Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Needs and Possibilities for Communication Education in Seminaries

If the purpose of a seminary is to educate people for ministry one might first look into this
purpose a little bit deeper. The word “educare” has as its roots the Latin word “ducere’ which
means “to lead”, to give direction. “E-ducare” might therefore be interpreted as to “lead out”, to
give direction. It would mean to lead out of ignorance to knowledge and understanding.
Education thus might be interpreted as to prepare people for life and to equip them with the
knowledge and means necessary for life. It means for the Seminary to enable the students to
know where to go and what to do in their future work as ministers to the Word of God.

Education includes from elementary years reading and writing and other communication skills as essential for understanding and mastering life. When we talk about communication education in the Seminary and theological schools it is good to keep these basics in mind. Usually when we talk about “Communication Education” in the Seminary we think immediately of mass media or the modern means of communication which includes especially technical tools.
Most media courses or even those more general on communication aim at equipping the
seminarian in the use and technique of the modern means of communication for his/her ministry.

This, however, should not be the first purpose in the seminary. It should have been done already
at the college level before entering the seminary for graduate studies. Today it should be part of
any educational program to enable every student to critically judge and use the modern means of communication. This is part of the Communication/media education which in turn should be part of any school curriculum. It includes having a general knowledge about the ways and means
modern media operate like e.g the essential criteria to judge the quality of a news item, a TV
program or a film. It is to enable people to become informed and responsible recipients.

Communication Education in the seminary should be already on a more advanced level and
should be able to build on the general media education in college and elementary. Programs in the seminary should slowly lead the seminarian to the proper and active use of communication for ministry because s/he is part and parcel of the modern communication world. This, however,
includes not only modern means and technology. Proper communication preparation for ministry starts already long before and is based on the essentials of human communication.

Franz-Josef Eilers, svd

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