Teaching for a transformative engagement with our context: The importance of care in Christian pedagogical suggestions for higher education




Responsible scholarship requires that students engage with their context and their own learning to understand and transform our world with wisdom. Ponti (J.J.) Venter argues that such a notion is central in understanding the task of a (Christian) university. In this article, dedicated to Professor Venter, I argue that the pedagogical implications of such a Christian understanding of science need to be developed further in a higher education context. I propose that care deepens wonder and sustains action by continuously calling our imagination to envisage longed-for change in both an academic and a broader social context. I offer five concrete suggestions to support lecturers in guiding students to act from their care for the world. These suggestions refer to the importance of inventory work, the cultivation of empathy, inspiring examples, emotional involvement, and an inner and outer dialogue as to the appropriate form their care should take. A Christian pedagogy should, secondly, support students in unfolding their own style of moving between theory and experience; thirdly, it should enable students to experience themselves as partners in academic discussions and as historical formative agents contributing to our world; fourthly, it should focus on a view of the world in which their tentacles are feeling for change, accompanied by normative sophistication. Fifthly, the development of a suitable pedagogy requires lecturers to develop peer groups organically to reflect on teaching practices that encourage students’ transformative engagement with our world.


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