Stage Development Theory And The Use Of Elementary Exegesis In Bible Teaching To Children: A Child-Focused And Bible-Orientated Pedagogical Approach -- By: Robert Brodie

Journal: Conspectus
Volume: CONSPECTUS 14:1 (Sep 2012)
Article: Stage Development Theory And The Use Of Elementary Exegesis In Bible Teaching To Children: A Child-Focused And Bible-Orientated Pedagogical Approach
Author: Robert Brodie


Stage Development Theory And The Use Of Elementary Exegesis In Bible Teaching To Children: A Child-Focused And Bible-Orientated Pedagogical Approach

Robert Brodie1

Abstract

This paper advocates the use of a child-focused and Bible-orientated stage development approach to the teaching of the Bible to children. Piaget’s theories on the cognitive development of children and the adaptation of those theories to religious education by Goldman and others provide the overall framework for an evaluation of aspects of a presentation of a Bible story compiled from assignments submitted by South African theological students. The evaluation identifies several shortcomings in the presentation. The article then considers two major difficulties in teaching the Bible to children before proposing how the shortcomings in the students’ presentation can be addressed.

Introduction

This paper addresses the issue of how to assist teachers of the Bible who are untrained pedagogically and theologically to prepare and

present Bible material in a manner that is faithful to the meaning and message of the passage, and yet, is understandable and relevant to children. In view of the current renewal of interest in Child Theology, the issue is relevant and timely. However, it should be emphasised at the outset that the theological and philosophical approach advocated in this paper is one that fully recognises the Bible as the inspired Word of God, rather than adopting an anthropocentric pedagogical approach. In the context of this paper, the approach advocated may be termed child-focused and Bible-orientated in order to distinguish it from classical child-centred pedagogy.

The cognitive development theories (‘stage’ theories) of Piaget, Goldman et al. are discussed. Stage development theory is then utilised to critique the presentation of aspects of a Bible story compiled from assignments submitted by South African distance education theological students. Two major difficulties in teaching the Bible receive attention. The paper ends with suggestions as to how theologically and educationally untrained Bible teachers can improve the effectiveness of their teaching of the Bible to children.

1. Goldman’s Adaption Of Piaget’s ‘Cognitive Development Phases’ To Religious Education

Jean Piaget, the Swiss biologist, philosopher, psychologist, and educationist, is regarded as one of the most important child development researchers of modern times (Hamachek1979:83; Munari 1994:311). Flowing from his intensive clinical and empirical investigations, h...

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