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God and Study Skills: Learning as Formation


Ash Cocksworth, Queen's

Initial Description

God and Study Skills: Learning as Formation aims to get to the pedagogical heart of the Common Awards by inviting a fresh look at ‘study skills’ as they are understood, taught and reflected upon in the context of ministerial formation. Within the HE sector there are all sorts of resources de- signed to provide students with the skills required for formal academic study. While these resources are helpful, in our own practice we have found that they do not fully translate into the particular context of ministerial formation and the kind of theology of learning that lies at the heart of the Common Awards. In fact, they can often assume ideologies of education that we would want to resist. And while there is likely to be a great deal of ‘informal’ theological reflection and good practice taking place within individual TEIs, there is, as far as we can tell, little in terms of gathered thinking and published work that explores the theme of study skills specifically as theological formation. We aim to fill this gap. We seek to gather wisdom from around the Common Awards partnership to think deeply about why study skills really, that is, theologically matter. One of the overarching questions we have in mind is: how can a deepening in the basic skills required for academic study lead to a deepening in relationship with God?
We believe the proposed project has the potential to shape the Common Awards – that is, we hope the results of the research will lead to pedagogical, policy and curriculum recommenda- tions. There is potential for impact in terms of changes to the current practices of TEIs in their delivery of study skills courses. We also seek to contribute to the overarching theological vision that shapes the Common Awards activity by deepening the connection between academic study and ministerial formation. Throughout the project, we will invite wide collaboration from across the Common Awards partnership alongside colleagues in university departments involved in the delivery of ministerial training, such as Roehampton University. The key question motivating the study – what is distinctive about academic learning as it takes place in the context of ministerial theology – is scalable in all sorts of directions.