The principles and practice of Christian education in the churches of England and Scotland, 1900-1965
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This study deals with the principles and practice of Christian Education in the Churches of England and Scotland from the viewpoints of theological understanding, educational theory, and practical experimentation. Because of the immense changes in educational theory in the period, as a result of dynamics affecting the whole European situation, the study begins with a broad overview of the theoretical revolution affecting the whole movement within the Churches. The study quickly gave convincing evidence that, although some of the major developments emerged within individual denominational frameworks, the impact of developing theory and practice was felt ecumenically, from the very beginning of the period. The major records and publications of the separate denominations were examined, and, deliberately, a general survey was decided on, because of the commonality of the developments, although special consideration was given in the second chapter to the National Churches, because of their special significance in the religious life of the country. The study preceded to isolate and consider in depth the most significant developments of the period, firstly, in order of their appearance, in the principles of grading and the practice of organisation, in chapters three and four. It was then necessary to deal very specifically with the most radical development of the period, educationally, by considering the centrality given to the child, as a result of continuing child study, and the attempt to recognise the child's development as central in the educational ministry of the Church, through Christian education suitably devised and designed. Chapter five deals with this development. Alongside the fresh understanding of the child was the conflict over the role of the Bible. From the perspective of contemporary theological insight, the Bible was considered, its educational value examined by reference to the main contributors to the development of Christian education, with special attention being paid to the relationship of the Bible to curricular developments. This completed the examination of the central issues affecting Christian education in the Churches, in chapter six. The following chapter had to consider the effects of all this development on the approach to teaching, and a careful study was made of the major methodologies in vogue during the period. The persistent decline in the numbers involved in Church-based Christian education, which was evident from the beginning, was tackled seriously in the development of Family Church, a concept the study took very seriously, and evaluated carefully. Another dynamic became increasingly important in the attempt to understand the total picture, namely, the place, and often the non-place, of adult education. This was examined, and is evaluated in chapter nine. A final factor of great importance to the period was the matter of the selection, training and use of the Christian teacher, and chapter ten evaluates some of the basic attitudes and approaches to these issues. The conclusion summarises the main factors at work in the period, and the effect of the entire study is to make a fresh contribution to the understanding of Christian education as it was understood and practised in the Churches of England and Scotland.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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