Intercultural teaching : a critical analysis of the African Bible College in Malawi

Stauffacher, Robert W. (2010-12)

Thesis (MTh (Practical Theology and Missiology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The purpose of this thesis is to determine, in a practical theological way, (1) the impact culture is having on the teaching at the African Bible College, (2) to develop a revised praxis for the intercultural teaching at ABC, and (3) for ABC to become a more culturally relevant teaching institution as a result. Since cultural differences can often become a great barrier for any intercultural endeavor, and being that ABC is made up of mostly American professors and mostly Malawian students, there is a need to evaluate the challenges that are taking place in this mixed cultural institution. The research questions, which this study addresses, are as follows: 1. What kind of intercultural teaching exists at ABC? What are some of the strengths and weaknesses of ABC’s intercultural teaching? What are some of the current intercultural barriers existing at ABC? How do Malawian learning styles / cultural issues play into intercultural teaching? What kind of “cultural baggage” exists at ABC? 2. What does it mean to be culturally relevant and why is it important? In other words, what are some of the key elements of teaching interculturally? What are some of the common problems? What is contextualization? Interculturation? Westernization? Etc. 3. What is desirable intercultural teaching for ABC? In other words, what models in intercultural teaching would be more appropriate for ABC and why? What should effective intercultural teaching look like at ABC? How can ABC sustain long-term and effective intercultural teaching? An introduction to the subject of intercultural teaching and an empirical investigation of ABC’s teaching is the focus of chapter 2. Chapter 3 introduces several intercultural teaching models and theories that were then used to evaluate and interpret the teaching at ABC. Chapter 3 is mostly devoted to the interpretation of ABC’s teaching in light of these models. Chapter 4 has been devoted to laying out a theological and ethical basis (the normative task) for intercultural teaching. Chapter 5 focuses on the revised praxes for ABC, offering several suggestions for becoming a more culturally relevant teaching institution. In addition, several recommendations for further research and study were made at the end of this thesis.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis het ten doel om op 'n prakties-teologiese manier (1) die impak van kultuur op onderrig aan die African Bible College (ABC) te bepaal, (2) 'n hersiene praktyk vir tussenkulturele onderrig aan die ABC te ontwikkel, en (3) die ABC gevolglik in 'n meer kultureel tersaaklike onderriginstelling te verander. Aangesien kultuurverskille dikwels enige tussenkulturele poging verhinder, en aangesien die ABC voorts meestal uit Amerikaanse professors en Malawiese studente bestaan, is daar 'n behoefte om die uitdagings van hierdie kultureel vermengde instelling te beoordeel. Die navorsingsvrae waarna hierdie studie ondersoek instel, is soos volg: 1. Watter soort tussenkulturele onderrig vind tans aan die ABC plaas? Met ander woorde, hoe vaar die ABC wat betref onderrig op 'n kultureel tersaaklike manier? Wat is die sterk en swak punte van onderrig aan die ABC? Watter tussenkulturele versperrings bestaan tans in die ABC? Hoe word Malawiese leerstyle/kultuurkwessies by tussenkulturele onderrig geintegreer? Watter soort ekulturele bagasie f is by die ABC ter sprake? 2. Wat beteken dit om kultureel tersaaklik te wees, en hoekom is dit belangrik? Met ander woorde, wat is sommige van die kernelemente van tussenkulturele onderrig? Wat is die algemene probleme? Wat is kontekstualisasie, interkulturasie, verwestering, ensovoorts? 3. Wat is die gewenste vorm van tussenkulturele onderrig vir die ABC? Met ander woorde, watter modelle vir tussenkulturele onderrig sou meer geskik wees vir die ABC, en hoekom? Hoe behoort doeltreffende tussenkulturele onderrig aan die ABC daar uit te sien? Hoe kan die ABC langtermyn- en doeltreffende tussenkulturele onderrig handhaaf? Hoofstuk 2 bied 'n inleiding tot die konsep van tussenkulturele onderrig, en 'n empiriese ondersoek na die ABC se onderrigstyl. In hoofstuk 3 word verskeie modelle en teoriee vir tussenkulturele onderrig bekend gestel, wat vervolgens gebruik is om onderrig aan die ABC te beoordeel en te vertolk. Die hoofstuk is dus hoofsaaklik aan die vertolking van die ABC se onderrig aan die hand van hierdie modelle gewy. Hoofstuk 4 bied 'n teologiese en etiese grondslag (die normatiewe taak) vir tussenkulturele onderrig, waarna hoofstuk 5 op die hersiene praktyke vir die ABC konsentreer, met verskeie voorstelle oor hoe die onderriginstelling meer kultureel tersaaklik kan word. Die tesis sluit af met etlike aanbevelings vir verdere navorsing en studie.

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