‘Rummaging, Stretching and Searching for Fragments’ – What can be assessed in Spiritual Formation?
April 23, 2021 2:30 PM - 3:00 PM On Demand Save the Date
The topic of assessment within spiritual formation (SF) raises certain challenging issues and questions. This paper employs a cluster of SF metaphors including ‘rummaging for God’ (Hamm, 1994), ‘stretching towards God’ as epektasis (Petcu, 2017; Smith et al, 2014) and searching for ‘fragments’ of God (Tracy, 2019). It employs these metaphors to argue that certain aspects of SF can be assessed formally and informally, while others are more elusive and require a different modus operandi (Sheldrake, 2001). The kataphatic and apophatic dimensions of spirituality provide particular challenges in this regard. This paper’s method is linked to the author’s original Quadrivial (‘Four Rivers’) metaapproach of spirituality (Mudge 2019, 2020, 2021) which focuses on the traditions (Abrahamic), narratives, disciplines and virtues of Christian SF. Assessment examples and quandaries are also linked with the application of this Quadrivial model (Colledge & McGinn, 1981; McGinn et al, 1986).
…investigating the question: ‘Can we break new ground by employing forms of assessment and particular strategies that do not require a grade or mark, but communicate their feedback as a ‘satisfactory’ or ‘pass’ level related to skills, attitudes and virtues?’
Finally, the paper expands upon current research by interrogating traditional approaches to teaching and assessing SF and asking: ‘Can we break new ground by employing innovative forms of assessment and particular strategies that do not require a grade or mark, but communicate their feedback as a ‘satisfactory’ or ‘pass’ level related to skills, attitudes and virtues?’ (TEQSA, 2020; NESA, 2020). This interrogation also argues for the usefulness of applying the ‘divine pedagogy’ and ‘threshold concept’ frameworks to SF assessment (White, 2014; Chittister, 1990; Meyer & Land, 2010; Mayes, 2013)
- Chittister, J. D. (1990). Wisdom distilled from the daily: Living the Rule of St. Benedict today. New York: HarperOne.
- Colledge, E. & McGinn, B. (Transl. & Intro.). (1981). Meister Eckhart: The essential sermons, commentaries, treatises and defense. New York: Paulist Press.
- Hamm, D. (1994). Rummaging for God: Praying Backwards through Your Day. Retrieved on 5/4/20 from: https://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/theexamen/rummaging-for-god-praying-backward-through-your-day/
- Mayes, A. (2013). Beyond the Edge: Spiritual Transitions for Adventurous Souls. London: SPCK.
- Meyer, J. H. F., Land, R. & Baillie, C. (eds.). (2010). Threshold Concepts and Transformational Learning. Rotterdam, NL; Sense Publishing.
- McGinn, B. (Ed.) with Tobin, F. & Borgstadt, E. (1986). Meister Eckhart: Teacher and preacher. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press.
- Mudge, P. (2019-2020). Living Spirituality – Series 1 (released Sept 2019); Living Spirituality – Series 2 (due July 2020). Baulkham Hills, NSW: DBN Publishing/ Snap Printing (Books: Series 1, 160pp; Series 2, 190pp).
- NESA. (2020). Years 7-10 Assessment Strategies (NSW Education Standards Authority). Retrieved on 13/4/20 from: https://educationstandards.nsw.edu.au/wps/portal/nesa/k-10/understanding-thecurriculum/assessment/7-10-assessment-strategies
- Petcu, L. (2017). The doctrine of Epektasis. One of the major contributions of Saint Gregory of Nyssa to the history of thinking. Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia, 73(2), 771-782.
- Sheldrake, P. (2001). Teaching Spirituality. British Journal of Theological Education, 12(1), 53-64.
- Smith, K. H., Lalitha, J. & Hark, L. D. (2014). Evangelical Postcolonial Conversations: Global Awakenings in Theology and Praxis. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press.
- TEQSA. (2010). Glossary of terms – ‘Assessment’. (Tertiary Education Quality & Standards Agency). Retrieved on 13/4/20 from: https://www.teqsa.gov.au/glossary-terms
- Tracy, D. (2019). Fragments: The Existential Situation of our Time: Selected Essays, Volume 1. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
- White, J. D. (2014). The Way God teaches: Catechesis and the Divine pedagogy. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor.
Domain 3: Learning & Teaching
- Curriculum Design and Pedagogical Analysis of the Bible Units in the Bachelor of Theology / Bachelor of Ministry Award at ACOM
- Educating for Virtue
- Creative Assessment in Theological Education
- Relearning Research in the Information Age: A Strategy for Setting Students up for Success in Online Learning
- ‘On the Way’ Assessment Strategies for Online Transformative Learning
- Can “Performative Assessment” Corrupt Transformative Learning, especially for Spiritual Formation?
- Assessing the Quality of Online Learning in Theological Education
- Engaging all Learners to Engage with God: Universal Design for Learning and Theological Education