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On Wealth and Poverty

In college, my deepest learning experience came from--unexpectedly--a theology course. After 16 years of theology courses, I was less than excited to take this required course. I comforted myself with the assumption that it would be an easy 'A' leaving me plenty of time to focus on other studies.

I couldn't have been more wrong.


Clearly well versed in both learning theories and senioritis, my professor pressed us to construct our own understanding of the material, forcing us out of our moral numbness. 


Before we knew it, a class of 40 checked out seniors were actively engaging in each discussion, sharing personal experiences and uprooting engrained preconceptions about ourselves and others. He constantly asked us to reason, reflect, and justify ourselves. He openly challenged us to question the Catholic texts and referenced contradicting theologians to open our minds.


Never before had I felt there was a safe space to explore my own ideas about morality or theology. Attending Catholic school my whole life, the "answers" were always handed to me to memorize, not proposed to me to challenge. 


My professor pushed us to make meaning of the texts and concepts. Social constructivism afforded us opportunities to interact and debate with students from different backgrounds. By the end of the semester, he had scaffolded our learning in such a way that we could reflect on the very first theologians we'd studied and compare them to the latest ones. 


Our knowledge was dynamic, ever evolving with new, contradicting evidence week after week so that we really had to explore ideas and think for ourselves.


We used inquiry methods to ask questions, investigate topics, and reference resources for solutions. Even more impressive, he adapted and situated learning into authentic, modern-day contexts so we could apply our learning to the world we lived in.

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