Teaching Technical Courses from a Christian Perspective:

cuckootrainMechanics

Oct 31, 2013 (3 years and 5 months ago)

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Teaching Technical Courses
from a Christian Perspective:

A Reformed Approach to Pedagogy

Charles C. Adams

Dordt College

2006
-
2008
ARIHE

Lectures



“As a result of this course and your
instructor’s efforts, how has your faith
grown and your worldview been shaped in
a positive Christian direction? And,
specifically, how has your understanding/
appreciation of Christ’s lordship over the
particular subject matter of the course
been deepened?”

The Problem


The nature of “technical” courses:
abstraction.


The nature of “non
-
technical” courses: less
abstraction, more holism.


A moralistic solution.


A Simple Approach to Teaching
Christianly


WHAT? God’s good creation.


The heavens declare the glory of God; the
differential equation proclaims the work of his
hands.


WHY? Service.


Creatures are servants.


Life is service.


HOW? Pedagogy that respects the
created order.



But to do that will require us to
cultivate a holistic quality in our
colleges, our majors, our courses,
and, at appropriate times, our
lessons.

Providing a Holistic Context for
Abstraction


At the institutional level


Student Services as part of the overall
academic program.


Institutional modeling of holistic Christian
behavior.


At the program curricula level


Faculty commitment: word and deed.


The “tapestry” metaphor.

Curricular Component

Thread

Mathematics

Physics

Biotic (life science)

Analytic (critical thinking)

Cultural formative (design)

General Education

Aesthetics (the arts)

Communication

Social Science

Ethics

Philosophy/Worldview

Engineering Science

General Engineering

Engineering Systems

Engineering Design

Thermal
-
Fluid Systems

Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Systems

Materials & Processing

Curricular Threads
in the Mechanical
Engineering
Curriculum

FIRST

FALL

(17.0)

ENGL 101 Grammar
& Composition


(3)

EGR 105 Engineering
Principles

(3)

CMSC 102
Programming
-

Natural
Sciences (3)

MATH 112

Calculus I

(4)

CHEM 103

Chemistry I

(4)

SPRING

(17.0)

ENGL 200 Literature
(3)

EGR 101 Engineering
Graphics (3)

PHYS 201 Physics I

Mechanics (4)

MATH 113

Calculus II (4)

CHEM 104

Chemistry II (4)

SECOND

FALL

(17.0)

HIST 100 Western
Civilization


(3)

EGR 220 Linear
Circuits and
Electronics (4)

PHYS 202 Physics II:
Fluids, Waves, Heat,
E&M (4)

MATH 203 or

MATH 204

(3)

COMM 110
Fundamentals of
Speaking & Listen. (3)

SPRING

(16.0)

THEO 101
Perspectives in
Theology (3)

EGR 221 Linear
Systems Analysis (4)

EGR 299
Thermodynamics I (3)

MATH 201 Calculus
III

(3)

EGR 202 Elements of
Materials Science (3)

THIRD

FALL

(17.0)

Foreign Language
Elective

(3)

EGR 204
Microprocessors and
Digital Electron. (4)

EGR 302

Fluid Mechanics

(3)

EGR 208

Statics and Strength of
Materials (4)

Social Science
Elective

(3)

SPRING

(17.0)

PHIL 201 Perspectives
in Philosophy


(3)

EGR 362 Control
Systems

(3)

EGR 303 Heat
Transfer

(4)

EGR 209 Kinematics
and Dynamics

(4)

EGR 310

History of Science &
Technology (3)

FOURTH

FALL

(16.0)

Humanities Elect.

(3)

GEN 200 Introduction
to the Arts

(3)

Math/Science Elective

(3)

EGR 315 Machine
Design (3)

EGR 379

Senior Design (4)

SPRING

(15.0)

Social Science
Elective

(3)

EGR 390 Technology
& Society (3)

GEN 300 Calling,
Task, & Culture (3)

EGR 320 or

EGR 350 or

EGR 351 (3)

EGR 380 Senior
Design Project (3)

Mechanical Engineering Curriculum


1998


Perspectives Thread

Providing a Holistic Context for
Abstraction


At the course level


Concepts, laws, and “things” as creatures


Respecting the integrity of students in the
course pedagogy


Communicating the context of the subject
matter: history of the discipline


An attempt to bring wholeness to a fluid
mechanics course

Providing a Holistic Context for
Abstraction


At the “lesson” or “assignment” level


An occasionally “odd” homework problem:

“What is the nature of a pump, in the context
of the history of creation
-
fall
-
redemption?”


Two answers to an “odd” problem.

Providing a Holistic Context for
Abstraction


At the “interstitial” level


History: stories about historic characters and
events.


Application: stories that provide professional
context for the application of concepts


Application: stories that provide personal
context for the application of concepts

Conclusion


Imagine that you are a Board
member…


Hiring a mathematics teacher


Asking the right questions


Two helpful, complementary books


Roy Clouser,
The Myth of Religious
Neutrality


Duane Litfin,
Conceiving the
Christian College