Friday, January 14, 2005

Why I'm "Into the Biblecal Times"

Yesterday I posted a comment from a student who felt that the course material in my Intro to Biblical Studies course wasn't appropriate for her. She especially found that reading the textbook by Stephen Harris called Understanding the Bible to be a waste of time unless you were interested in the Bible. So yesterday I responded to her email by saying the following:

"Hi (student's name), sorry you are finding the textbook Understanding the Bible to be difficult. If you have specific questions about the material why don't you come see me during office hours. When you say that the course material is "just good to know and not anything that will help me in the future" I'm not really sure what you're talking about. I believe that no matter what your major/career paths is, that the material in this course will help make you a more educated critical thinker."

This morning she responded by saying "Well i meant that it seems like something that would be nice to read if you were into the Biblecal times but as far information it was not helpful."

This is a perfect illustration of my theory about how university education changing to a "bottom line this is a business" is creating a "what's in it for me?" type of student. A better teacher than me might see this student and the increasingly pervasive attitude that Biblical Studies is not relevant as a challenge. At this point I'm not sure how to approach it.

So I simply responded by saying: "I understand that you don't feel the textbook is appropriate for you, but are you asking me something?"


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess it's because I have a Marketing degree or feel the need to justify what I am doing, but the first day of my classes I explain why my discipline is important. Here are my reasons.
My discipline (historical theology) encourages students to see how cultural factors influence certain beliefs. Because of this, it also encourages them to see the relationship between ideas in our current context and equips them to better critique these ideas. I tend to establish common ground with them and explain that slavery was justified by Biblical texts in the U.S., but that there were many critical thinkers that stood against this abuse of the texts. I also explain how the course fulfills the mission of Xavier and why I think the mission is important.

9:22 AM  

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