Published! Paper by John Sarrouf and Jill DeTemple

July 25, 2017

In an ideal college classroom, disagreements are expected, even encouraged. Ideas are challenged, students grasp to their positions, and professors foster exploration. When it comes to religion, the challenges of having equitable voices can be pronounced. In order to facilitate dialogue about a contentious issue such as religion especially in these trying times, a structured scenario can be very effective. Engaging students more deeply and genuinely in the subject of faith lies in the flexibility in helping students and teachers handle those issues.

John Sarrouf and Jill DeTemple co-authored Reflective Structured Dialogue in Religious Studies Classrooms, in which they explore disruption - what happens when external realities break into teaching spaces. Folding in perceptions, assumptions, changing old patterns, and intentions, the authors illustrate how the teaching space can handle genuine moments of discovery by all those willing to boldly explore the ‘other’, and enhance mutual understanding of people who differ deeply about treasured values.

Sarrouf and DeTemple, both well-immersed in the study of dialogue, articulate with examples and explanations of employing dialogue as a tool that allows disruption for the sake of productive conversations, particularly in the classroom. The authors go on to unpack the concept of wobble - a necessary disruptive state that allows for inevitable adjustments before correcting course, as a state of uncertainty that results in self-reflection and self-awareness.

Heated debates about faith, identity and beliefs on college campuses are mapped throughout the country. There is a hunger for simple tools to help foster disruptive but healthy engagement and learning. This paper is a perfect compendium to any course or workshop on theology, religion, dialogue and diversity.

John Sarrouf - Essential Partners
John is a facilitator and trainer for Essential Partners, a nonprofit that specializes in mediating public conversations when core values and worldviews may conflict. He is a facilitator trained in specific dialogue methodologies, and is also an adjunct faculty member in the Peace and Conflict Studies Program at Gordon College, a Christian liberal arts college in Massachusetts.

Jill DeTemple - Southern Methodist University
Jill is an associate professor of religious studies at Southern Methodist University (SMU), a non‐sectarian, mid‐sized institution with an increasingly diverse student body in Dallas, Texas. She has a background in religious studies classrooms and pedagogical literature focused on reflective learning.

A link to the article here: