Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Question of My Philosophy of Education

Left: My first day of Kindergarten.
Above: My graduation from High School.

On a recent job application, I was asked for my personal Christian philosophy of education and how I would implement it in the classroom. After a lot of prayer, this was the answer I came up with. I'd love to hear your input!

When asked about my philosophy on any subject my instinct is to turn to Scripture and ask God to help me to seek out His answer. I have found that there is a lot said about attaining knowledge, but that it is only a part of what God would expect His children to learn. First of all, acquiring knowledge is highly encouraged; Proverbs 25:1 says, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” There are so many new discoveries in the scientific fields that should bring us to our knees in awe of the creation of God, but instead man has taken the glory. Knowledge and instruction should be cherished more than gold or silver (Proverbs 8:10). However, knowledge is not the most important thing. Proverbs 8:12 tells us that knowledge is part of wisdom along with prudence and discretion. The biggest command to parents in teaching their children is to teach them the commands of the Lord and to impress those on the hearts of our children (Deut 6:6-7). Peter also tells us that which we should “make every effort to learn:” goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. Knowledge is only one part of that list. It seems God is saying the most important part of education is training one’s character in all things moral and virtuous. I think many in our culture today have forgotten that molding a child’s character is more important than molding their mind. This leads to a corrupt heart, the inability to discern right from wrong, and insecurity in life. Paul warns Timothy against the acquisition of the world’s knowledge. He says, “Turn away from…the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith.” 1 Tim 6:20-21.

As for implementing these beliefs in the classroom, especially a science/history classroom, my first thought is to give glory where glory is due. I have such a passion for praising God in His creation and the way He designed chemistry, physics, anatomy, biology, geology, astronomy and so forth. Science does not explain away God; it merely proves the intricate ways in which God designed our universe to interact. Also, as a teacher, I have so many opportunities to teach moral decisions in the course of academic study. Even while giving a tutoring lesson this past spring, my student confessed to me that she was cheating on tests during school. Together we were able to discuss a course of action for her to confess this to her mom and pray during her times of temptation. Working in groups with peers provides many opportunities for children to practice and improve selfless behavior, wise decisions, and other character issues. As a teacher it is my job to see those and encourage those in the midst of the academic lesson.

1 comment:

Sarah McQuade said...

Wow! Way to be, Brenda! I love your response. I come away enlightened and also with knowledge of the strength of your character. Where are you interviewing? I'm starting the interview process myself since we're making the big Sioux Falls move in a month. Good luck!!