The six major planks of our Education by Extension methodology are:
(a) Leadership Education on Location. PTEE brings the leadership training to you, training students where they live, work, and minister. Students are learning and growing while engaged in ministry themselves. PTEE believes in training leaders as they are engaged in their lives, in their families, and in their churches, workplaces, and communities – in the real world!
(b) Stakeholder-Centered Curriculum. PTEE continually develops its educational curricula in response to the identified needs of local communities and churches. PTEE was established to serve the local churches and their leaders, thus, maintaining close relationships with our stake-holders ensures that existing courses and programs continue to respond to the expressed needs of local communities.
(c) Interactive, Self-Study Materials. With PTEE, the high quality, self-study educational textbooks and manuals are the teachers! On average, we invest three years in developing, field-testing, and revising materials for each course. Students actively engage with the materials – answering questions, summarizing, thinking, looking up biblical passages, reflecting and recording, extrapolating ideas, noting agreements and disagreements, considering how to apply what they are learning to their various life contexts, praying about it, and completing assignments that require further inductive research or practical application of the theory. PTEE students will spend about 8 hours per week engaged in this highly interactive, highly motivating and enjoyable learning process.
(d) Weekly Group Seminars. An essential component of PTEE extension education is the weekly group seminar. Course facilitators and students meet together weekly for 2 hours to discuss, reflect, and be tested on what they have learned, ask questions and as a group, answer them, clarify and resolve misunderstandings or lack of understanding, and receive instructions on assignments. A hallmark of PTEE is the camaraderie and mutual accountability that develops through these highly relational group seminars, encouraging and motivating students for the learning and practical activities of the coming week.
(e) Facilitators as Learning-Facilitators, not Teachers. The facilitator’s primary role is to be a guide in the learning process and to facilitate or enable student learning. The facilitator’s title in Arabic is murshid, meaning “a guide to the right way.” Facilitators are required to have a university degree (many have theological degrees) and complete three PTEE courses and our facilitator-training workshop, alongside other spiritual and ministry-related qualifications.
(f) Practical Ministry Experience. Select courses focus on the practical application of knowledge and theory in ministry through 1-credit Practical Ministry Experience opportunities in which students may opt to participate.
Putting it all together …
Together, these six planks result in an excellent and effective theological education that facilitates theological learning and ministry formation. PTEE’s approach is student-centered, the focus of which is on what students learn rather than on what a teacher teaches. The theology education by extension model is a contextually relevant model of education and of strategic importance to the future of the church in the Arab World.