David I. Smith & Susan M. Felch
Reviewed by: Anne Shaw
Teaching and Christian Imagination, by David I. Smith and Susan M. Felch. Eerdmans, 2016. Paperback, 256 pages, list price $22.00. Reviewed by OPC member Anne Shaw.
Teaching and Christian Imagination grew out of years of conversation among a small set of colleagues at Calvin College. Eventually, authors Smith and Felch drew together the pith of this conversation into book form in order, they say, to encourage “engagement with biblical thought that might seep into the way we imagine” as well as “ongoing, meditative conversation” (p. 9), specifically in and about the classroom.
The book explores three carefully chosen metaphors: journeys and pilgrimages, gardens and wildernesses, buildings and walls. These metaphors were chosen because “each image can serve as a prism through which Christian theological sensibilities can refract into our conceptualizations, our classrooms, and our callings” (p. 7). Each metaphor has its own set of chapters that touch on the history of these metaphors in Western tradition and then explore how they might be imagined and reimagined in modern pedagogy.
Teaching and Christian Imagination is about having a vision for the classroom. It is not meant to be a how-to manual—one will not find ready-made lesson plans here—but rather a means of encouragement and refreshment for educators of any level (K–12, college, or seminary) and any discipline. It clearly fits into the humanities, but creative math and science teachers will quickly find ways in which these metaphors fit into their disciplines. I would highly recommend this book for faculty development seminars or on-going book studies and discussions. It is directed specifically at teachers in Christian schools and colleges, but would be useful for any Christian educator.
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