Sound Pedagogy and Genre Bending Assignments

Sound Pedagogy and Genre Bending Assignments January 7, 2019

There have been a number of interesting blog posts and articles about pedagogy and biblical studies, with a number of very creative assignments and activities having been shared. Many of these have appeared over the past year or so through the website Ancient Jew Review, but a few are from elsewhere. Since the new semester is about to begin, it is about time I shared them!

I think the one that first grabbed my attention and made me think I should blog about this topic was titled “Sound Pedagogy.” It wasn’t focused on “getting pedagogy right” in relation to some “orthodoxy,” but in a punny manner talked about incorporating song into the classroom, focusing on the specific example of Psalm 137 and “Rivers of Babylon” (as performed by Boney M and others).

Then there was Shayna Sheinfeld’s article about “Genre-Bending Writing Assignments.” In it, she argues that “There are numerous reasons why we should ditch the thesis-driven paper in at least some instances” and then provides some really great examples of the kinds of alternative assignments she has in mind.

Other AJR pieces relevant to pedagogy include those on: using creative writing to teach Hebrew Bible, harnessing creativity in the biblical studies classroom, performing apocalyptic texts, and website construction as introduction to academic research. Elsewhere, there was also an article about using virtual reality to allow people today (students as well as others) a glimpse of ancient Rome. A. David Lewis wrote about the first Muslim superhero in comics, and then helped revive Kismet for the present day. See his blog post about that, as well as his others on comic dissertations and comic Bibles. There was also coverage of this in a variety of places, including the Popular Culture and Theology blog as well as RNS:

Muslim superhero returns after 70 years – just in time to take down a few Nazis

Stephen Garner has started a series on religion and comics. You can read part 1 here and part 2 here. ASOR had an article about comics and archaeology. The Biblical Review also had a post on “Ancient Religion, Creative Writing, and Comic Books.” Here at Patheos, Keith Giles shared his thoughts on a comic reinvention of Jesus:

The Savage Sword of Jesus?

The Chronicle had an article about a science professor who wrote a children’s story.

Also about transgressing boundaries and making learning fun, in a variety of ways:

Gamification and the Blended Classroom

Marvel’s Uncanny X-Men Wipes Out Centres of Catholicism, Islam and Hinduism

From Agent Models to Archaeogaming: A Digital Archaeology

What do Stan Lee, the Nobel Prize, and epistemology have to do with each other?

New Book Day: The Beast

Probing the Pedagogy of Secondary Source Selection, or Choose Your Own Adventure (in the Gospel of John)

Five reasons a Wikipedia assignment is better than a term paper

Digital Storytelling

New Video Game Featuring Jesus, Hitler, Putin, And Trump Awards Points For Killing “Radical” LGBT People

“Jesus Strikes Back” Video Game Gives You Points for Killing Gay People

Finally, also related to the intersection of biblical studies and pedagogy, see “The Bible and the Pedagogy of the Oppressed.” Here is an excerpt:

While Freire’s work is seems to be aimed at a more general audience, one that is not necessarily Christian, it adapts the biblical tradition in provocative and stimulating ways. Freire should be commended by theology especially for translating a biblical vision of human flourishing into a Marxist context. Nor should this be too readily dismissed by theologians but carefully considered for the aspects of the biblical tradition that are all too easily overlooked in an introspective churchly context.

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  • I must admit that I first read that as “Gender Bending” assignments and was really curious about what you thought was in that category 🙂

    I had a high-school history teacher that gave assignments such as – writing a letter from a high rank general back to his wife just before D-day. you had to balance the desire to tell what was happening with the realization that the Germans may intercept the letter.