Strategies for Recruiting, Training, and Retaining North American Christian Workers Among Turkish Muslims in Germany
by douglas batson
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A dissertation submitted to Columbia Evangelical Seminary (www.ces.edu) in 1995 strategizes how 18-23 year olds might forego/postpone campus education and leverage learning on the mission field to earn an accredited B.A. degree in the same 4-5 years and for same costs. Excerpts from Chapters 2 and 9 follow:
CHAPTER ONE Review of Literature
CHAPTER TWO The Situation of Turkish Immigrants in Germany
CHAPTER THREE The Dominance of Islamic Religious Groups
CHAPTER FOUR Christian Outreach to Muslims in Germany
CHAPTER FIVE Adjustment Problems of North American Workers
Among Turks in Germany
CHAPTER SIX The Questionnaire: Responses, Analysis, and
CHAPTER SEVEN Implications of the Survey Data
CHAPTER EIGHT Specialized Training Opportunities Available
for North American Workers Among Turks in
CHAPTER NINE Non-traditional Education for College Students
CHAPTER TEN Non-traditional Education for High School
CHAPTER TWO: The Situation of Turkish Immigrants in Germany
The Prussian Emperor, Frederick the Great, is well known in European history for his religious tolerance. What is less known is that Frederick also provided a cleric and small mosque for the 20 Turkish soldiers he nicknamed his "Tall Guys." In 1731 the first mosque was erected on German soil in Potsdam. Another mosque was built for Muslim prisoners of war captured in Russia during World War I. After the war, this mosque near Berlin was visited by the city's Muslim students and diplomats.
The first Muslims to construct their own mosque also did so in Berlin in the 1920s. This group published considerable amounts of literature directed at introducing Christian readers in Germany to Islam. The mosque was heavily damaged in World War II (Abdullah, 1981, p. 4).
Postwar Europe witnessed the active missionary efforts of the Ahmadiyya movement. This Pakistani sect, although cast out of official Islam in 1974, is responsible for converting hundreds of German nationals to Islam, many of whom today are key players in interpreting Islam to the greater German populace (Troeger, 1985).
When one considers that 800,000 forced laborers were liberated from a shattered Nazi German economy in 1945, and that West Germany absorbed millions of Germans fleeing from Communism in the East, the magnitude of the economic miracle becomes apparent when Germany had to initiate labor recruitment from Southern European countries as early as 1955! The erection of the Berlin wall, having suddenly precluded workers commuting from the GDR to that city, necessitated the recruitment agreement with Turkey in that same year of 1961. By 1965 there were 100,000 Turks working in Germany, mostly single males living in company dorms. That same year saw the passing of the Foreigners Law which enacted a policy of rotation, meaning the workers should return home after two or three years. The high worker turnover did not prove conducive to business, so many stayed on past their rotation dates. The 1973 oil crisis and the worldwide economic plunge led to a ban on recruitment, but families were allowed to join the workers the following year (Aksoyek, 1991, p. 60-64).
By the end of 1975 there were well over one million Turks in Germany, which gave rise to a myriad of unforeseen social problems. Despite the recruitment ban, the ranks of Turks swelled even more with high birth rates and political asylum seekers fleeing military coups in Turkey in 1971 and 1980. It was apparent to politicians that a new law was needed to deal with the fact that the 6 million plus foreigners (1.8 million legal Turks) were in Germany to stay.
A new law was passed in 1990 but did not grant foreigners from non-EEC countries a right to settle as anticipated. They remain an economic factor without a political voice. Now a second (and even third!) generation is caught between two worlds in a "structured marginality" (Turkish Workers in Europe: An Interdisciplinary Study, 1985, p. 12). See map, Figure 1, on page 17, which graphically depicts the impact of Muslim migration to Western Europe.
To study the social forces at work among Turkish Muslims in Germany, the two state churches of Germany are useful sources, serving as social organs directed to care for certain spheres of guest workers' lives. The Evangelical Church in Germany (Lutheran), in cooperation with the Otto Lembeck Publishing House, circulates high quality material on Muslim-Christian relations, with special attention to the plight of immigrants. Similarly, the Catholic church has materials under the CIBEDO banner. Issues addressed include Muslim children in church-run kindergartens, interfaith marriage counseling, and women's studies. The Islam archive in Germany, located in Soest, produces frequent facts on current issues from a Muslim perspective. A wealth of books on sociological, religious, and political issues are housed at university libraries. A number of outstanding texts exist to introduce a curious Christian to the world of Islam.
Yet a Muslim would be the first to admit that Islam is not truly Islam unless it is practiced in a state governed by Islamic law, or in a culturally Islamic state such as Turkey. The situation of Islam in the diaspora, for example, the 2 million Muslims in Germany, is problematic not only for Christians, but even more so for the Muslims themselves. The latter are desperately asking their imams and hocas, "How should we then live?"
Some 78% of Turks in Europe reside in Germany. Again, fully one-third of them are not ethnic Turks, but are Kurds, Armenians, or Assyrians. A good place to begin the study of their situation in Germany is the University of Indiana Turkish Studies Department, Turkish Workers in Europe: An Interdisciplinary Study (1985). It accurately explains the very complex socio political economic problems of these anything-but-homogeneous Muslim peoples.
Compared with rural Anatolia, prospects to better one's self in Germany seem attractive. But the arrival of thousands of Turks in the 1970s served only to push upward the lower strata of the indigenous German population. Turks do the work that Germans, after a generation of distance from it, will no longer do. The different language, education, and social values (especially rural versus urban), are greater cultural barriers than religion.
Curiously, the rebuffing the Turks receive in Germany is a reason why so many cling to traditional values. As a result, they are in many ways more Turkish in Germany than they were in Turkey! Their unresolved legal status, the children in danger of becoming bilingual illiterates, and the limited career opportunities for Turkish youth resulting in high unemployment, are some of the current issues in a failing attempt at integration.
Aksoyek (1991, p. 62) also describes a labor market duality based on nationality. The detail of immigration trends to Germany is very informative: the 60% of Turks in Germany employed 20 years ago versus the 36% now, for example. This is due largely to the influx of family members with the resulting problems of the second generation. Aksoyek has nothing but praise for the vocational diversification of the Turks in Germany. They are no longer only street sweepers and charwomen, but successful entrepreneurs and restaurateurs. Aksoyek traces the origins of the so-called "foreigners law" back to the days of the Third Reich, with the premise that not much has changed in Germans' attitudes toward foreigners since the days of Naziism. The dilemma of having no legal status but plenty of legal restrictions is no doubt awkward and frustrating. He lauds the Turkish immigrant organizations for accurately articulating the interests of the immigrants, but fails to mention how most are now dominated by Islamic fundamentalists who, with a not-so-hidden agenda, will set back attempts to build a new multicultural European order.
John Ardagh in Germany and the Germans: An Anatomy of Society Today (1987), while erring with the chapter "Mirage of Reunification" just three years before it occurred, does accurately describe the shadow cast over the New Europeanism by 4 million guest workers in Germany. In a chapter entitled "Turks and Other Guests: A Painful Path Toward Acceptance," Ardagh points out how the Turks, whose culture, lifestyle, and religion are so different from the norms in what until recently was a homogenous state, have become something of an embarrassment. Few have integrated into German society or have felt encouraged to do so.
Having read extensively about the plight of the Turkish immigrants, and witnessed the omnipresent aerosolled slogans Tuerken Raus "Turks Out" reminiscent of Juden Raus "Jews Out" 50 years earlier, Ardagh feared the worst at the outset of his investigation. However, after much research in the major cities, and talks with the various groups, he concluded that, although problems exist, they tend to be exaggerated. Ample evidence of personal friendships and goodwill between Germans and Turks exists. Compared with his native Great Britain, there is much less open conflict with Muslim foreigners. This description is consistent with the author's observations. During the 1980s many more Pakistanis in England were the victims of xenophobic violence than Turks in Germany in the early 1990s. Furthermore, after a wave of asylum seeker bashing shocked the country in 1992, the author observed a number of billboards immediately appearing across Germany proclaiming "Stop the Violence!" Most Germans are ashamed of these attacks and the mounting xenophobia.
Ardagh sought to find out what it is that Germans detest about Turks and vice versa. He discovered a German disdain for the alien Muslim religion, the seclusion of their womenfolk, the scores of children, the dirt and noise, their garlicky breath and body odors, and some bizarre household practices such as slaughtering animals in fifth floor apartments. Conversely, the Turks see little value in the decadent German society with its drugs, promiscuity, broken homes, dangerous freedoms for young girls, and grannies left alone in old age homes.
Turks tend to congregate in some of the seedier parts of inner cities, which are called ghettos, but the term is hardly accurate because the population remains mixed. A number of inner cities are populated by elderly Germans and foreign immigrants; the Turks do well at recreating their home ambience. Turkish books, video cassettes, foodstuffs, spices, and coffee are available even in small cities. Oriental music strains out from cafe doorways in the dark, slummy streets. The Turks cling to Islam and their traditions, often converting upper shop floors into mosques and Quran schools for the young (Ardagh, 1987, p. 137).
Only in Berlin is the situation different. An educated Turkish elite, with writers, lawyers, artists, and a substantial number of university students, plays some part in the city's intellectual life. Ardagh insightfully mentions the powerful sway Islamic fundamentalist groups have over a bewildered peasant population in a strange land. His discussions on the problems caused by the liberal German asylum laws are very thorough and informative.
A Scandinavian pastor, who wishes anonymity, has penned two significant papers on Muslim Turks in Germany. One is in German (but with a nice English summary) entitled Die Islamische Herausfoerderung in Europa "The Islamic Challenge in Europe." The other is an untitled situation paper in English (both 1991), with a very thorough assessment of the history of the migration, current government statistics, Islamic immigrants and German society, missions and other activities of the state churches and independents, and developments influenced by German reunification. His paper's descriptions, in English, of the various Muslim groups in Germany, together with their goals and agendas, make it a significant work. Included are ethnic German Muslims, the "official" (backed by the Turkish government) Islamic association, and the mystical, fundamentalist, and right wing groups. The extremist organizations, while illegal in Turkey, exert a powerful influence on the Turkish immigrants in Germany.
Immigrant Conflict in Germany
After the 1973 ban on further recruitment, the guest workers already in Germany were then able to send for their families. At once, a highly conspicuous foreign population appeared outside the confines of workplaces and dormitories. That Muslim families strolled through German pedestrian shopping districts during the first economic downturn in a generation could not go unnoticed.
Germans are perfectionists and in need of order; once things become a little chaotic, once full success is out of reach, hypochondria is likely to set in. In short, their mood is likely to affect their judgment. This is not to say that all will be plain sailing in Germany in the years to come. There are serious economic and social crises ahead. There is the old German inclination to exaggerate in time of war as in time of peace and to act irrationally; once heroism was in fashion, now it is ANGST (Laqueur, 1985, p. 3)
Laqueur's somewhat over-drawn dramatic report on the German mood nevertheless provides a good starting point to explore the immigrant conflict. A more sobering account of Germany's struggle to recognize the fact that the immigrants are here to stay is Scott Sullivan's Newsweek article, "Time to Tell the Truth" (April 27, 1992). Sullivan asks: Why now?
After 45 years of unprecedented economic progress, why, after democracy's spectacular triumph over totalitarian communism, have the demons of racism and authoritarianism popped out of the European psyche? According to conventional wisdom, wealth, individual freedoms, and political stability should have vaccinated Europe against xenophobia and paranoic nationalism. But they have not. Thus the issue is not immigration but race. The new neighbors with their many children and native customs, are seen by Europeans as just one more complication in a world already plagued with drugs and long haired children, traffic jams and AIDS. Foreigners fill jobs that most Germans would refuse, and they contribute far more to social security schemes than they receive in benefits. But they still come across as "foreign" bodies in an already cold and confusing modern environment (Sullivan, 1992, p. 12).
The prospect of mass immigration to Europe runs counter to historical patterns. "Europeans are used to sending emigres out into the world, not accepting immigrants from elsewhere," says Willihard Pahr, Austria's Commissioner for Refugees and Migration. "For European governments to undo centuries of practice and accept that there is immigration into Europe, and that it will continue whether they like it or not, requires political courage" (Sullivan, 1992, p. 12).
Except for Germany, which has absorbed hundreds of thousands of ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe, the predicted tidal wave of refugees has not materialized yet. But at a time of economic stress and high unemployment, any new arrivals even ethnic Germans who want to settle in Germany will be resented.
The Germans have been gripped by fear, said the German weekly Der Spiegel. Fear of strangers, fear for their jobs, fear of inflation and recession, fear also of the unavoidable impression that the island of prosperity on which they live can no longer be preserved. This year (1992) Germany expects 400,000 would-be immigrants to apply for residence under a law that grants asylum to the victims of oppression (Quoted in Sullivan, 1992, p. 12).
As in the United States, many citizens complain that the refugees are fleeing economic hardship, not tyranny, and should be kicked out. Eventually, 95% of the applicants will be rejected, but it could take up to eight years to process asylum claims in Germany, compared with eight months in neighboring countries. Unable to secure a work permit during these years, idleness induces many asylum seekers to turn to crime. Because of widespread abuse and the resulting backlash, Germany amended its liberal asylum policy in July of 1993 by bringing it into line with those of other European states. Still, many people believe the fraudulent refugees benefit from favoritism, as the following citations from Sullivan (1992, p. 13) illustrate.
"People who claim to be politically persecuted get an apartment right away," insists Werner Rutschman, who lives in a Stuttgart suburb where 30 percent of the electorate voted for the (rightist) Republican Party in March 1992. "Our children will need apartments. Are they supposed to emigrate to the United States to find one?" Most far right voters are not fascists or even right wingers, necessarily. "They are unhappy people, victims of cultivated fear," says Simon Wiesenthal, the renowned Nazi hunter. Sullivan concludes, "What Europe's leaders need to do is to tell the truth that Europe has become a permanent immigration zone," and he challenged European governments to achieve social justice for all as a countermeasure to right wing political gains.
Present day insecurities have tended to increase the feelings of rejection and inadequacy of the average German. This situation makes it seem more likely that a more intensive nationalism and a greater hostility toward non Germans will develop in the future. As long as deprivations exist and Germans look upon their country as underprivileged, nothing can be done to remove their feelings of self pity and their defensive aggressiveness (Rodnick, 1948, p. 222). The recent violent attacks on foreigners in Germany would have come as little surprise to Rodnick.
The Federal Republic of Germany's policy on foreigners is uniquely portrayed by Ataman Aksoeyek, a Turk, and the European Community Secretary General of the Migrant Forum.
Although there is a clear tendency for Turkish immigrants to settle in Germany, this fact continues to be ignored by the Federal Republic's current policy. There is still no question of introducing a policy on foreigners: the latter is still primarily dictated by the labor market. In spite of protests by organizations representing immigrants, churches, and trade unions, another restrictive law on foreigners was adopted in 1990. In this connection it is frightening to realize that the policy regulation on foreigners issued in March 1938 was retained by the newly founded Federal Republic in 1951. The general tenor of the law has never changed. Now, as then, the main interest is in economic matters, not in the human beings affected by the law. Like all other immigrants from non EEC countries, Turkish immigrants belong to the group with the fewest rights and the greatest uncertainty as regards to residential status, even if they have lived in Germany for decades (1991, p. 62).
The true victims of the policy that makes Germany, at least officially, a non immigrant country, are the second generation Turks. Integration into the German mainstream is not exactly encouraged, and the fundamentalist factions in Turkish communities openly discourage it. The result is a new breed of Displaced Persons, who have no country to call home.
One of the very few anthropological studies on Turkish reimmigration to Anatolia, one that focused on cultural conflicts in the home country and not economics, was conducted by a team from the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt in 1985 86. The purpose of the report, entitled "Reimmigration Problems of Migrant Workers Returning to their Countries of Origin," was to educate German society, that was so eager to have its "Foreigner Problem" solved by sending the guest workers back home, to the reality that the acculturation of the reemigres face in their native country is just as difficult, if not more so, as acculturation was for them in the Federal Republic. Research topics included:
.Reintegration problems in work and economic life.
.Effects of the time abroad on family structures, especially the role of women and parent child relationships.
.Identity problems such as self image, identifying with Turkish or Western culture, subjective reactions of neighbors and the Turkish government.
.Education and career problems of the second generation.
An example of the findings showed that, of 528 reemigres interviewed, 61% answered that their reintegration problems can be overcome, while 26% replied that they are principally unsolvable. Despite the best attempts at reintegration, it seems that the reemigres are constantly confronted with the fact that, due to their time abroad, they will always be different from the others (Matter, 1987, p. 221). Insights from Boissevain conclude this chapter.
Europe, too, has its neglected, oppressed and exploited minority groups, its "primitives." Studies of the way these smaller, marginal groups are caught up in wider social processes can thus provide a valuable perspective on internal developments in the societies draining the poorer countries. In this way, the interest groups and processes which give rise to decisions that affect these poorer nations can be better understood (1975, p. 12).
CHAPTER NINE: Non-traditional Education for College Students
Malcolm Knowles drew attention to the fact that Lindeman did not dichotomize adult versus youth education, but rather adult versus "conventional" education, thus implying that youth might learn better, too, when their needs, interests, life situations, experience, self-concepts, and individual differences are taken into account (1973, p. 31). Using fictional characters, Chapters Nine and Ten illustrate possible directions for career paths when young people are encouraged to embark on self-directed learning using andragogical approaches as opposed to passively following the pedagogical sequences and content units typical of traditional education. Special attention should be given to andragogical process elements such as 1) planning, diagnosis of needs, and goal setting by mutual negotiation; 2) designing a learning plan with projects as well as content sequenced in terms of learner readiness; 3) learning activities with inquiry projects, independent study, and experiential techniques; and 4) evaluation by mutual assessment of self-collected evidence (Knowles, 1980, p. 8). The possibilities offered by credit-by-exam and portfolio assessments are the primary vehicles illustrated.
Service has been discussed as though it were an option that only young people with religious convictions would consider. This is certainly not the case, as Susan Dodge explains:
During the 1980s, everyone complained that students were too career oriented and lacked interest in social issues. Now, at many universities, there is a resurgence of activism, and this resurgence is related to choice of major. They are choosing majors that will allow them to explore these areas related to social awareness.
Although a steady number of students are still focusing on business and engineering, more undergraduates are majoring in such subjects as environmental studies, international development, and urban studies. Other community service oriented disciplines are experiencing a resurgence--among them education, psychology, and sociology. The students say they want to clean up the environment, improve education, and help lower income families--both here and in developing countries (1990, p. A31).
College to Missions to Graduate School
Jeanne is a fictitious 23-year-old attending orientation during the first week of graduate school. She brought along a notebook which stated her objectives for attending this graduate program. This was no hastily written 1000-word admissions essay from a few months back; the questions she wants answered in graduate school are prompted by internal incentives and curiosities. Jeanne's orientation to learning is problem centered as opposed to subject centered. Her readiness to learn is developed from life tasks and problems, and she brings a rich resource for learning--years of personal experience. She then paused to reflect on the past five years.
Jeanne attended Grace College directly out of high school. Like many a freshman student, she was at a low level of self-direction (Stage 1 of Grow's model). Through her coursework, the faculty, and new friends, she developed a new interest in missions. Motivated to learn more about her new found interest (Stage 2 of Grow's model), Jeanne participated in a short term missions campaign in Europe the following summer and loved it! She then decided to return to Europe for a year of training and service with that same missions organization, with the intention of returning to school afterward "to complete her education." Jeanne's parents and friends were surprised, but supportive of her decision that reflected intermediate self-direction (Stage 3 of Grow's model). Her parents agreed to finance that year in missions just as they would have the sophomore year of college.
During that year of missionary training, Jeanne developed practical, interpersonal, ministry, and self-assessment skills, and became productive coordinating the mission's evangelistic campaigns. If there were only a way for her to stay longer, she would. A missions leader then sat down with Jeanne. Using her school transcripts, they planned together how to combine newly acquired knowledge (for example, foreign language) with her previous high school and college study to earn new credit by exam. Jeanne's college transcript reflected her freshman year studies as follows:
FALL SEMESTER 199X (15 SEMESTER HOURS)
ENGL 101 INTRODUCTION TO COMPOSITION
HIST 157 HISTORY OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION I
GNSC 160 HUMAN BIOLOGY
BIBL 111 SURVEY OF OLD TESTAMENT
MISS 160 WORLD MISSIONS
SPRING SEMESTER 199X (15 SEMESTER HOURS)
ENGL 102 COMPOSITION AND LITERARY TYPES
MATH 101 INTRODUCTORY COLLEGE ALGEBRA
BIBL 112 SURVEY OF NEW TESTAMENT
BIBL 114 CHRISTIAN DOCTRINES
ANTH 201 CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY
Jeanne's background and determined study habits helped her pass the CLEP exams in Humanities (six credits), Social Science (six credits), and College German for 12 credits (assuming previous high school study). She particularly liked the untimed DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSSTs), which allow a more reflective approach to test taking. She prepared for and passed five DSSTs; World Religions, Geography, Introduction to Business, Introduction to Computers, and Business Math, for three semester hours each.
Jeanne worked out a strategy to continue her junior-senior level learning while remaining in missions (characteristic of Grow's Stage 3). She shared this plan with her parents, who at first were skeptical, but they could not deny the fact that Jeanne had just earned her sophomore year of college totally by exam! Happily, her parents agreed to continue financial support.
Over the next three years Jeanne continued to grow socially, spiritually, and academically. As in the Turning Point model of missionary training with 20% of "duty time" set aside for personal development, Jeanne did continue her education by completing four independent study courses for three semester hours of junior/senior level credit each:
BUSI 310 PRINCIPLES OF MANAGEMENT
RLGN 440 DIRECTED READINGS IN RELIGION
BUSI 409 NON-PROFIT MANAGEMENT
EDUC 395 METHODS OF TEACHING BIBLE
By making good use of portfolio assessment to gain academic credit from the learning, not the experience per se, she acquired as a cross-cultural worker, Jeanne reached Stage 4 of Grow's model. She is both willing and able to plan, execute, and evaluate her learning with or without the help of resident experts.
Portfolio assessment is a flexible and rewarding method of gaining credit for your college level knowledge and expertise. You identify what you have learned, find college course descriptions which match that knowledge, collect evidence to prove your claim (or request a faculty designed written exam), tie it together with a narrative and submit this to the college for evaluation (Portfolio Assessment Program Brochure, 1992-93).
During the next three years, not only did Jeanne expand the mission's evangelistic campaigns into Eastern Europe, she also represented the mission in developing follow-up programs with local churches. She often was invited by pastors and other church leaders to assist in mobilizing local churches for active roles in supporting missions. Jeanne documented her training and accomplishments with course outlines, certificates of completions, letters from supervisors, job descriptions, performance appraisals, and examples of her own work. These documents would prove invaluable in demonstrating her learning in missions, leadership, and graphic design. The Portfolio Assessment Handbook (1992-94, pp. 7-9), explains the sequence and process involved for validating her field-acquired knowledge of missions.
1. Take Inventory of Your Knowledge and Skills. Jeanne believed she had acquired college level learning from various experiences: religious activities, organizational memberships, cultural and artistic pursuits, independent reading and study, non-credit training courses, language ability, and communication and interpersonal skills.
2. Choose the Areas for Which You Want to Seek College Credits. Two factors were involved for Jeanne: whether she could prove that her knowledge was equivalent to a college-level course and whether she needed credits in that subject.
3. Find Course Descriptions to Match Your Learning. With the exception of physical education, field experience, student teaching, and cooperative study, any course reflected in a regionally accredited college's catalog is eligible for portfolio assessment. Jeanne skillfully perused missions course descriptions to chose the six semester hours of junior-senior level liberal arts credit she needed to meet degree requirements. Since courses with the same or similar titles often reflect different content, one must find the best match between the stated content of a particular course and convincing evidence of one's own learning. For these reasons, Jeanne chose MISS 4333 Area Study: Europe, and MISS 4933 Inter-cultural Communications, from Southeastern College (see Appendix B):
MISS 4333 A general introduction to the matters of geography, historical development, religious and cultural development and the spread of the gospel and development of the church.
MISS 4933 The principle and processes of communicating from one culture to another with a focus on the relevance of incarnation as the model for the communication of the gospel.
4. Provide Evidence of Your Knowledge. Assemble a package of material that documents your knowledge of the subject. This may include samples of your work, notes or tests taken in training classes, an annotated bibliography, performance appraisals, letters of verification from employers or others who have first hand knowledge of your abilities, or any other material that offers proof. If evidence is lacking, or if you prefer, you may request an oral or written examination.
Jeanne had developed training materials and conducted quarterly orientations for short term teams in Germany. When the Iron Curtain fell, Jeanne found herself traveling and teaching much of the content described in the missions courses above to still more missions teams bound for Eastern Europe. By collecting and screening evidence of her learning, she was participating in its evaluation. Where she realized that convincing evidence was lacking, she opted for written tests to assess her knowledge of Biblical Studies, Turkish Studies, and Introduction to Islam.
5. Describe What You Know and How You Learned It. Write a three to ten page narrative that outlines your learning, explains how your knowledge was acquired, and introduces the materials you are providing as evidence. This is your forum to persuade a faculty consultant that you have accumulated enough knowledge to warrant credit for the subject. Each portfolio is assessed by a faculty consultant with expertise in that particular subject. The faculty consultant will determine whether or not your knowledge is equal to a college-level grade of "C" or better. If so, then he/she will recommend that you receive credit.
Jeanne earned a total of 27 semester hours of junior-senior credit by portfolio assessment. She could have approached her foreign language knowledge in a like manner, but that is costly and more difficult to assess. Fortunately, Jeanne secured permission at a U.S. military installation to take the Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT) free of charge, which is ACE recommended for up to 24 semester hours of college. Tests are available in many European and Asian languages such as Turkish, Serbo-Croatian, and Polish. Jeanne scored at the intermediate level (listening and reading comprehension only) of her target language, and received six junior/senior and eight freshman/sophomore credits, again, free of charge. Her total number of college credits was now 120. Because she also met the distribution and junior/senior level requirements, Jeanne could graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies from a regionally accredited school such as Regents College of the University of the State of New York.
Jeanne graduated from Stage 1 to Stage 4 of Grow's model of self-directed learning during her years with the mission. Thanks to supportive parents, and a mission leader who understood the andragogical concepts behind non-traditional education, Jeanne was able to demonstrate that learning as she earned 90 semester hours of college credit by examination and portfolio assessment. For what it would have cost in tuition and fees to earn a B.A. degree in four years at private Grace College, Jeanne used the same resources for one year at Grace and four years on the field, where she made genuine contributions to cross-cultural outreach, and also earned her B.A. degree. She had an opportunity to test her gifts and talents in the real world; she knows herself and the needs of the world around her. Jeanne is a competent and sensitive world Christian who, at a young age, possesses both the academic readiness and relevant experience (above entry level) that graduate schools seek in their students.
With Regents College, another option Jeanne could have used to earn junior/senior level credits is the Graduate Record Examination (see Appendix B) subject tests, which measure competencies typical of undergraduate programs in the following liberal arts disciplines. For less than $50 per exam, 30 semester hours are awarded for passing scores (15 freshman/sophomore level, and 15 at the junior/senior level
With the benefits to Christian service so overwhelming positive, it is curious that non-traditional education receives an unfavorable review in the influential Evangelical Missions Quarterly:
Although they give unique opportunities for people in ministry, external degrees are perceived to be of lesser quality and get lower status than campus programs. Some schools will not even recognize external degrees. Students who have earned master's degrees in this way sometimes have been required to complete another master's before embarking on doctoral studies (Ewert, 1988, p. 291).
External graduate programs do offer flexibility, but are comparable in duration and costs to part time campus programs. Such caveats (directed at graduate students) are sufficiently discouraging to ward off interested undergraduate students, when it is the regionally accredited external degree at the undergraduate level that achieves the tremendous savings in time and finances, and enables many students to stretch their finances to enter into Christian service and/or for further (graduate) education. Furthermore, responsible institutions do not "black list" degrees from other regionally accredited schools; each case is considered on its own merits. For individuals who are willing to sacrifice years in Christian service, the "name brand" on their regionally accredited degree cannot be all that important. What matters is the degree's utility, whether it satisfies the employment and higher education goals of the individual. Before repeating coursework at one level to cater to a particular institution's admission requirement, it would behoove a student to shop around and choose another school.
Mission to College to Graduate School
Winter urges missions to give serious consideration to accepting candidates who previously have been considered "unavailable" because they have not yet completed college. Concerning missionary preparation he writes:
Preparation today often extends over many years. Student families are relocated and must try to find new church homes and employment near the school. Budgets are strained to the breaking point. Studies are intense but fragmented. And the graduates may still be unprepared to face the multi-cultural, multi-religious and still materialistic and morally bankrupt world of tomorrow (1994, p. 166).
This time the fictional young person is Colette, an 18-year-old who earns 30 semester hours of college credit by exam while in high school (see page 124 in Chapter Ten for how this might be done). Collete is certain that her future will involve working with young children. She is moved by television scenes of Muslim refugee children from Bosnia and wants to get involved now, not after college. With parental and home church support, Colette postpones college in order to volunteer with an international mission in Germany to care for these children, many of whom are orphaned. The needs are great, the work is challenging, and the years go by quickly.
Smalley contends that the older an Anglo worker is before he must learn another language, the more susceptible he is to hierarchical language assumptions that impede cross-cultural ministry. Starting at age 18, Colette was able to learn German quite well during her three years on the field. As in the Turning Point model, she found time to complete five independent study courses in psychology, she also passed the CLEP exams in German, Sociology, and Educational Psychology. Colette's college credits now total 63 semester hours. She applies to and is accepted at a resident non-traditional education program, such as Trinity College's REACH (Relevant Education for the Adult Christian, 2077 Half Day Rd., Deerfield, IL 60015, (312) 945-4104).
REACH is not for the faint-hearted who want a quick degree. It is for those who are willing to concentrate and apply themselves for one year in order to grow personally, professionally, and spiritually (REACH Handbook, 1988-89, preface).
In the REACH program, students pursue a B.A. degree in Interpersonal and Group Communication by taking 32 credits of senior level coursework and preparing a portfolio for up to another 32 credits. Colette, at 21 years of age, has three years of rich cross-cultural experiences relating to the portfolio and degree concentration from which to draw. Her extended time on the field prior to university study helped her identify address any cross-cultural deficiencies. Should Colette return to an area with several colleges or universities, she could earn an external Bachelors degree by means of careful course selections from various campuses and a portfolio assessment. When she graduates from college, the same year and for the same costs as her full-time college peers, Colette already has confirmed by experience what her vocation will be, tested her gifts and talents in different environments, and lived abroad in a multicultural environment (goals of the Turning Point training program). Despite much more field than undergraduate classroom experience, Collete has reached the high level of self-direction (Grow's Stages 3 and 4) required for succesful graduate stusy. Furthermore, should she never return to the mission field, Collete's experience would be ideal as a lay leader of a local church mission program, for example.
The author has counseled hundreds of teenagers who demonstrated the potential to earn 20, 40, or 60 semester hours of college credit by exam, but have little or no interest in earning an external degree. Never mind the fact that the school offering the degree might be regionally accredited, they are seemingly bothered by an unfamiliar name in a distant state. This can be the case even if they are undecided about a college major. They are determined to attend Whatever University or Known Name State College without much regard to that institution's departmental strengths and weaknesses. Teenagers can be astute researchers of the pros, cons, prices, and capabilities of personal computers, entertainment systems, or their first cars, but most are not nearly as rigorous in their investigations of higher education. When confronted with a non-traditional education alternative to reach their educational goals, a frequent objection, and a valid one, is the transferability issue: "If I earn 60 semester hours of exam credit, then volunteered for two years in missions, the 'University of Choice' won't grant me junior status, and the registrar told me so." The flexibility of non-traditional education allows this reply: By all means, attend the university of your choice, only not as a freshman student as the registrar (and bursar) would have it. But consider enrolling as a non-degree seeking special student.
Mike, a fictional U.S. soldier stationed in Germany, found himself in this very situation. Mike and his wife wanted to someday return to Germany as missionaries. Mike had studied independently while working over 60 hours a week for over two years, and rightly was proud of the A.A. degree he had earned from the University of the State of New York by exam and military credit. He applied to his "University of Choice," where he wanted to transfer after his Army discharge. No wonder he was distraught when that school determined that only 30 of his 70 semester hours of non-traditional credit were acceptable in transfer. The reasons for non-acceptance were legitimate: either the school did not recognize the exam, or the score, although recommended for credit by ACE, was deemed too low, or he had maximized credit-by-exam in a discipline. The planning Mike and his wife had done for juggling study, part-time work, child care, etc., for a maximum of two years until Mike finished his Bachelor's degree seemed to be for naught.
Mike received good counsel and enrolled at this university as a special student so he could take advantage of the departmental expertise he wanted (Stage 3 of Grow's model). That way he could keep his 70 semester hours of exam credit intact by concurrently enrolling in the external Bachelors degree program of the University of the State of New York. This regionally accredited institution has no residency requirement and no limit on the number of transfer or exam credits. Each semester, Mike confirmed with his external school advisor that his course selections at the resident school met graduation requirements (at the external school). Mike also successfully used his junior level coursework to prepare for two more exams at three semester hours each, which boosted his credit-by-exam total to 76 semester hours. Needing no previous course work in sociology to enroll in Sociology 300 American Society, and after completing that course, Mike used his new knowledge of sociological concepts and terminology to pass the CLEP subject test in Introductory Sociology. He used the same strategy with upper-level literature courses to earn another three semester hours from the CLEP subject test in Analysis and Interpretation of Literature. In both cases there was no duplication of credit. Mike, operating at Stage 4 of Grow's model of self-directed learning, effectively managed his learning so that after only three semesters of 15 semester hours each, he graduated from The University of the State of New York with a B.A. degree in liberal studies.
Had Mike acquiesced to the earlier ruling of the resident university registrar, he would have been a full-time student twice as long (six semesters, as opposed to three), at more than twice the price to achieve the same goal (when tuition inflation is included, not to mention the $25,000-$35,000 of lost income potential from the 18 months following his graduation). External Bachelors degree programs that can free up significant amounts of money and months or even years of time make them invaluable as missions recruitment and retention tools. No matter how unaccommodating a particular school's policies are to non-traditional education, any accredited school's transfer credit is welcomed by an institution that espouses andragogy over pedagogy for its clientele. The cases of Colette and Mike are not isolated ones. Winter has identified an "invisible" corps of 100,000 adults who made a missionary decision at some time in the past and were seriously interested in missions.
Many people in their youth feel led into high-minded goals and aspirations but the rigors of reality keep them from even finishing college. And that alone keeps them from a career in missions (1994, p. 44).
The examples in this chapter are not unrealistic. What limits their adaptation and widespread use is the paradigm of what undergraduate education was for one generation (often passive, content-oriented pedagogy dependent on a teacher to plan, deliver, and evaluate learning), and thus, what it should be for those that follow. Missions-minded young people can hardly be expected to embrace the self-directed andragogical principles behind non-traditional education when their significant adults never used it to get where they are, are unfamiliar with it, and frankly do not understand it. Nevertheless, there is escalating concern about the trend of more time and more resources that go into Christian youths' higher education, without adding that this comes at the expense of possible involvement in missions. Regional accreditation and the success of the graduates from these flexible external degrees at gaining admission to traditional graduate schools should silence any reservations concerning quality, transferability, and utility.
It is difficult to realize a paradigm shift from afar. Youth and missions pastors, missions leaders, and even parents can model the nontraditional approach by taking a CLEP exam or preparing a portfolio of a skill acquired outside of college. The costs are nominal, and first-hand experience (and success) is essential to promoting effectively any new concept. Students can have a viable alternative to prescribed classroom curricula and, as in the Turning Point model, take initiative and control for their sequences and durations of learning and serving.
When students decide to act, things happen. That's the history of modern missions. For the missionary movement has had a tremendous vitality often sparked by students with a worldwide vision (Howard, 1979, back cover).
Non-traditional education can create opportunities for service because it does not have to detract from the time and resources Christian young people and their parents commit to higher education. It can plug the gaps observable in current preparation programs and contemporary practice.
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