Teaching Across Cultures: Contextualizing Education for Global Mission, By James E. Plueddemann alt

Teaching Across Cultures

Contextualizing Education for Global Mission

by James E. Plueddemann
Foreword by Duane Elmer

Teaching Across Cultures
  • Length: 168 pages
  • Published: November 27, 2018
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 7372
  • ISBN: 9780830873722

*affiliate partner

  • 2020 Outreach Magazine Resource of the Year ("Also Recommended," Cross-Cultural and Missional)

In our globalized world, ideas are constantly being exchanged between people of different cultural backgrounds. But educators often struggle to adapt to the contexts of diverse learners. Some focus so much on content delivery that they overlook crosscultural barriers to effective teaching.

Educator and missiologist James Plueddemann offers field-tested insights for teaching across cultural differences. He unpacks how different cultural dynamics may inhibit learning and offers a framework for integrating conceptual ideas into practical experience. He provides a model of teaching as pilgrimage, where the aim is not merely the mastery of information but the use of knowledge to foster the development of the pilgrim learner.

Plueddemann's crosscultural experience shows how teachers can make connections between content and context, bridging truth and life. Those who teach in educational institutions, mission organizations, churches, and other ministries will find insights here for transformational crosscultural learning.

"Masterful weaving of both theory and practice . . . Teaching Across Cultures will be helpful to virtually every audience whether the differences are cultural, generational, ethnic, gender, or regional. We all want to be better teachers. We are all concerned with outcomes as a result of our teaching; this book takes us there as well."

From the foreword by Duane Elmer, author of Cross-Cultural Servanthood

"Insightful, practical, stimulating, packed with surprising stories designed to challenge our own cultural assumptions and help sharpen our skills in the art and science of teaching anything to anyone, anywhere."

Américo Saavedra, leadership development consultant and teacher/facilitator, Reach Beyond

"Jim Plueddemann's book Teaching Across Cultures is a road trip. After each bend in the road, teacher and travelers reflect on discoveries never seen before though looked at many times."

Mark H. Senter III, professor emeritus of educational ministry, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"When teaching across cultures, even experienced teachers need a paradigm shift. Jim Plueddemann's teaching model perceives the learner as a purposeful traveler. Plueddemann's lively stories weave throughout the book. I recommend it to missionaries, teachers, pastors, and seminarians—really everyone who wishes to interact with others in this global village."

Judy Tao, missionary trainer and professor, Taiwan

"Jim's breakthrough thinking combining theory and practice in a truly transformative learning cycle, is both profound and simple at the same time. It is profound enough to guide anyone who desires to teach in any culture yet simple enough to remember and apply time after time. We often read books which are complex but ultimately superficial. Reading Teaching Across Cultures is refreshingly simple but startlingly profound. Disciple makers, preachers, and teachers anywhere will profit by a thorough study and practice of this book."

Charles A. Davis, former director, TEAM, author, Making Disciples Across Cultures

"In this exceptionally clear and engaging book the reader is introduced to the challenges of teaching across cultures through both story and theory. The book wins the reader by Plueddemann's willingness to tell stories about his own struggles to teach well crossculturally. The author skillfully challenges readers to think through their assumptions about what good education is and gently points out how our pedagogical preferences might affect our ability to teach effectively across cultures. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to grow as a teacher."

James Wilhoit, professor of core studies and Scripture Press professor of Christian education, Wheaton College

"This book is a gift to the global church. Filled with wisdom and experience gleaned across cultures and over time, it offers valuable principles and practical examples to make teaching what it should be—life changing. If you're teaching or training in another culture, make sure you pack this book."

Frank Newell, professor, Alexandria School of Theology, Egypt

"Dr. James E. Plueddemann, veteran missionary, teacher, and professor, has effectively debunked the myth that teachers merely transfer knowledge to their students. Through the use of numerous metaphors, diagrams, stories, and personal life experiences, he has demonstrated that successful teachers must combine knowledge with an understanding of the culture and experience of students. This extremely rich and practical book should be required reading for all crosscultural missionaries and teachers."

Samuel Waje Kunhiyop, author of African Christian Ethics, professor and former general secretary of ECWA, Nigeria

"The depth and breadth of Plueddemann's experience and relationships is inspiring and instructive. The fact that it covers so many different contexts is a reflection of the deep commitment and faithfulness that, in turn, produced this helpful resource. Jim is not a mere teacher but instead is a humble, life-long learner, leader, and trainer. He brings the theory down to the ground—in context—in community. Added to that, at the end of each chapter there are voices from all over the globe. And Jim knows that he doesn't know everything . . . or much sometimes! But that is the power of his approach and this tool. This is a tool for trainers and learners. It was a joy to walk through this book, seeing his heart and the depth of his commitment to the subject over the long haul."

Greg H. Parsons, Frontier Ventures, Pasadena, California

"After reading Teaching Across Cultures, my initial reaction was that this is a must read for anyone who teaches others who are not exactly like themselves, which is of course everyone. James Plueddemann has given us a book that needs to be in the toolkit of every missionary and church teacher."

Marcus Dean, Evangelical Missions Quarterly, Vol. 55 No. 4


Foreword by Duane H. Elmer
1. Metaphors of Teaching
2. The Rail Fence as a Crosscultural Model for Teaching
3. Adapting Our Colored Glasses
4. Teaching Complex Creatures
5. Teaching and Context
6. Teaching and Cultural Values
7. Teaching Aims Across Cultures
8. Cultural Influences on Teaching Aims
9. Teaching Through Struggle
10. Harmony Through the Rail-Fence Model
11. Examples of Pilgrim Teaching
12. Improving Teaching Through Evaluation
Recommended Reading
Scripture Index


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James E. Plueddemann

James E. Plueddemann (PhD, Michigan State), now retired, taught for many years as professor of missions at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He also previously served as the chair of the educational ministries department at Wheaton College. He is the author of Leading Across Cultures: Effective Ministry and Mission in the Global Church.