Integration of Faith and Learning

Theory and Practice

Part I


By Raquel B. de Korniejczuk, Ph.D

Universidad Adventista del Plata


This paper attempts to review the concepts of integration or faith and learning its role in Christian Education and presents a model of levels of teacher integration of faith in their classes.

The concept of integration in education

One of the three criteria that Tyler (1946) thought should be considered as a guide to organizing learning experiences in integration.  According to him, "integration refers to the horizontal relationship of curriculum experiences" (p. 86), and these experiences should be organized in such a way as to help students formulate an increasingly unified view, and to behave accordingly.

Although the ST. Olaf College Self Study Committee (1956) did not define "integration," their utilization of the term suggests similarities with Tyler.  They presented a review of integrating factors in education throughout the ages.  According to them, in early Creek education, being a good citizen was the main integrating factor in education.  This integration dissolved with sophists, who sustained personal advancement and individual success instead of social services and public usefulness. Early Roman education also was founded on the integrating aim to be a virtuous person: good citizen, soldier, and workers.  Christianity gave a new meaning to life and new objectives to education.

During the Middle Ages, integration, synthesis, and order were the goal of education based upon authoritatively given goals and methods, but this aim degenerated towards the end of the Middle Ages, when the Process of disintegration and fragmentation started with the overflow of new interests.

The aim for education in the early modern age was actualizing humanity in every individual, based upon reason as the principle of truth.  Integration was not discussed because autonomous reason and the principle of automative harmony were already in the mind of mankind.  Integration or harmony could be left to take care of itself.  As the Industrial Revolution began in Western Europe, bringing such political changes, as democracy, profound transformations occurred in society and education.   Reason was no longer the principle of truth and justice, but a tool in the service of the gigantic industrial civilization.  Classical and theological patterns of integrating were utilized in only a few of the private church-sponsored colleges.  Positivist natural sciences and anthropological social sciences developed education for democracy, which integrated nationalistic and economic ideals.

The first American universities struggled between two models of higher education: (1) the German model that promoted freedom of research and freedom to teach, and supported doctorate degrees; and (2) the English model that promoted the extension of knowledge rather than the advancement, was slow to promote research, and emphasized B.A. degrees.  Although American universities did not attempt to eradicate disconnection of subjects, in general, education toward technology satisfied the search of the individual for purpose and unity in life.

The contemporary school curriculum is described by Oppewal (1985) as a "curious mixture of the old and the new, with contenders always jostling for a more prominent place in the school day" (p. 20).  The problem of education is how to harmonize this cacophonic symphony.  This harmonization is accomplished through integration.  "Without this integration, the curriculum will be nothing more than a dumping ground for unrelated facts" (Wilson, 1991, p. 59).

During the last few years, curriculum designers stated the need of curriculum integration for several reasons: (1) the growth of knowledge that force curriculum designers to select what should be taught, and what can be eliminated from the curriculum, (2) fragmented schedules that divide the learning process in arbitrary blocks of time, which do not consider the needs of students, and (23) the relevance of curriculum shown by active and natural linkages between fields of knowledge (Jacobs, 1989, pp. 1-60).

The concept of Integration in Christian Education

In the field of Christian education, the problem of integration is different from that of secular education.  Secular education is looking for the integrating factor, whereas Christian education already has this factor (Gaebelein, 1968). The integrating factor in Christian education is God and the Bible.  The problem of integration for Christian education is the application oft this integration (p. 11).

From its own beginning Christianity has integrated faith with secular knowledge.  The Jewish and Hebraic system of education in the synagogue incorporated Greek and Roman ideas of education.  Thus, during the Middle Ages, the Reformation, and Colonization, educational institutions emphasized theology as the main subject, and other disciplines only facilitate human understanding of faith. According to De Jong (1990), "this traditional integration of faith and learning was all but destroyed after World War II" (p. 88).  Secularism, humanism, and pluralism pervaded society, and even the raison d'etre of church-related institutions was placed under question.

Ostensibly, it is the integration of faith and learning that distinguishes the Christian school from its public school counterpart (Wilhoit, 1987).  In reality, however, the lines between faith and learning are often blurred in Christian schools.  Some emphasize faith and diminish learning; others accentuate learning, relegating faith to an isolated comer of the curriculum.

In spite of the ambiguous relationship between faith and knowledge, there is consensus among Christians that Christianity has vitally important to implications for every area of life and thought.  In a secular, materialistic age, it is not easy to develop a Christian worldview.  Sire (1976, 1979), Blamires (1963), Holmes (1983), and Walsh and Middleton (1984), among others, emphasize the importance of Christian thinking in the entire process of Christian life and practice.

The phrase "integration of faith and leaning" is widely used in religious educational circles.  Sometimes used as a slogan, its meaning tends to be distorted, diffused, or ambiguous.


Badley (1994) questioned the term "integration" in the context of the integration of faith and learning.  For him there are five possible meanings: fusion , incorporation, correlation, dialogical integration, and perspectival integration.  "Fusion means that two (or more) elements flow or mesh together to become a new entity." Thus, the fused elements may or may not retain their own identity.  "Incorporation seems to imply that one element disappears into the …other."  "In correlation integration, someone, usually a teacher, shows the relationship between two subjects by noting points of interaction or common interest."  Badley understood by dialogical integration "the high and continuous degree of correlation that we could properly claim a conversation had begun between two areas," and finally, '"perspectival integration the entire educational enterprise is viewed from a specific perspective."  He advocates the last meaning, perspectival integration, because it provides a worldview and pursues educational coherence.

Gangel (1983), although recognizing that the term integration is widely used, preferred the term "harmony" with the meaning of merging, blending, correlation, connection, association, and application.  For him, integration is a process both in principle and practice, both philosophical and pedagogical.

Faith and Learning

In examining the terms "faith" and "learning," Wilhoit (1987) stated,

It seems obvious that the existence of the two terms, faith and learning, suggests two qualitatively different sphere of comprehension--something like the categories of apples and oranges--which we as master chefs or teachers are to prepare as a single satisfying concoction and to serve to our hungry students. (p. 78).


However, he defined faith and learning: "Faith is the areas of personal communion with God--it values traits such as trust and love rather than precision of thought or emotional detachment," and "learning is represented by cautious generalizations of philosophy or the carefully controlled inductive truths of empirical science." Finally, he distinguished both terms by saying:

Put in another way, learning represents those things we can verify by the scientific method (such as water being made of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen), while faith relates to those things we cannot test or rationalize (such as the concept that God is all powerful). Ultimately then, the difference between faith and learning is a question of origins--with faith representing the sphere of understanding as revealed by God in His Word, and learning representing the sphere of understanding as discovered and recorded by man. (p. 78, italics his)

Integration of Faith and Learning

In discussions of how the Christian perspective embraces reality, and more specifically, education, not everyone uses the term integration of faith and learning.  Some speak of "worldview," others prefer talking about the "Christian mind," and a third group accepts the use of "integration of faith and learning."

Christian mind

Blamires (1963) distinguished the secular mind from the Christian mind.

To think secularly is to think within a frame of reference bounded by the limits of our life on earth….To think Christianly is to accept all things with the mind as related, directly or indirectly, to man's eternal destiny as the redeemed and chosen child of God" (p. 44).


He used the word "mind" as a "collectively accepted set of notions and attitudes" (p. vii).  Blamires believed that the Christian mind does not exist, and challenged Christians to develop the Christian mind.  To him, "the Christian mind is the prerequisite of Christian thinking.  And Christian thinking is the prerequisite of Christian action" (p. 43).

Barclay's definition of the Christian mind was more biblically oriented.  He noted: "By a Christian mind I believe the Bible means "a Christian outlook that controls our life and our thinking'" (p. 15).  And he presented biblically based suggestions in the development of the Christian mind.

Sire (1990) stated that, "the Christian mind does not begin with a worldview, not even the Christian worldview.  It begins with an attitude.  Granted that attitude is rooted in the Christian worldview" (p. 15).  The attitude to which he is referring is Jesus' attitude: humility.  According to Sire, the Christian mind can be reached by being disciples of Jesus, and by approaching knowledge, culture, and history from a Christian perspective.

Christian worldview

One of the clearest approaches to a Christian worldview was presented by Walsh and Middleton (1984).  After analyzing the definition of a worldview and how to achieve a Christian and biblical worldview, they explained the relationship between a worldview and academic discipline or scholarship.  For them, a worldview is a pretheoretical view of the totality of reality, based upon faith or beliefs, because all theoretical analysis occurs in the context of a philosophical paradigm.  The worldview determines the philosophical paradigm that supports the academic discipline.  Any academic discipline takes on an aspect of reality, whereas the philosophical paradigm takes on the totality of reality (pp. 169-172).

Simple and clear introductions of different worldview were presented by Sire (1979, 1988), Knight (1989), and Pazmino (1992) along with critiques and perspectives from Christianity.

Holmes (1977) presented eight characteristics of a worldview expanded recently in Contours of A World View (1983): (1) holistic or integrational; (2) exploratory, or open system: (3) pluralistic, that is, an open-ended exploration; and (4) confessional and perspectival.

Sire (1990) supported that a worldview analysis provides three bases for integration:

1. "Worldview analysis allows one to discover and examine the underlying presuppositions of every academic theory and every discipline" (p. 155).

2. "A worldview analysis allows Christians to identify the biblical presuppositions that can undergird proper scholarship" (p. 156).

3. "A worldview analysis provides the basis for interdisciplinary studies.  Real questions we need to ask and answer about God, human beings and the universe are not going to be answered exhaustively by any one academic discipline" (pp. 156, 157).


Mission of Christian education

Coming to the educational field, different aspects of their history and mission of American Christian schools presented by Ringenberg (1984), Van Brummelen (1986), Carpenter and Shipps (1987), and Carper and Hunt (1984) shared the purpose and commitment of engendering a distinctly Christian worldview in their students and communities.  The history of American Christian schools shows the struggle with secularization and recovery of the school's distinctive mission.  As expressed by Ringenberg (1984),

A Christian college is a community of Christian believers, both teachers and students, who are dedicated to the search for an understanding of the divine Creator, the universe that he has created, and the role that each creature should fill his universe.  The titles of the specific courses may not differ from those in a secular college.  What does differ dramatically, however, is the attitude with which Christian scholars approach their areas of investigation.  To Christian learners, al truth is God's truth, and the pursuit of it is a spiritual quest to understand God better. (pp. 215, 216)


De Jong (1990) diagnosed the present situation of contemporary church-related colleges, analyzing how they lost their raison d'etre, and how they can recover their mission. Thus,

The total college experience is a process of putting knowledge and skills into the context of a value system, articulating that knowledge, those skills, and the value system into the students' visions of themselves and their world.  The result is a fulfilling life, one in which continued openness and enlargement are enjoyed throughout life.  (p. 141)


Integration Faith and Learning: its components

Gaebelein (1968) stressed that "Christian education can achieve integration into the all-embracing truth of God" (p. 8).  He analyzed three components in the integration.  The first component is the teacher.  Regarding the process teachers go through in carrying out the integration, Gaebelein said,

When he [the teacher] became a Christian through regeneration, he did not instantaneously receive a completely developed worldview; rather it was implanted in germ or in embryo.  Just as there are believers who exhibit little growth… so there are others who, when it comes to the development of a consistent frame of reference, remain comparative infants.  On the other hand, there are some who do grow.  To expect achievement of this kind from all Christian teachers is obviously impossible.  But it is not only possible but also quite reasonable to expect of Christian teachers a worldview intelligently understood and held with conviction.  (pp. 43, 44).


A second element of Gaebelein's book is that of subject integration.  He expressed that there are some subjects, which are more difficult to integrate than others.  The hardest is Mathematics, with Literature and History ranking as the most easy and natural.

As the third vital element in integration, Gaebelein targeted the school atmosphere, and atmosphere that extends beyond the classroom. This includes all extracurricular activities, namely cultural programs, band, choir, athletics, student discipline, chapels, and even brochures that promote Christian education.

Gaebelein's model of integration is a challenge for Christian teaching because it is "hard work."  However, "it is a glorious work," because it deals with the formation of "growing human souls" (p. 108).

De Jong (1989) agreed with Gaebelein on the unity of integration of faith and learning.  He pointed our that frequently Christians think in "clusters," and that they tend to separate faith from knowledge so that faith is connected with religion and knowledge is connected with science, but there is not relationship between all elements. Therefore,

The greatest challenge facing Christian education today is that of discovering the unity of all that is known, of formulating for our children a single mental vision, of bringing every tidbit of interpreted fact and every theory of explanation into subjection to Christ (p. 46).


Holmes (1975) emphasized the importance of the "climate of faith and learning."  He said that values are transmitted "more from example than from precept, more from their peers than from their elders, and more by being involved than by being spectators" (p. 82).  Moreover, teachers are keys to a climate of learning.  They can inspire students, and students can inspire other students; thus a climate of learning emerges.  "It is important t that the teacher be transparently Christian as well as an enthusiastic and careful scholar, and that he not compartmentalize the two but think integrationally himself" (p. 83).

Integration vs pseudointegration

Sometimes integration of faith and learning is defined by contrast: what it is and what is it not.  Heie and Wolfe (1987) distinguished between integration and pseudointegration.  The difference between authentic integration and pseudointegration resides in that the former emphasizes "integral sharing" between the Judaeo-Christian vision and the discipline, whereas the latter focuses only on "integral commonalities."  Wolfe's (1987) definition of integration emphasizes the process of the integration of faith and learning.  Integration is "more about the process of how truth is grasped than it is about the ultimate unity of all God's truth" (p. 5, italics his).

Integration as a process

Rasi (1993) provided a definition that points out the process and the intentionality of the process.  Integration of faith and learning is

A deliberate and systematic process of approaching the entire educational enterprise form a biblical perspective.  Its aim is to ensure that students under the influence of Christian teachers and by the time they leave school will have internalized biblical values and a view of knowledge, life, and destiny that is Christ-centered, service-oriented and kingdom-directed. (p. 10)


Often integration occurs spontaneously only as a part of the teachers' hidden curriculum.  Teachers' modeling and propitious, but sporadic relations between subject matter and spiritual issues are not sufficient to reach the desired integration

A Christian worldview becomes operative only as teachers integrate these principles into practice at the classroom level and promotes their integration in the student's life. Integration of faith and learning should pervade the formal, informal, and hidden curriculums of Christian schools and colleges.

Integration of Faith and Learning

in the formal curriculum


Jaarsma (1953) published a collection of readings on Christian education. Section three of his book deals with the organization and implementation of the program of Christian education.  His Christian view of the curriculum stressed the Bible as a center of the curriculum, and the continuity and coherence of learning.  Jaarsma gave three suggestions for the implementation of integration into the curriculum:

First, the Christian view of learning makes the teacher-pupil relationship basic to the pupil curriculum relationship.  Second, curriculum coherence demands unified areas of learning in keeping with the fullness of life if acceptance of life in the heart is to be achieved.  Third the Scriptures must permeate unified areas of learning with their perspectives and mandates. (Italics his, pp. 258-260)


Jaarsma recognized the scriptural basis for the curriculum in Christian schools, based upon love, faith, and obedience, and suggested areas of coherence within the framework of the set-up.  He did not encourage a completely new organization of the curriculum, neither fusion of areas, but coherence and meaningfulness.  He explained,

I am advocating continuity representative of life.  If maturity is characterized by the acceptance of life from the heart, if the school aims at maturity, then the school must deal with life.  Christian education is concerned with the acceptance of life as viewed from the Scriptures.  It too must lead the learner to understand life coherently.  Life cannot be understood any other way.  It is not accepted, as we saw, in the heart in compartmentalized form.  (p. 262)


Therefore, according to Jaarsma, one of the first principles to guide the design of the curriculum for elementary and secondary schools "is the fact of the unit of life in the individual and in the collective whole" (p. 277).  After presenting the antithesis of Christian education vs. non-Christian education, the author pondered that it is easy to represent that antithesis on paper, but "when we go to work on the educative process itself, this paper work is not always so obvious" (p. 459).

Two years after the work of Jaarsma, a book edited by Rupert Davis (1956) compiled a series of essays dealing with the relationship between academic disciplines and Christianity.  Although the book does not provide concrete ideas for implementing Christian faith, it gives the reader Christian viewpoints to present academic disciplines.

The relationship between the subject and the individual during integration was discussed by the St. Olaf College Self Study Committee (1956).  They explained that the more personal sciences are closer to the humankind than the abstract sciences, because they assumed that the person is a believing, worshiping, loving, acting, knowing, and creative creature of God.  Therefore, they ranked the sciences from close to far proximatal association from the human being as follows:

1.      Theology

2.      Philosophy

3.      Literature

4.      Fine Arts.

5.      History

6.      Social Sciences

7.      Natural Sciences

8.      Logic, Language, Mathematics (the basic symbolisms) (pl. 115).

The St. Olaf College Self Study Committee (1956) clearly addressed the locus of integration.  It stressed the primacy of students in the task of integration.  "However cohesive the curriculum and however related the teaching, integration must nevertheless be achieved by the student himself.  Otherwise educational integration is a failure" (p.117).  The task of the college, accomplished by teachers and curriculum is twofold: (1) to incite the expectation of relatedness in learning, and (2) to facilitate educational integration (p. 118).

For Miller (1960), the implementation of integration is an "experiment" in higher education institutions.  He described two conditions that need to take place to allow for the integration of faith and learning: first-rate quality education and constant support.

1. It is not possible to conduct a fruitful experiment in the relation of Faith and Education unless the education be of first-rate quality.  At any lower level no useful lessons will be learned.

2. There can be no illusion about the fact that a dedication to this kind of work in our Christian colleges will require an arduous and sustains "selling job" among the supporters of the schools.  (pp. 178, 180).


The Problem of the relationship between theory and practice in the foundation of religious education is presented by Burgess (1975).  His intention is to connect theory and practice in religious education, and to take some steps in solving the problem of establishing a scholarly foundation.  He examined the theoretical literature in religious education and identified four approaches: the social-cultural approach, the traditional theological approach, the contemporary theological approach, and the social-science approach.  Burgess confronted the mentioned theoretical approaches with practical categories of religious education such as aim, content, teacher, student, environment, and evaluation.  Burgess called the attention of religion teachers to become conscious of the relationship between what they intend and what they do.

A concrete and serious effort for introducing a college level curriculum that is founded upon the Christian philosophy was carried out in the late 60s by the Calvin College and reported in the Christian Liberal Arts Education, by the Calvin College Curriculum Study Committee (1970).  The report presents a rationale for Christian liberal arts education, a suggested curriculum design that was tested for two years, a Christian perspective for each subject, and the desired outcomes in students.  In short, the attempt of the curriculum committee was to present in a practical way how the aim of Christian education, which is to educate students to live a Christian live, can be accomplished in the formal curriculum of a Christian college.

Beversluis (1971), in a small book sponsored by the National Union of Christian Schools, proposed a radical simplification of educational philosophy for Christian schools.  He tried to respond to what Christian schools should be aiming to do, why this is so, and what major strategies they should follow.  Speaking about the selection of curriculum in Christian schools, Beversluis said that

Curriculum must be chosen that prominently presents the human condition, the human drama, the human situation.  In all sorts of curriculum encounters, whether in history or the arts, in politics or economics, or in religion, human actions must be traced to values and values to ultimate allegiances.  (p. 67).


Beversluis described the role of the teacher and student in relation to the curriculum.  He emphasized the importance of the participation and interaction of students, the curriculum, curriculum and guided by the teacher, the student becomes compassionate, interacts with life, and discovers not only theoretically but practically how religion and individual are interrelated.

Addressed to undergraduate students, Smith's edited book (1972) attempted to guide students in their journey through college, and assured that "Christianity and scholarship comprise two sides of the same coin of God's truth" (p. vi).  The book is organized into three academic areas: humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, where the author of each essay presented a Christian philosophy that undergirded each subject.

Oppewal (1985) distinguished two ways of integration in the formal curriculum: (1) forming a Christian interpretation or assessment of secular subjects; and (2) placing the subject matter across the academic disciplines, so that the content is interdisciplinary, the Christian perspective is operated at the level of organizing the topic, and the inclusion of biblical materials is part of the subject (p. 21).

Malik's critique of the university (1982) suggested seeing the university from Christ's viewpoint.  He found that the contemporary university is estranged from Christ, and proposed the creation of an "Institute" to control and critique the university from a Christian point of view.

Herbert W. Byrne (1977) attempted to present a coherent bibliocentric approach to the problems of education.  He stressed the importance of having a clear Christian philosophy in education to guide the curriculum in Christian schools.  Byrne pointed out several ways that Christian philosophy could help education:

(1) by providing a world view which gives unity, (2) a philosophy of life which gives meaning, (3) emphasis on true values and objectives which give purpose and direction, and (4) systematization of content by showing relations and interrelations in the totality of truth which provides a workable pattern for the curriculum. (p. 64)


Byrne sustained that Christian philosophy has implications in the educative process: in the nature, aims, and objectives of education as well as in teacher-pupil relationships, in the curriculum, and in the methods of education.  Regarding the curriculum, the author summarized the Christian view of the curriculum as Christ-controlled, pupil-related, socially applied, and Bible-integrated.  Byrne criticized contemporary Christian education at Christian liberal arts schools and Bible schools by saying that Christian teachers are teaching their subject matter with a secular frame of reference.  "Few Christian teachers have learned to use the implications of the Christian philosophy of life as contained in the Bible as a direct guide in the teaching-learning process" (p. 181).  In response to this statement, in section three of his book, Byrne took into consideration how various academic areas can be integrated, organized, and prepared to be used in the classroom from a Christian view of the truth.

Gangel (1983) discussed the implementation of the integration f faith and learning in the Bible college curriculum.  Bible colleges have different objectives than do Christian liberal arts colleges.  They focus on vocational Christian service, and the core curriculum relies on Bible and Theology; therefore the integration presented by different authors on the 15 subjects included in Gangel's book presents biblical foundations for the subject, philosophical formulations, and practical applications of integration.  The integration they pursued, and the role of the teacher and students in the process of integration, is better described in the introduction of the book written by Wendell G. Johnston.

An educational philosophy that involves the integration of the Bible into all of life and learning is both exciting and challenging for faculty and students alike….Faculty are not automatically equipped to teach in an integrated manner because they have graduated from a Christian college or seminary.  Unfortunately, there are very few Christian graduate schools that teach the concept of integration and, thus, most faculty members are left on their own to develop their important concept as they teach their students.  Students also must be taught how to evaluate and integrate, a goal which cannot be accomplished by a superficial understanding of the Bible. (p. xix)


Akers and Moon (1980a, 1980b) provided a clear rationale for implementing IFL in the formal curriculum and practical ideas on how to implement it as well.  They analyzed the role of the teacher in the process of implementing IFL, the inclusion of IFL in the course plan and the most effective methodologies to promote integration in student's lives.


Literature on IFL seems to have changed its focus during the last half of this century.  Most of the early works (i.e., Jaarsma, Gaebelein, ST. Olaf) were proactive in emphasizing the Christian perspective of education by promoting its inclusion in the curriculum.  The later literature exhibits a defensiveness against the threat of secularism and humanism in Christian schools, and were focused on defending the Christian philosophy.

For school administrators, policy makers, and researchers in educational change, the concern regarding teacher change and implementation of innovation, which began in the 70s, has reminded constant.

Toward a model of teacher integration of faith and learning

Literature on the importance of integrating faith and learning is abundant.  Gaebelein (1968), Blamires (1963, 1988), Holmes (1975, 1977), and Akers (1977) emphasize the necessity for Christian schools to present the subject matter from the perspective of faith.  Holmes (1975) and Heie and Wolfe (1987) present philosophical viewpoints on what it means to integrate faith and learning.  But there is not a comprehensive model that addresses the questions: "What does integration of faith and learning actually mean in operational terms?" and "How do teacher help students to integrate faith and learning?"  Describing the integration of faith and learning in terms of lofty platitudes offers little help with the task of implementation.  In clear and operational terms, what does integration of faith and learning look like in the classroom and school?  How is it done?

In spite of abundant literature supporting the integration of faith and learning on every level of education, no empirical research has been conducted on the many ways this integration is accomplished.

Without question, the most important manifestation of faith-learning integration is the daily life of the Christian teacher.  But in addition to the hidden curriculum, Christian schools and colleges are charged with the responsibility of purposely and consciously making faith connections throughout the formal or planned program of study.  To what extent is this latter responsibility carried out by Christian teachers?

In short, an operational model of the process of integration of faith and learning from the teacher's perspective can help the Christian educator better understand how the process is accomplished, and how it might be accomplished more effectively.

Theoretical Framework

As stated above, there is no model that represents teachers' deliberate process of integrating faith and learning.  Thus, I developed a preliminary framework from two models: (1) The Concern-Based Adoption Model (CBAM) of Hall and Loucks (1978) for educational change providing the educational framework; and (2) Holmes's model of integration of faith and learning providing the philosophical framework.

Educational framework

A growing body of literature in education relates to the process teachers go through in implementing educational ideas.  Gene Hall and others presented the concept of the Concern-Based Adoption Model and its application in school improvement.  Innovation Configuration represents the different ways individual users implement an innovation in their own setting.

Hord, Hall, and others (1987) present how schools might go about successful improvement.  They verified many assumptions about change, which were the basis of the model upon which the research was founded, the Concern-Based Adoption Model (CBAM).  They concluded that:

1. Change is a process, not an event.

2. Change is accomplished by individuals.

3. Change is a highly personal experience.

4. Change involves developmental growth.

5. Chang is best understood in operational terms.

6. The focus of facilitation should be on individuals, innovations, and the context.

Because the CBAM is a client-centered model, it can identify the special needs of individual users and enable the change facilitator to provide vital assistance through appropriate actions.  This approach helps to maximize the prospects for successful school improvement projects., while minimizing the innovation-related frustrations of individuals.

Philosophical Framework

Holmes (1975, 1977) provided some philosophical bases for identifying levels of integrating faith in educational practice.  In The Idea of a Christian College and ALL Truth is God's Truth, Holmes presents the ways that teachers in a Christina school generally approach integration.  Holmes's ideas (systematized by Akers, 1977) conceived four teaching models: (1) complete disjunction, (2) injunction, (3) conjunction, and (4) integration or fusion.

Complete disjunction occurs when the teacher keeps the worlds of faith and learning apart.  Therefore, students get a distorted view of reality.  If the teacher presents differences between the world of learning and the world of faith, or if there is any correspondence or dialogue between them, it is the injunction model.  But still these are two worlds apart.

The conjunction model occurs when the teacher uses natural points of contact between religion and the subject, but the fusion is only partial, incomplete.  The fusion is accomplished when the teacher offers one unified reality, and students get it in logical totality.

This set of models could be conceived as a continuum between two polarities: complete disjunction and complete fusion.  The following graphic illustrates the concept.

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complete disjunction                 complete fusion

Both poles of the continuum are hypothetical.  Complete disjunction is impossible because, according to Clouser (1991), each subject matter has an underlying religious belief.  Complete fusion is also hypothetical because of the impossibility of the human being to see the total wholeness of the truth, and the never-ending process of education (cf. White, 1903).

A description of both extremes of the integration of faith and learning process may clarify the concepts.

The absence of integration or complete disjunction is characterized by:

1. Loss of focus in truth.  Instead of focusing on the truth, the center of education is hedonistic and pragmatic (e.g., to choose a particular profession because of the economical advantages, regardless of one's vocational interests).  Another main concern of the educational enterprise is developing professional skills, a training per se.  It emphasized only vocational skills, personal development, and unstructured "learning experiences" at the expense of truth.  A dichotomy exists between the sacred and secular.  Under this model the teacher presents the subject matter divorced of faith.

2. Loss of universality of truth.  Truth is relative.  Truth changes from time to time, from place to place, and from culture to culture.  Truth is also subjective--everyone has his/her own truth.

3. Loss of unity of truth.  This loss limits the quest of truth to the empirical methods of the natural science.  The information is learned in a disjointed way: more and more of less and less.  Specialization is the goal of each professional.

The ideal or total integration motivates emphasizing truth as fully as possible, and is characterized by:

1.                   A focus on truth.  The worldview includes the biblical conception of nature, man, and history.  The subject is just another disclosure of God.  Teachers and students examine together the basic presuppositions of the textbook, class contributions, and prevalent ideologies, testing them by biblical principles to see whether they are Christian and can be accepted.

2.                   Truth is universal.  Truth includes all subjects and pervades all disciplines.  A Christian teacher cannot hide the truth, because the truth permeates all the thoughts and activities the teacher develops in and outside the classroom

3.                   Truth as unity.  All truth is God's truth.  There is no dichotomy between sacred and secular.  Christian teachers understand and present to students the wholeness of life.  The Bible is incorporated in the curriculum as a unifying vision.  The purpose of any educational activity is to learn to think Christianly about science, art, and human society.   Though God may have a fully comprehensive and unified view of reality, we finite human beings do not.  Even our hermeneutics and theological methodologies are subject to the distortion and limitations of human interpretation and construction.