HOW WE DO EDUCATION
The best way to get a handle on how we approach teaching and learning is to think in catch-phrases. Seven, in fact, and here they are:
1) "Develop Lifelong Self-Pedagogy." Rather than focus on transferring skill sets (this will happen, by the way), we focus on making clear the methods and ways of investigation that will allow someone to teach themselves (almost) anything.
2) "General Learning Is Intentional Reading." We pick interesting and readable nonfiction books that present the topic as a story. To make sure students get a broad view on cultural issues, these books are chosen according to five categories of general learning. (?)
3) "Get Experiential Feedback Early." From the very first quarter, our students are on the ground working mentorships and practicums related to the ministry. That way, they can get the sense of their gifts early on so that they can begin developing them and collecting contacts.
4) "Run with One." We view each student as a unique opportunity, and thus we will never cancel a class. In fact, from our point of view, the smaller the class, the better. So even if there is only one student, the class will run. (Because our faculty receive 100% of the tuition for most classes, this still makes for decent supplementary income!)
5) "Customize for Better Learning." Given our view on the uniqueness of each student (see above), we will customize assignments or content to align with the student's needs or gifts. This is a particular help to students who might learn best through unconventional means.
6) "Award Creativity and Self-Management." If there is one thing we are strongly suspicious of, it's passive learning, where the student just takes notes, memorizes, and then takes a test. So if we see someone who wants to chart their own course (within reason) and is busy creating projects and designing future service platforms, well, that's exactly what we want. We'll figure out some way to reward this with credit, as long as our accreditation agency gives the green light.
7) "Generalize for Better Service." Traditional colleges make it easy for a student to over-specialize. But this often turns out to be a trap, considering the way the economic and vocational landscapes in America morph. For us, we want our students to be able to do a lot of things when it comes to the ministry. We do have room for a concentration of the student's choice, but overall the package is one of flexibility and an "I-can-do-that" attitude.