Dordt College News

David Smith to discuss Bonhoeffer and intercultural learning at First Mondays Speaker Series

August 26, 2013

As director of the Kuyers Institute for Christian Teaching and Learning at Calvin College, Dr. David I. Smith has developed his passion for foreign language pedagogy and a Christian philosophy of education. On Monday, September 2, Smith will share his knowledge and interest in these topics at Dordt College as part of the college’s First Mondays Speaker Series.

At 11 a.m. in the B.J. Haan Auditorium, Smith will present “Learning about Learning from Bonhoeffer.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor and theologian who led an underground seminary for confessing church pastors during World War II. Smith says that Bonhoeffer’s “approach to his students’ education was unusual, focused as much on shared practices as on course content.” In his talk, Smith will draw upon student journals from a course on Bonhoeffer’s book Life Together to explore his innovative approach to learning.

Smith will also present “Learning from the Stranger” on Monday evening at 7:30 p.m. in the Ribbens Academic Complex room CL 1144/1148. “Many popular Christian publications on cross-cultural communication imply that cross-cultural skills are mainly needed by missionaries or those who serve in foreign contexts,” says Smith. “That message underestimates the relevance of understanding our own cultural identity and our effects on others as a part of basic Christian formation.” He will explore the role of “intercultural learning” from a theological and practical standpoint, especially considering how it relates to Christian learning.

The evening presentation is also sponsored by Dordt’s Hug-a-Linguist Days, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. A schedule of the week’s events will be available soon.

In addition to his work with the Kuyers Institute, Smith is an associate professor in the German and education departments at Calvin College. He studied at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom and the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto; he received a Ph.D. from the University of London. Smith is the author of The Gift of a Stranger: Hospitality and foreign language learning. Most recently, he and James K.A. Smith—who will be the October First Mondays speaker—co-authored Teaching and Christian Practices: Reshaping faith and learning.

The goal of the First Mondays Speaker Series is to bring opinion-leaders, writers, and thinkers to campus to challenge students, faculty, and staff to stretch their imaginations, grow in understanding, act boldly, and re-creatively serve God’s kingdom. The First Mondays Speaker Series is sponsored by the Andreas Center for Reformed Scholarship and Service.

These presentations are free and open to the public.

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