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Acta Theologica

On-line version ISSN 2309-9089
Print version ISSN 1015-8758

Acta theol. vol.41  suppl.31 Bloemfontein  2021 



Integrative ministerial training: methodological and pedagogical integration within the curriculum



M. Naidoo

Prof. M. Naidoo, Department of Philosophy, Systematic and Practical Theology, University of South Africa, Pretoria. E-mail:; ORCID:




Within theological education, there are ongoing concerns that ministry education is dis-integrating and needs to recover by engaging a holistic focus. Training institutions are criticised for producing academically astute graduates, who lack the pastoral exposure or the required spirituality for Christian ministry. As ministry situations become more complex, an integrative approach to teaching and learning is required, since it connects learning to experience in an intentional way. Despite its complexity in implementing, integration as a method should be embraced more fully in the design and reformation of theological education. This article discusses proposals that can create spaces for integration, highlighting the place of disciplines of knowledge in curricular approaches, the theory-practice challenge, together with fostering active teaching and learning. These proposals are important considerations for purposeful theological education in this time of complex curricular changes in higher education.

Keywords: Curriculum integration, Theological education, Ministerial formation, Theory-Practice

Trefwoorde: Kurrikulum integrasie, Teologiese opleiding, Bedieningsvorming, Teorie-Praksis




Generations of research (Farley 1983; Kelsey 1993; Foster et al. 2006) have pointed to the disintegrating nature of traditional patterns of theological education. These involve the ongoing tensions between theory and practice, education that is not focused on learning, the need for changing competencies and skills that must be mastered, as well as the impact of postmodern society on the continuing fragmentation of religious, societal and cultural traditions (Cahalan et al. 2017). To prepare religious leaders, the traditional curriculum has been patterned after a university model, in which disciplines of knowledge socialise students in different theological fields. Notably, what characterised the traditional curriculum was a unilateral theory-to-application method with the hegemony of theory over practice. A unified theology was shaped by the Enlightenment into a professional science for inclusion into the university, out of which came the fragmentation and isolation of disciplines (Farley 1983). This fragmentation has resulted in theological disciplines having their own distinct object of study, their own methodology and language, and thus not being able to converse meaningfully with one another. The curriculum with disciplinary silos resulted in an overcrowded or fixed arrangement, with a hierarchy between the disciplines creating compulsory and optional courses. This has also made it difficult to add new and important additions. Studying theology became a "thinking exercise" (Martin 2003:6), with its goal of creating new knowledge without necessarily having implications for church and society. This academic focus also continued in denominational seminaries, where there has hardly been any motivation or structural arrangement to connect around the common goal of ministerial training. Equally, the clinical, pastoral and spiritual dimensions have remained an afterthought (Cannell 2006:230). Upon completion of the theological programme, students are deemed "prepared" to advance to an internship or directly into Christian ministry, where they supposedly put all this good classroom learning to use. The reality is that students experience fragmentation, as they struggle to put together all the academic pieces and include the vocational dimensions.

Over the decades, there has been much criticism of theological institutions' ability to produce appropriately trained graduates. According to Cannell's (2006:236) analysis, the

purpose of theology is not understood and therefore the theological curriculum is in disarray with minimal integration among the disciplines and tendency to functionalism.

As a corrective, Farley (1983) advocated for a complete reorientation of theological study and training to the actual situations of church life, such that "reflective wisdom" (sapiential knowledge) regarding Christian identity and praxis (theologia) is cultivated, and not simply periodic course modifications over what Farley would call "symptoms". It would seem that ministerial training still needs attention towards

helping students integrate the fragile connections between theory and practice, among the disparate aspects of themselves and between themselves and their various circles of accountability and ministry (Naidoo 2015:10).

Considering that theological graduates will navigate multilayered issues in changing ministry settings that routinely require integrative thinking and approaches, a more aligned approach to education is needed, since it links "religious tradition with clergy practice" (Foster et al. 2006:340) supporting overall professional development.

Viewing the goal of theological education as ministerial training involves a formative vision, in that it integrates beliefs (orthodoxy), affections (orthopathy) and actions (orthopraxis) engaging in theologia (Farley 1983). "There must be a functional integration between learning by precepts and learning by experience, between being and doing" (Chow 1981:10). Knowledge is important, but formation must extend to integrated human development. It is key that the theological student be developed in a "holistic" way to be able to "hold the contemplative and active dimensions of work" (Cahalan et al. 2017:vii), beginning during seminary studies.

Integrative training referred to as "holistic" development has always been an aspirational goal in theological education, however with not much intention or capacity to do so, or sometimes used as a marketing tool in institutional mission statements. Given the compartmentalisation and market-driven nature of curriculums, integration, whose different facets challenge the work of theological education, is a complicated reality to implement. A survey of the literature reveals that "integration" is understood in various ways and thus this ambiguity is part of the challenge. This leads to an "absence of a clear theoretical framework in developing a consistent theoretical and practical understanding of integration" (Schug & Cross 1998:56). Nevertheless, a number of theologians (Klimoski 2005; Paver 2006; Chow 1981; Banks 1999) have provided signposts in rethinking aspects of the design and methodology to identify requirements, expectations, content clusters and similar resources to plan for connections. Cahalan (2011a:388) is helpful, as her definition of integration

includes the integration of theological disciplines with each other; the integration between theory and praxis; and the dynamic interplay of knowledge, practice, and context - knowing, doing and being.

This article discusses these three approaches to integration, exploring integration in the historically embedded theological disciplines, explaining the methodology of praxis to deal with the perennial theory-practice tension, and finally underscoring the need for educators to pedagogically interact differently, engaging all aspects of the students' personhood -knowing, doing and being. In unpacking these key proposals, this discussion could provide helpful insights to consider more fully the possibility of integrative education.



Integration is defined as "attempts to synthesise and coordinate the major learning experiences" (Cahalan 2011a:388), which for ministerial training include the academic, the pastoral skills development and the required spirituality. Because of complex interdependencies, students need to be "citizens of the world" who

synthesize learning from a wide array of sources, to learn from experience, and to make productive connections between theory and practice (Cullen et al. 2012:30).

Fink's (2013:20) learning model speaks of a shift from "learning is cumulative and linear" to "learning is an interaction of frameworks". This is from the idea that issues are multilayered and that the "discipline-based curriculum is unable to engage students in real world situations" (Beane 1997:27). According to Beane (1997:26), it involves "thinking about what schools are for, about the sources of curriculum, and about the uses of knowledge". Curriculum integration has some intrinsic virtue, as theories of knowledge highlight knowledge as connected, embodied, ecological and harmonised, in which the student "is seen to be at one with nature, entwined and implicated in local and global" (Davis et al. 2000:60). Integrated learning is also known as holistic education that merges humanist education with spiritual philosophical ideas. Miller (2019:7) describes it as

education that focuses on the training of the whole person - mind, heart and body - for greater social impact and for individual and collective well-being.

The rationale or philosophy to curriculum integration is that learning occurs when it is added to existing knowledge, experience and perspectives. In this way, integration happens when existing knowledge is deepened and broadened. Thus, a key goal of integration for the curriculum "is the search for self- and social meaning" (Beane 1997:12). This results in a transformational dimension, where perspective change happens within the thinking and being of the person. For Klimoski (2005:50), this happens through an

active re-examination of one's assumptions about theology, the church, ministry, spirituality and one's self. It presumes a permeability among knowledge, practice and identity.

Integration is not simply a theoretical issue or an issue of pedagogical speculation. It has to do with an understanding of ministerial formation, in which the whole is, in fact, greater than the parts, because "the 'whole' context gives knowledge meaning, and accessibility" (Beane 1997:24). Integration is also an ongoing process; it unfolds over time as students become more stable in themselves, in their knowledge base and ministry practice. It has a cumulative effect; students note the "web of connections among ideas" and move from "mechanical acquisition to reflexive response" (Klimoski 2005:50). In this way, students will be less focused on accumulating credits and more committed to engaging activities of study, formation and fieldwork as integral to self-understanding as pastoral ministers. This will ensure that graduates are sufficiently exposed to the curricula connections and have moved on in their knowledge and experience of God with the necessary competencies and character for Christian ministry.

Because the formal curriculum is the instrument of education and training, energy is focused on this dimension. However, integration refers to a broader conceptualisation. In the book Integrating work in theology, Cahalan (2017:80) recounts integration as curriculum development, including the vertical and horizontal dynamics; capstone requirements, the schools' implicit curricula, formation, faculty development, field education, and partnerships with congregations. Integration is not only applied to the curriculum. It is an aspect of community life with a corporate dimension and is the task of the whole faculty. Thus, the learning environment, the hidden curriculum and interactions with students and teachers influence the integration of learning and the formation of the student. Through practical exposures and fieldwork, especially in the supervision relationship (Paver 2006), learning is integrated and brought back to the classroom for further reflection. In addition, because life is compartmentalised, a minister formed without an integrated ministerial identity can be tempted to view his/her work as merely another job, instead of viewing it as a calling. Spiritual practices and formation are key in nurturing vocation and ministerial identity, where reflective work is done in mentoring and small groups.

The above clearly shows that integration happens simultaneously at multiple levels: within the individual, in the curriculum, in the teaching and learning process, and within the broader institutional environment of the hidden curriculum. If the learning environment fails to model how the different parts of this reality fit together to form a whole, expectations for students to embrace the process of integration are undermined (Klimoski 2005:52).



"Technology and globalization are transforming knowledge practices in all the disciplines, professions, and arts" (Gibbons et al. 1994:10). The move to a "knowledge society", where the knowledge learnt is becoming irrelevant at a rapid rate (Campbell 2012), has resulted in higher education calls for innovation that involves connected learning and creating more synergies among disciplines. Research is now required to be multi-, inter-and transdisciplinary to tackle the many aspects of reality and increase understanding on complex issues. These are research spaces that reflect on a problem from different aspects, where issues are rethought, alternatives reconsidered, and interrelations revealed to make conceptual connections among the various ideas. In our postmodern world, understandings of research and scholarship have been broadened and the integration of disciplines is highly valued among educators.

There are various ways in which integration is understood and implemented. To highlight the complex nature of integration, Grundy (1994:26) outlines

six different approaches; the integration of content, organisational practices, teaching practices, skills and competencies, assessment practices, and inclusive curriculum practices.

Fogarty (1991:62) suggests "a continuum of integration", where a fragmented model exists at one end, while at the other extreme a connected model exists between disciplines in terms of planning and teaching. In educational studies, integrated curriculum is described as "interwoven, connected, thematic, interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, correlated, linked, and holistic in nature" (Beane 1997:26).

In ministerial training, with the tensions between the demands of ecclesial praxis and the more theoretical reflections emerging from the various subdisciplines, integration within the curriculum, which was previously the burden of the student to work out, is now becoming pronounced. It is important to note, in this instance, the differences in approach between private denominational theological education that are confessional, closely aligned to the sponsoring church and ministerial practice, and the academic study of theology at universities that may not view the congregation as the place for ministry, but that are increasingly engaging ministry in public places. This distinction is important as seminaries can be more intentional towards a "holistic" approach, whereas in the university model, the goal may be to simply integrate various knowledges, since several structural features may impede engaging the practical context of curriculum integration. These include:

the bachelor's degree that is defined more in terms of courses and credits than by a vision of what the degree should mean; systems of faculty roles and rewards that have been slow to recognize interdisciplinary and applied scholarship, not to mention the extra efforts entailed in designing, teaching, and assessing courses aimed at integrative learning. Other familiar disconnects include the gaps between the curriculum and the co-curriculum and campus and community life (Schneider & Schoenberg 1999:33).

Curricular integration is difficult to fully embrace in the subdisciplines of biblical, theological, history and practical theology studies, as they are still deeply rooted in historic structures of the German university. For example, at the University of Pretoria, De Beer and Van Niekerk (2019:223) speak of a vision of theological education not at the Faculty of Theology but at two Centres (for community service, research and teaching) that is transdisciplinary in nature, where "different academic disciplines [are] working jointly with practitioners to solve a real-world problem". The challenge remains that, in the academic study of theology, disciplines of knowledge serve different purposes from ministerial training, reinforced by various academic societies and journals, and support, to a large extent, the corporatisation of universities to enhance excellence in each field. Academic disciplines provide a sense of community and shared interest, even professional identity, as academics work to extend knowledge in that field. It can also have very different ideas about the fluidity of the boundaries that separate one area of study from another, due to methodological differences. Thankfully, disciplines also change and develop from how they were initially conceptualised, as Conradie (2015:30) states:

systematic theology liberated itself from a scholastic approach ... to a hermeneutic approach to theology where the emphasis is on understanding the content and the significance of the Christian faith - in conversation with philosophy, various social sciences.

The expansion and proliferation of disciplinary knowledge and methodol ogies will continue to be a disintegrating experience. The word "integration" could imply that the curriculum usually has a disciplinary format, and to integrate is a step beyond that status quo. The issue, in this instance, is not whether the disciplines of knowledge are useful, but their representation in the separate-subject approach to the curriculum (Beane 1997:30) and how they might appropriately be brought into the lives of the student. According to Miller (2019:32),

curriculum integration does not abandon the skills and understandings that are specific to the individual key learning areas, but it is a means of enhancing those areas across key learning areas.

Fink (2013:48) also makes it clear that foundational learning is required before integrative learning, as information, perspectives and methods of inquiry are needed from the disciplines "to connect and relate various things to each other".

In the recent restructuring of higher education in South Africa (Naidoo 2015:11), university faculties have reconfigured and merged disciplines. For example, at the School of Theology in Pietermaritzburg, University of KwaZulu-Natal, a thematic focus of "Theology and Development" was created to "focus on the socio-political context in which the church lives today in Africa" (De Gruchy 2003:451). At the new Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary, the curriculum was designed holistically around the Methodist vision of "Forming transforming leaders for church and nation". Seven core components formed the basis of the curriculum: academic/ theological formation; vocational training/ministry skills; personal growth and social skills; morality/ethics; transformational leadership, and general/interdisciplinary knowledge (Khumalo & Richardson 2010:260). Another international example that arranges the curriculum around competencies reports:

the Catholic Theological Union, Chicago has moved from a curriculum driven by disciplines to a curriculum with a 'foundational core' of four courses in the first year: 'Pastoral Practice: The Theology of Ministry,' 'The Art of Theology: Theological Method,' 'Religion in Context: Diversity in Dialogue,' and 'Tradition: Sources through History.' In subsequent years students take courses in an 'integrating core' that specifically works to connect these four areas' (Cahalan 2011a:390).

In this instance, faculty abandoned departments based on disciplines and created new groups and structures, comprising of several disciplines, each contributing to a core competence. There is a rationale or logic at play in the design that explains how the content and experiences are sequenced in such a way for integrative learning to happen. Disciplinary knowledge is used as a resource and is called forth when it is pertinent rather than when it is convenient (Beane 1997:30). Most significantly, faculty from different disciplines worked together toward defining a competence that includes knowledge and practice. In these models, integration is not the sole responsibility of the practical fields but the whole faculty and curriculum.

Another type of integration usually found in seminaries focused on biblically-based scholarship is "faith-learning" integration (Holmes 1987; Marsden 1996; Wolterstorff 2004), which involves the compatibility between a Christian world view and faith principles in an academic discipline. To avoid dualism, "faith-learning" integration attempts to engage theological ideas with people of all professional backgrounds. It seeks

to overcome compartmentalized thinking and living that separate the spiritual from the intellectual or keeps Christian beliefs from interacting with secular views (Holmes 1987:56).

Because theological educators are concerned about the impact of liberal education on vocational goals, they seek to explore how a discipline can be totally reconstructed on faith principles. They look for subject transformations into a framework of faith presuppositions.

Because of the differing contexts of theological education, there are multiple ways to describe and define integration - one size does not fit all. Institutions that do take on integration should be able to communicate how well the parts of the curriculum are intentionally connected, and the rationale articulated for the interrelationships of experiences, contexts, and requirements (Naidoo 2020). However, it requires intentional planning with all stakeholders, so that all goals are aligned from course purpose to programme as well as institutional goals. To do this adequately would depend on how the institution understands integration - a particular perspective needs to be taken for the obvious reason that each theological institution has its own vision, purpose and core business tied to the denomination in a specific context. No doubt there will be resistance to change from traditional disciplinary divisions, especially faculty's loyalty to academic societies, but it is worth making the adjustments for the outcome of significant learning.



Historically, the teaching of theology was commonly understood as the application of the classical theological disciplines to ministerial practice. The other theological disciplines were viewed as theoretical, and the "discipline of practical theology was seen as an application science" (Farley 1983:13). In theological education, the tension between theory and practice has been ongoing. With the domination or hegemony of theory over practice, teaching theology has focused on "textual interpretation and doctrinal exposition, rather than on the situations, needs and skill development of students" (Miller-McLemore 2016:3). We find that, with the focus on theory transmission of foundational knowledge, the pastoral and practical has remained an afterthought. Some viewed internships and practical exposures as the primary context in which practice and theory met. Educators and scholars alike are challenged to connect theology and ministry or to establish how to "apply" academic disciplines to pastoral work. Integrative practices are an attempt to merge the two opposites of theory and practice.

The discipline of practical theology provides various ways to translate "academic (theory) into the practical" (Farley 1983:30) through praxis. The methodology of praxis views theological education as a "reflection on the practice of ministry while one is involved in that ministry" (Miller-McLemore 2008:182). Praxis is a cyclic process of acting and reflecting. It is the process whereby a theory, lesson, skill is enacted, embodied or realised. Theological education is thus a process of living, learning and asking theology questions - while engaged in activity, stepping back, reflecting and asking questions of the action and the tradition and to seek to apply solutions and reflect and begin the cycle again. Osmer (2008:4) presents the four tasks of practical theology - from the progression of description, interpretation, discernment and strategic action. These tasks are helpful processes in conversational practice from describing a particular problem to its interpretation and analysis to pragmatically intervening in the situation.

Practical theology is a useful guide towards integration, with the focus on practices, the theory-practice-theory relationship and how practices inform and transform one another. Miller-McLemore (2011:3) notes that this has

led to the expansion of practical theology and generated a fresh interest in practice, the study of practice, and pursuit of improved pedagogical strategies for cultivating practical knowledge.

Teaching theology without practice cannot produce the same type of transformative learning as teaching theology alongside action. In the education field, Kolb (1984) articulated the concept of praxis. He theorised "experiential learning", i.e. learning through doing, and doing by learning. Learning is meaningful as the student acts, reflects and considers the theological implications and reconsiders the academic theory and the cycle continues. In this instance, students are involved in practical reasoning as they bridge their lived experiences and the theoretical aspects of learning, to develop as hermeneutical guides in understanding and dialogue, seeking solutions in ministry. In this instance, practical theology "builds theological theory on practical reasoning in actions", so as "to understand the meaning of their actions in order to come to self-understanding" (Hermans 2014:115).

At the same time, when students try to establish the theology enacted in practice, this is not a simple task. "How to think theologically" (Duke & Stone 1996), employing the knowledge received and detecting the theology already operative in practice is not so easy. Practical theologians have a view of a living theology that holds theory and praxis together. The best way to teach theology "is to invite students to 'do' theology" (Trokan 1997:146), by appropriating their faith, participating in the theologising process. As Trokan (1997:148) states,

although this theology may be embryonic, unconscious, or dormant, the task of theological educators is to midwife this theological truth into existence.

In this way, educators help students theologise, by assisting them in naming their theology. Theology describes the process and mode of reflection, its aptitudes and dispositions and not so much the views or beliefs that are held. Integration is pronounced because of the personal appropriation of theology; the habitus of doing theology is best understood not as the knowledge of God, but as knowing God, intimately and personally (Farley 1983).

There are discussions on whether there is any pure theory not connected to practice and the theory-laden aspects of practices (Hermans 2014; Miller-McLemore 2016). The traditional understanding of a theory-to-practice linearity is understood as theory being influenced by practice. However, David Kelsey (1993:132) states that "to understand God truly one must begin not with theory but with messy concrete realities". Fulkerson (2007:299) rejects theology as an "overly cognitive and abstract ... (useless) kind of theory relevant only to academics" and speaks of a turn toward practice. Theory is a "social practice that goes on all the time" (Eagleton 1990:24, 27). Theory includes

reflection on phronesis, practical knowledge and reasoning, wisdom, praxis, and the theory or philosophy of action, all of which entail numerous other [theoretical] issues (Miller-McLemore 2016:3).

In dealing with the theory-practice challenge of traditional education, it must be said that practical theologians are wary of placing emphasis on theory. Miller-McLemore (2016:6) states:

First, theory does not emerge from thinking alone but also out of pain and struggle, through participation and connection. Second, the articulation of theory often requires close observation of and engagement in living realities (action, practice, life) and not a distancing from an object. Third, theory is seen as fully shaped by character, personal and pastoral formation, social and political context, and history and historical location. Fourth, to be understood by others, theoretical knowledge in practical theology usually requires translation, illustration and enactment. For practical theologians, this view of theory as verifiable concepts, separate from 'data', seems truncated, even slightly positivist, because many believe there are no un-interpreted or un-theorised data.

In this instance, theory is not viewed as an end in itself. It is more than thinking, as it changes how we view the world and creates unexpected changes beyond the original theory. In practical-theological theorising, Browning (1991:7) speaks of "present theory-laden practice to a retrieval of normative theory-laden practice, to the creation of more critically held theory-laden practices". Theory can come from various sources, or as Miller-McLemore (2016:3) states, "practice takes theory into itself and transforms or surpasses it". According to Trokan (1997:147),

instead of teaching theory in isolation and then expecting students to pick up the skills, skills are taught first and then ask students to use their experience to reflect on theory.

In this way, students develop their reflective skills trying to work out the theory behind their practice. Central to the praxis methodology is "theological reflection that builds a critical theory of knowing and invites students to learn a discipline" (Miller-McLemore 2008:172).

Fulkerson (2007:300) suggests that theory and practice are seen in opposition, because "people struggle to talk about different ways of knowing". Fulkerson (2007:300) wrote about "how to deal with the intersection of knowledges", including the "role of critical thinking, and how to adjudicate the increasing complexification of practice" (Fulkerson 2007:301). "Practical theologians use theory and practice to differentiate two sources and styles of knowledge" (Miller-McLemore 2016:5) - "knowing that" and "knowing how" (Benner 1984:2). Miller-McLemore (2016:5) reminds us that "theory, practice and types of knowledge are not split in unhelpful ways [but are] quintessential bridge-makers across estranged lands". This reveals that studying theology is fundamentally practical, since theology is a practice, it is rooted contextually, and it has practical effects, and that the disciplines of history, dogmatics/systematics, and biblical study are sub-movements within an overarching practical framework.

For ministerial training, the concepts and constructs from systematic theology, biblical and historical studies should deepen and extend practical knowledge. Theory-practice tensions can be overcome when different theories or theologies are not simply offloaded onto students, but when students are helped to engage in action and interpret the contexts through a theological lens. Integration happens when practice, learning, and reflective insight happen in and through intentional processes.



Cahalan (2011b:345) defines integration as the "dynamic interplay of knowing, doing and being". Educators are critical to the integrative process, as they help students make connections through pedagogical efforts. Cahalan (2011b:349) states that

ongoing learning will happen for practitioners who have been immersed in a kind of learning that connects knowing, being, and doing in the classroom.

When students become more self-aware, this is the start to a reflective journey of learning. In this way, integration serves the student for whom the curriculum is designed, rather than the specialised interests of educators.

In Fink's (2003:82) learning theory, the sixth step "learning how to learn" focuses on "becoming a better student, learning how to inquire about this particular subject matter, and becoming a self-directing learner". In self-directed learning, "students reflect on and formulate their own learning goals" (Taylor & Burgess 1995:90) and are personally invested to propel meaningful learning. Integrative learning motivates students further to take responsibility for their learning, since "they know how that subject matter relates and contributes to what they are doing and who they are becoming" (Cahalan 2011b:344).

To prepare students for this purposeful journey of learning, educators need to understand that there is a way of teaching that is significantly different from the traditional transmission mode of learning. It will involve engaging students' prior learning to support new learning to apply in complex challenges. Because integration concerns the "active construction of meanings rather than the passive assimilation of others' meanings" (Taylor & Burgess 1995:88), it forms part of the new model of student-centred learning. Active learning involves "engaging students in 'doing' or 'observing' and creates experiences for reflection and making meaning with oneself and others" (Cahalan 2011b:345). In this instance, the role of the teacher is one of "co-creator of knowledge". The teacher and the learner are on the same level, recognising that they both bring knowledge to the setting and are active learners. This role of the teacher is a different one and some reflection on power dynamics must be made - it only works if the teacher puts the student's journey and creative process ahead of his/her own. In addition, a key source of integration comes from the example set by faculty who provide a model of integration from the example of their professional and personal lives.

In this model, educators engage in different kinds of learning such as team-teaching, capstone assignments that integrate previous learning, problem-based learning, learning portfolios, using different learning styles, engaging the methodology of praxis, using engaged pedagogies that are dialogical, experiential, contextual and cooperative. Using the multiple intelligence theory (Gardner 1993), various methodologies are used, in addition to partnerships for meaningful work-integrated learning with churches, ministry supervisors and other settings of ministry. In this way, the teacher's role has shifted from "lecturer" to "faculty as designers of learning methods and environments" (Fink 2013:21).

Integration is not only a product, but also a process with activities and practices to ground individuals for even a lifetime of active commitment to the integrative process. It is important to note that an educator cannot command integration to occur at a particular moment for the student, because it has a developmental dimension (Klimoski 2005:51) and depends on the readiness of the student. Yet educators can create the learning environment pedagogically, within the sequencing of the curriculum so that connections are made. However, theological educators usually teach the way they have been taught and are typically trained in theology; few have capacity in educational pedagogy. They also lack an understanding of how the integrative process moves forward and what signs along the way point to progress (Klimoski 2005:52). Thus, it would be unthinkable to build action plans without the needed capacity-building from the institution and support in professional development.



The three proposals offered by Cahalan (2011a) show that integration is possible, provided that ministerial training is holistically oriented, by bringing together the various academic disciplines, making space for praxis-based learning, and engaging fully in a student-centred approach to teaching. A vision of theological education built on a strong formational motif is the starting point, as students integrate who they are with what they are learning to who they are becoming. Theological institutions must help develop an integrative mindset where learning is continuously related to the students' lives. Whatever practices or mechanisms are used, helping students develop strategies to connect beyond the unspoken message of curricular fragmentation should become a priority to make for significant and relevant learning.



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Date received: 30 November 2020
Date accepted: 27 March 2021
Date published: 14 June 2021

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