Teaching is a vital part of learning, but it doesn’t mean learning has taken place!
Regents’ Principal Dave Newton looks back at his five years in the role and forward to the future
Since you became Principal five years ago, have you felt a major need to become innovative in many ways to lead the college to growth and success?
“I believe any leadership role demands innovation. The role of a Christian leader is first of all as a follower of Christ, but in doing that we are invited to imagine a preferred future that is in line with God’s plan, and help the organisation walk towards it.
“The leader’s task is to keep the organisation on track and carefully remove obstacles that get in the way. It is vital, however, to ensure that we don’t simply innovate for change’s sake, but seek to do so in a sustainable manner, which ultimately benefits the organisation and the kingdom of God.
“Talking about growth, I stand by the old adage that ‘healthy things grow’. Therefore, growth is a by-product of health. Of course, we want to see growth, because this means more people are being equipped and deployed to serve the King and his kingdom. It has been amazing in recent years to see our student numbers almost doubling as people have answered the call of God and have engaged with our accessible training.”
As more and more students opt for a ‘context-learning’ approach, how did Regents come up with this method to train more people?
“It is true that we have been encouraged by the increase in overall student numbers, many of whom have chosen our context-based mode, yet we still have around 70 students on site in our residential model.
“We took the conscious decision to ensure that teaching was still delivered face-to-face and so we try to avoid the term ‘distance learning’ but prefer the term ‘blended learning’. There is a popular misconception that learning takes place simply because teaching has occurred – however many of us would realise that whilst teaching is an essential component of learning, it doesn’t guarantee that learning has taken place.
“We wanted to create opportunities for people to learn through doing, putting into practice what they have been taught, developing skills to research, and ensuring theology is applied through quality reflective practice. After serious consideration, prayer and discussion we created a model that would allow students to study and engage in ministry at the same time.
“ Many in Elim and beyond were already in employment with no formal qualifications for the role they were in. This model allows individuals to work and study, improving ministry practice.”
What would you say to critics who may say that this ‘context-learning’ is somehow unreal compared to the traditional way of living a student life on campus?
“I think so much learning takes place outside of the classroom, rubbing shoulders with others and adapting to community life. However, community can be created in many ways, and changing society has meant we have to look for community in multiple ways.”
As we live in an era of continuously advancing technology, what do you predict for the future of Regents?
“Technology is already shaping learning; we have developed a regular rhythm of webinars, online seminars and workshops, helping students to stay connected and supporting learning. We also have an advanced virtual-learning environment which creates spaces for file sharing, assignment submission, discussion forums and so much more.
“As we move forward, we would anticipate the possibilities of creating some full distance-learning modules or even courses which could support missionaries and our wider Elim Global family.”
A STUDENT’S VIEW
Bekky Brown, a context based student in Applied Theology and Youth Ministry, says, “After two gap years with Youth for Christ I felt strongly that God wanted me to grow in my knowledge of what I was teaching young people.
“At Regents I can continue to do what I love, investing in the lives of young people, but also take time away to really study God’s Word and see how it applies to young people today. The teaching is so relevant for youth culture today, and really applicable to my placement with Youth for Christ.”
Jordan Lewis, a campus-based student in Applied Theology, says, “I am in the first year of the Applied Theology Track. It has been incredibly valuable; the combination of classroom theology, and practically applying what I’ve learned has been amazing. At the moment I’m really getting into understanding ‘culture’, and how we engage with it.”
Thinking of Christian ministry? Think Regents!
If you're thinking of studying for a degree in applied theology that engages you in your community and is relevant to so much that's needed in today's world, Regents could be just the place for you. It's a vibrant Pentecostal College, at the heart of the Elim movement, that trains leaders to transform lives.
Come and enjoy a day on the campus, seeing everything on offer, meeting tutors and students, and sensing if this is where God is calling you for the next stage of this incredible journey. There are several 'Just Looking' days throughout the year and there's still time to book in for the next one at regents-tc.ac.uk/open-day-registration
Register your interest now to come and have a look at everything that is on offer at Regents. It's relaxed, informative, and designed to help you 'hear' if studying with us is part of your next 'call' on this wonderful journey.
For more details on courses visit regents-tc.ac.uk
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