Expanding the Theological Classroom People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities as Theological Learners

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Sarah Barton


Disability, ableism, and universal design for learning continue to be under-investigated areas in the context of theological education. This essay considers the history of accessibility and disability in theological education, highlighting pressing considerations for contemporary theological educators. Offering a case study of a course in Christian ethics with degree-seeking Duke Divinity School students and community learners with intellectual and developmental disabilities, this essay analyzes both challenges and supports for the participation of diverse students in theological education. In conversation with scholars in the areas of disability studies and inclusive pedagogy, this essay also offers some best practices in relationship to disability and universal design for learning within a theological framework for education.

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Disabilities and Pedagogy