How Should We Understand “Curriculum”? Part 2

dennis.jpgOne of the hardest things I had to do as academic dean in a seminary in South Africa was to educate the faculty to understand the different between a “content driven curriculum” and a “process oriented curriculum.”

One member of faculty argued with me that unless he covered all 16 chapters of the Book of Romans he had not taught the course. He was content driven. The students, however, complained that after completing the course they were still not prepared to do anything with it – like teach it to others, unless they covered it the same way they were taught.

My approach is different. My goal is this – even if I only cover only 8 of the 16 chapters of Romans, if, in the process, I teach the students/congregation how to continue to learn the book, how to live out what they discovered, and how to communicate the book to others, then I accomplished a much greater goal. I am process driven. My goal is for my students to learn how to learn, know how to put it into practice in their own lives, and to learn how to communicate what they learned. It is also for them to approach the study with their first goal to see Jesus in every verse of Scripture, and prayerfully seek to be changed into His image. Only then can they seek to present to others what they have learned and how it changed them.

The content of what we teach and preach must never be minimized. But if we leave it at the content level (head knowledge) it will never accomplish the Holy Spirit’s goal – for every believer to be like Jesus. Every lesson and every sermon must ask these three questions: As a result of this lesson/sermon I want my to hearers to know what? To be what? And to do what? Unless you can answer these, you have no goal for your lesson or sermon. If you have no goal, then what are you trying to accomplish?

If you need help with this, CEP’s Regional Trainers are available to come to your church. Contact us at:1-800-283-1357.

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Having spent the last eight years in Cape Town, South Africa, as academic dean of the Bible Institute of South Africa and serving there as a PCA missionary, Dennis and his wife Cindy, his son Dustin, daughter Bena, and son Innocent have returned to the states to rejoin the staff at Christian Education and Publications where he served for eleven years prior to going to South Africa.

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