Christian Higher Education at the End of the Twentieth Century Part 3: Developing a Philosophy of Teaching: Conditioning or Indoctrination? -- By: Kenneth O. Gangel

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 135:539 (Jul 1978)
Article: Christian Higher Education at the End of the Twentieth Century Part 3: Developing a Philosophy of Teaching: Conditioning or Indoctrination?
Author: Kenneth O. Gangel


Christian Higher Education at the End of the Twentieth Century
Part 3:
Developing a Philosophy of Teaching:
Conditioning or Indoctrination?

Kenneth O. Gangel

[Kenneth O. Gangel, President, Miami Christian College, Miami, Florida.]

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third in a series of four articles delivered by the author as the W. H. Griffith Thomas Memorial Lectures at Dallas Tbeological Seminary, November 1–4, 1977.]

An alienated and somewhat bitter former president of Barrington College concludes a swan-song article in The Atlantic by saying, “Now that my sense of responsibility is more general…I sometimes think that the members of the higher education establishment ought to be paid not to talk to impressionable young people. At the very least, we deserve to be told to go and educate ourselves.”1 She speaks out of three years of bitter confrontations with faculty and board. This writer concurs with her conclusions though arriving at them from a completely different perspective.

The majority of faculty members in Christian colleges and seminaries have been amply qualified in the subject matter fields of their specialities, but seldom taught how to communicate that valuable information to other people. And more serious than their ignorance of the how is their ignorance of the why. The effective teacher understands the philosophy behind the teaching process, not just the content in which he has specialized or the methods used to communicate that content.

What Are The Differences Among The Various Terms Used For The Learning Process?

A significant part of this problem is semantics. Many people talk glibly about “teaching” as though somehow that word has

a rather explicit and commonly understood denotation. Precisely the opposite is true. The word teach means so many different things to so many different people even within the education profession that only the user can be sure what he has in mind, if indeed he has thought through a definition at all.

Is teaching the same as training? Webster defines teaching as causing to know a subject” or “to accustom to some action or attitude,” while he defines training as “directing the growth of” or “informing by instruction, discipline, or drill.” Is instructing the same thing as training? And if so, how does it differ from conditioning? Dictionary perusal indicates that to instruct means “to give knowledge or information to” or “to impart knowledge in a systematic manner.” The terms conditioning and indoctrinating are a bit more preci...

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