Training to Failure, Training to Success: The Hidden Curriculum of Seminary Education

Perry W.H. SHAW


The thesis of this article is that theological education is only effective when the so-called “hidden curriculum” is consciously recognized and not simply glossed over. The hidden curriculum (the way we teach) penetrates the entire educational process and therefore exerts a stronger influence on students than the disclosed curriculum (what we teach). Moreover, the hidden curriculum has a negative influence not only on the educational process, but also on the spiritual growth and later practical ministry of students. Examining the present traditional system of theological education, the author employs a number of examples. He gives practical recommendations for resolving the situation: the spiritual mentoring of students, the integration of theoretical teaching with practical service, unifying program elements into a single whole, and rejecting grades as an approach to teaching.


Hidden curriculum of seminary education; theological studies; educational process

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ISSN 2521-179X (Online), ISSN 2415-783X (Print)