Friday, July 07, 2006

Shared Praxis as a form of Learning

Groome, Thomas H., 1980, Christian Religious Education: Sharing Our Story and Vision. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

The Shared Praxis is Groome’s contribution to Christian education pedagogy. In this very comprehensive book, Groome examined the nature, purpose and context of Christian religious education. He defined “Christian religious education is a political activity with pilgrims in time that deliberately and intentionally attends with them to the activity of God in our present, to the Story of the Christian faith community, and to the Vision of God’s Kingdom, the seeds of which are already among us.”(p.25) [italics author’s]. The key to the understanding of Shared Praxis is the understanding of time. Instead of linear time or kronos, Groome suggested that kairos time, especially the present time being most important. In the present time, which he described as “present of things present, the present of things past, and the present of things future” is where true learning take place.

He suggested that the Shared Praxis approach is the most reasonable way to do Christian religious education.There are five components or movements in shared praxis. They are (1) present action, (2) critical reflection, (3) dialogue, (4) the Christian Story, and (5) the Vision that arises from that Story. It is in the present time that action takes place. Action is a reflection of our self. Hence critical reflection of such action in terms of past Christian tradition, present situation and the future of what is hoped for in the Kingdom. This is to be done within the context of the Christian Story. The hope is the Vision of the educational outcome. Groome summarised with “Christian religious education by shared praxis can be described as a group of Christians sharing in dialogue their critical reflection on present action in light of the Christian Story and its Vision toward the end of lived Christian faith.”(p.184) [italics author’s].It is an innovative approach to Christian religious education and a viable alternative to the more traditional schooling approach.



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