English for Theological Education - Textbook

 

When I was invited to teach English for Theology at a Bible college in South Sudan, I found that the students have a lot going for them. They are very keen to learn after many years of war, and they have a good library with over 2,000 Biblical tools, and theology books, all in English. However, I soon realised that: 

 

  • Most could not read the books in the library, or find a book, or use an index  

  • They had no textbooks to use, and 

  • Often volunteer instructors did not turn up for class. 

 

Without accessible materials and textbooks for self-study, capable students were losing hope and looking to leave college. Ideally, students would be able to use theological resources in their own languages, and this is gradually happening.

Until that day: 

An English for theology program will allow these students to make the most of their time and available resources. 

As I began to research, I found the need is not only in South Sudan. Worldwide, 5000 Protestant theological colleges exist, and many use English as the language of instruction. In Australia, almost 1 in 5 Bible college students does not speak English at home.  In real terms, the need is huge. 

For the next 5 years, supported by an extensive research project, I'll develop English for Theology tools both for individual use and for institutions. Students studying theology around the world and their colleges will benefit from a suite of tools, including: a textbook, teachers’ guide, online course, credit-bearing college course, and diagnostic language test, all based on a genre approach to the Bible and academic writing.

 

In the future, I hope to train teachers in using English for theology, wherever the need is greatest.