Theological school deans wear many hats, and, depending on the context, some more than others: administrator, supervisor, assessor, policies and accreditation compliance officer, faculty cat-herder, student advisor, pastoral counselor and resident chaplain. One key role for the theological school dean is that of educational leader. Often, that means being the sole person in the system who thinks about the curriculum as a whole, and, who needs to "think educationally" about the enterprise of the school. Like any other, the field of education has its technical terms. And as with any field, it is necessary to understand basic terms and use them accurately and as precisely as possible. This ability is necessary to help the dean think like an educator. Not to put too fine a point on it, but, when it comes to educational terminology and concepts, do you know what you're talking about?
Below is a taxonomy of basic educational terms. You probably use some of these terms in conversation or in written communications, but, do you know what they actually mean? Can you differentiate between an educational technique and a method? What's the difference between a process and a structure? And what, exactly, is an "approach" anyway? Effective teachers are always watchful for "concepts misunderstanding" among their students. That's important because misunderstandings lead to misapplication. Attached is a handout of a taxonomy of educational categories and practices that defines the educational terms listed below. The taxonomy is arranged with the most foundational-theoretical terms at the bottom, to the most pragmatic-specific at the top. Deans can use this handout to help Faculty comprehend basic educational terms. Knowing what basic educational terms mean can lead to increased clarity when discussing curriculum, identifying actions, and making decisions about teaching and learning.
Do you know these educational terms? Educational philosophy, Educational theory, Approach, Model, Structure, Format, Process, Procedure, Method, Technique.
Click here Download GalindoEducationalTaxonomy for a handout containing the educational terms and their definitions, with examples.
Israel Galindo is Associate Dean, Lifelong Learning at the Columbia Theological Seminary. Formerly he was Dean at the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. With Rebecca Slough he led the 2013-2014 Wabash Colloquy for Theological School Deans.