In the seminary, we are now in the middle of the second semester, and I have been wondering for some weeks now how to make my class on the Introduction to the New Testament a little bit more interesting.
I have not been known to be a very particularly engaging and interesting instructor in this course. Quite a number of students have found the class "a bit boring" (to put it very mildly), and one has suggested that perhaps there should be a makeover of "menu" for the class. Well, can one expect the study of synoptic problem or the quest of the historical Jesus to be spiritually exciting and inspiring for first year seminarians, many of whom come from a confessional background? Further compounding to the problems faced in the class is the fact that it is scheduled in the evening from 7.30-10.30pm, after a tiring day full of lectures and activities for most of the students in the class. Energy level is at all day low in the late evening.
After putting in some thoughts, I decided that perhaps I should try out some of the ideas, with appropriate modification for Asian contexts, found in the volume edited by Mark Roncace and Patrick Gray, Teaching the Bible: Practical Strategies for Classroom Instruction, Resources for Biblical Study 49 (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature 2005).
This book is a collection of ideas and activities written by dozens of innovative college and seminary professors outlining effective classroom strategies—with a focus on active learning—for both the new teacher and veteran professor alike. It includes everything from ways to incorporate film, literature, art, and music to classroom writing assignments and exercises for groups and individuals. The book assumes an academic approach to the Bible but represents a wide range of methodological, theological, and ideological perspectives.
Let me try out some of the ideas from this book and see whether it helps to make the class more exciting, interesting and inspiring with a change of "menu." If there is any positive outcome, I might post it later on. Wish me luck!