Good Surprise: Team Teaching

Category: By Christian
Last semester I took a class on New Testament and Hebrew Bible hermeneutics that was team-taught by two professors from the Seminary. Team teaching is great in theory, because it draws on the knowledge and experience of multiple individuals to give a more robust educational experience. In practice it is pretty tough to pull off though, mainly due to coordination issues and egos.

There are a lot of professors out there who act like they know just about everything. I have witnessed acts of arrogance and insider politics in higher education that have made me cringe. It can be tough to get professors to work together within a department or school, so it would be assumed that to get them to work together in a single class would exasperate these issues.

It is easy to imagine an Old Testament professor and New Testament professor tyring to pull students over to their own "side" and throw sarcastic barbs at the other profs discipline. It's kind of like on Sunday mornings when the Baptist minister tells a joke about the Methodists and even though it's a joke everyone knows it is told at least slightly out of animosity. In the end, nobody wins because of the infighting.

For the record, my professors pulled this off magnificently with grace and dignity. (Please note that this does not count as brown-nosing because the class is over, I have received my grade, and the way my degree shakes out I will not encounter these profs in a class again) What made the class was enjoyable was that they were actually learning from each other. When you do academic work in one part of the Bible it tends to dominate your time, and both profs were really good about sharing with the class how what the other prof was saying illuminated their view on their own specialty. It made for a great learning environment and was a good lesson in how leaders need to be teachable and humble.

Fair Dinkum

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