Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Better Together: The Role of the Learning Community in Theological Education

David Rhymer.

The importance of student-centred group learning/teaching is well understood in humanities education: students (especially adult learners) learn better together. Collaborative working plays a key part in active learning across a wide range of disciplines. But there are certain distinctive features of theological education that add particular significance to the role of the learning community. Indeed, it could be argued that theological education cannot properly be undertaken as a solitary pursuit – which has particular implications for current developments in on-line learning. And, more generally, it needs to be recognised that the ‘human’ in ‘humanities’ implies a context of relatedness that individualised learning programmes can too easily overlook. There is a need for a clearly articulated theology, as well as pedagogy, of theological education that recognises the centrality of the learning community in interpretative, ethical and relational contexts. The parallels with ‘congregations’ are very useful in developing this theology, which has strong ‘incarnational’ overtones. Drawing on several years of reflective practice in working with adult learners in this setting this workshop explores some key aspects of the role of community in theological education.


David Rhymer  (United Kingdom)
Lecturer in Education (Theology)
Department of Lifelong Learning School of Education and Lifelong Learning
University of Exeter

David Rhymer has done a number of things over the last thirty years – including teaching (science and mathematics), publishing (theology) and full-time church ministry (Baptist and Methodist). He is currently involved in adult theological education and research, with special interests in the role of learning communities and in exploring how ‘ordinary readers’ can be encouraged to interpret the Bible for themselves, without relying on preachers to do it for them…

  • Community
  • Learning
  • Humanities Education
  • Theology

(60 min. Workshop, English)