The Contribution of Secular Social Theory to Research in Christian Education
This article argues that educators should be aware of the way that Christian beliefs interact with the structure and practices of secular education policies and that established secular social theory can help them to do this. Drawing on an example from empirical research, the author models how concepts associated with Bourdieu’s social theory can illuminate the cultural impact of Christian worldview on students. The article concludes that this type of engagement counters the marginalization of religion within sociology of education research.
Steven K. Mittwede
Research Paradigms and Their Use and Importance in Theological Inquiry and Education
A survey and analysis of four major research paradigms—positivism, postpositivism, critical theory and constructivism—reveal that all have been applied effectively in recent theological inquiry. Although these paradigms might resemble worldviews to some extent, they are not so all-encompassing. Rather, they are essentially matrices of deeply held assumptions or conceptual frameworks that undergird and guide research, in this case, theological method. A three-step approach—one that applauds a willingness to examine and blend research paradigms—is recommended in so far as it may, in some cases, best maintain a commitment to faithful dealing with the biblical record and, hence, to truth-seeking—both in the direct theological endeavour and in theological education, both formal and informal.
In Search of Holy Transcripts: Approaches to Researching Religious Schools
I raise the problem that religious effects on the education practices of Australian religious schooling have not been measured, despite many claims and the critical size of the sector. The paper seeks to suggest factors to be considered in shaping methodologies for researching this area. Identifying four ways that religious schooling has been perceived and studied, the paper suggests one of them as a way forward into research: the religious purpose/effect model. Nine distinct purposes are then identified and argued to be in dynamic tension with a further three factors: religion/culture interface ideologies, theology, and unattested non-religious ideologies. Research theory is then briefly explored, along with units of inquiry, problems with the use of secular language to describe religious activity, and the need for more explicit researcher-disclosure.
Dianne L. Scouller
From Philosophy to Practice: An Investigation of the Impact of a School’s Philosophy on Policy and Classroom Practice
Recent research in two New Zealand Christian schools found that despite biblical vision and mission statements and declarations of pedagogy built on biblical foundations, actual classroom practice frequently differed little from that in secular schools. Teachers could clearly articulate their respective school’s vision and goals but all except one teacher struggled to identify how these impacted their own pedagogy.