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church related colleges, Dordt College, Christian education, teaching


Despite the high value that Christian colleges place on teaching, there is scant literature on teaching christianly in higher education. Pedagogy that promotes Christian beliefs resides in the K-12 literature. Using the work of Van Brummelen (1988) and Van Dyk (2000) originally developed for teaching christianly at the K-12 level, a conceptual framework was developed. This study investigated what it means to teach christianly at a small Christian college. A qualitative, phenomenological approach was used to explore teachers’ perceptions and beliefs about teaching christianly in higher education. A criterion sampling strategy was used in selecting 10 participants who had the following characteristics: experienced the phenomenon of teaching christianly, exhibited a commitment to teaching christianly, and considered to be outstanding Christian teachers by the college administration and the researcher. The semi-structured interviews were based on the following four foci: (a) who students are and why teachers teach christianly, (b) the aim of teaching christianly in higher education, (c) the impact of Dordt College’s mission on how its teachers teach, and (d) how teachers at Dordt College have learned to teach christianly. The process of horizonalization resulted in the emergence of four themes, which provided insight into how participants perceived, explained, and iv made meaning of teaching christianly. The four emergent themes were (a) students as image bearers of God, (b) the call to teach christianly, (c) teaching christianly, and (d) the mission mindedness of Dordt College. Participants determined that persons who teach christianly view their students as fellow image bearers of God and view themselves as having been called by God to teach christianly which includes educating students for serviceable insight, worldview clarification and/or transformation, and discipleship. The characteristics and teaching methodologies used by teachers who teach christianly may be quite similar to those held by most good teachers with the difference lying in motivation, aims, and outcomes. Teachers at Dordt College have learned in varying degrees how to teach christianly, but need assistance in learning more. The conceptual framework of Van Brummelen and Van Dyk has relevance for teachers who desire to teach christianly at a Christian college.


  • A dissertation submitted to the graduate faculty of the University of South Dakota in partial fulfillment for the degree of DOCTOR OF EDUCATION
  • Dr. Karen Card, Committee Chairperson
  • © 2005 Barbara Hoekstra

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.