Fostering Spiritual Formation At A Distance: Review Of The Current Debates, And A Biblically Grounded Proposal For Maximizing Its Effectiveness As Part Of Ministerial Formation -- By: Annang Asumang
Volume: CONSPECTUS 22:1 (Sep 2016)
Article: Fostering Spiritual Formation At A Distance: Review Of The Current Debates, And A Biblically Grounded Proposal For Maximizing Its Effectiveness As Part Of Ministerial Formation
Author: Annang Asumang
Conspectus 22:1 (September 2016) p. 2
Fostering Spiritual Formation At A Distance: Review Of The Current Debates, And A Biblically Grounded Proposal For Maximizing Its Effectiveness As Part Of Ministerial Formation
Due to its enormous advantages, especially within the current context of massive technological advances, distance education has globally become a major component of tertiary higher education. Despite this being eminently true of the theological disciplines, controversies rage as to its efficacy for nurturing spiritual and ministerial formation. Doubters view the enterprise in pernicious terms; their main objection being that bodily absence undermines efficacy of formation at a distance, which in itself also lacks sound biblical and theological foundation. Enthusiasts on the other hand, rebuff these criticisms and question whether it is currently viable to foster the formation of theologically effective ministers without adopting the insights, methods, and tools of distance education. This article summarises the contours of these debates, and critically evaluates some of the proposals that have been
Conspectus 22:1 (September 2016) p. 3
propounded for its theological underpinnings. It concludes by proposing that the Pastoral Epistles provide the biblical mandate, appropriate models, and pastoral principles for maximising the efficacy and effectiveness of ministerial formation through distance education.
Distance education, defined by Simonson, Smaldino, and Zvacek (2015: 32) as ‘institution-based formal education where the learning group is separated, and where interactive communication systems are used to connect learners, resources and instructors’, has for several decades now had a progressively prominent role in adult higher education. Its enormous advantages are apparent to most dispassionate observers.2 It offers opportunities for cost-effective, flexible, and student-centred instruction tailored to meet their unique educational needs. It enables broadening of access to the best of education regardless of the student’s age, socio-cultural background, and distance from the faculty. It enriches pragmatic integration of theoretical learning with the student’s real-life experiences, ensuring a well-balanced graduate at the end of the formal educational process. And it provides the foundations and skills for independent continued life-long learning that is required for fruitful participation in today’s complex world. Its main disadvantage3 is the
Conspectus 22:1 (Sept...
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