United Methodist 14.96%

Presbyterian 12.11%

Lutheran 6.68%

Brethren 2.40%

Jewist .42%

Ashland College, like many church related colleges, has retained a religion requirement for graduation. This means that the majority of students complete both Old and New Testament courses before graduating. With the broad spectrum of religious beliefs and non-beliefs, it remains a challenge to effectively teach these required Bible courses.

Teaching ...

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