How Do Students Learn Theology?

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Abstract

This paper explores the way students learn theology through a small qualitative research project. It is undertaken in conversation with current higher education learning theory. This learning theory suggests that it is important to discover how a student conceptualizes learning and how they perceive the teaching environment. Students interviewed increasingly spoke of the value of this academic or more cognitive side of learning as they learned “deep approaches.” Important in this movement to deep, transformational learning was the presence of a relational teaching environment in which peers and teachers played a crucial role. This present study offers support to the view that the tradition of the learning community remains important for deploying deep approaches to the learning of theology in higher education. The paper argues that these relational principals of teaching and learning remain important in the face of the increased use of technology-based tools and other pedagogical challenges to theological education today.

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