Group Study Guide for

Teaching That Transforms

[Cover of Teaching That Transforms]

Why Anabaptist-Mennonite Education Matters

by John D. Roth

Study Guide written by Leonard Beechy, Goshen, Indiana.

This study guide is for those in communities where there are no Anabaptist-Mennonite educational institutions or those unfamiliar with Anabaptist-Mennonite education. The questions are intended to expand and deepen appreciation for Roth's book. These questions are also available for download as a Word document or in PDF format.

Also see Teaching That Transforms in the MennoMedia online catalog.

Introduction Chapter 4
Chapter 1 Chapter 5
Chapter 2 Chapter 6 / Conclusion
Chapter 3  

Chapter 3: Creating Communities of Learning: The Ethos and Practices of an Anabaptist-Mennonite Pedagogy

  1. The chapter begins with a story about a college student's remembered encounter with "Grandpa Troyer," and the way this encounter reflected the "ethos" of the school she attended.
    • Recall the most important single encounter—negative or positive—of your own school experience. Do you think this encounter was typical of the quality of relationships at this school, or an exception to the "ethos" there?
  2. Roth presents three characteristics that should be present in the "invisible curriculum," the "ethos" of an Anabaptist-Mennonite school: a culture of worship; attentiveness to tradition; and negotiating community: diversity, conflict, and reconciliation.
    • Consider the completeness of this list. Are there other elements that you believe are equally or more important than the three presented?
    • On first look, the third characteristic—negotiating community—would be one that any public school should aspire to. As Roth presents it, how might an Anabaptist-Mennonite school's approach and aims differ from those of even a motivated and well-intentioned public school?
  3. Working from the "incarnational" model established in chapter two, Roth presents five "dispositions" that should characterize the pedagogy in an Anabaptist-Mennonite school.
    • Any discussion of Christian pedagogy is subject to questioning about whether its assumptions and foundations are genuinely Christian, or whether they arise from other cultural or ideological streams. Each of the following would likely have application and relevance for a public school teacher. However, assess each point for whether or not you believe Roth has successfully grounded it in Christian theology—specifically, the incarnational theology he presented in chapter two:
      1. Curiosity: humility seeking understanding
      2. Reason: celebrate the gift of the mind
      3. Joy: education is not drudgery
      4. Patience: "if you knew it all you would not need to be here"
    • Now that you have explored what Roth means by "the invisible curriculum," consider the invisible curriculum of a school with which you are familiar.
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