Teaching and learning in the Theological Education Institutions (TEIs) often takes place among relatively small cohorts of students. Small class size, combined with the accessibility of teaching staff for informal engagement, enables a research-imbued culture to flourish.
Teaching and learning takes place in an environment where teaching staff are research-active either through academic inquiry or professional practice. All teaching and learning, therefore, draws upon the processes, as well as the findings, of the specialist and active interests of teaching staff from the very beginning of the learning process, giving the experience of learning an immediacy and relevance that is energising and motivating.
Research-led teaching is teaching energised by the research activity of staff.
Students are inducted into the process of inquiry in the field of theology at level 4, progressing to understanding and applying sophisticated methods of research and theological inquiry by the time they reach levels 6 and 7. For the many mature students on the programme, this will involve building on the skills and aptitudes which they bring from their educational and professional backgrounds. The methodologies of theological reflection are introduced at the start of the programmes and all modules encourage application of this method of inquiry in formal and informal ways. Students are encouraged to challenge and question knowledge and praxis, thereby developing discerning intellectual independence that equips them for lifelong learning and discovery.
Research-oriented teaching is teaching that draws students into research activity.
The Common Awards programmes strong emphasis on contextual learning and critical theological reflection leads to a research ethos to the learning process that blurs the roles of teacher and student as both explore the relationship between theory, practice and experience together. Methods of teaching, learning and assessment focus on the process of knowledge generation and the critical interrogation of research findings, creating an environment in which both students and teachers are learners.
Research-led teaching is teaching in which teachers and students learn together.
A key driving force in the design of Common Awards programmes has been the desire to embody a pedagogy that better serves its constituency and which shapes Higher Education pedagogy more widely. To this end the collaboration between TEIs and Durham promotes and sustains active engagement and research into the pedagogy of ministerial theology. Students will be encouraged to contribute to this process by means of active engagement in evaluating and discussing their pedagogical experience.
Research-informed teaching is teaching shaped by good pedagogical research.