Christian Philosophy of Education
As we go through our day by day lives in a very secular world, I believe it is very easy to question ourselves as Christian educators. We ask ourselves if we are doing our jobs exactly to God’s calling. Are we striving to teach the truth? And with that, what is truth? According to Gaebelein in his book The Pattern of God’s Truth, “All truth is God’s truth.” As educators we are called upon to cultivate “Christlike minds” (Moreland). This is quite the task, especially given our surrounding circumstances and constant secular environment. Not only are we, as educators surrounded by this secularism, but our young, adolescent students are as well. So, how do we accomplish such as task of guiding these young minds to the truth? How can we lead them to have “Christlike minds?” What should our philosophy on education be as a Christian educator? Well, we can start with the first and greatest commandment, “Love your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). This commandment, among other things, is a great place to start and feed off for all the elements of a Christian philosophy of education. My personal understanding of the crucial elements of a Christian philosophy of education starts with love, and continues by teaching with grace and truth through both the teacher and the learner.
Because human beings are made in the image of God (Graham), we also must be motivated and rejoice in this fact. We must keep in mind that all of our students are perfect in the way in which God has created them. Although, this also means each student will have different individual personalities and qualities that we must learn to love and embrace. Therefore, the question is: what motivates each individual child; the question is not what motivates the class as a whole. Discovering these motivations of each individual student is part of a Christian educators calling. The students are always discriminating, choosing, and acting purposefully in order to maintain some kind of control over what is happening around them and to them. This pursuit is part of bearing God's image, since He created us with the capacity to think and act like Him. He has also given us (the teacher) the task of helping to manage and develop the creation. This is a huge role of a Christian educator. We should not expect each student to be perfect in our own eyes, for it is not our eyes that matter. We must put our trust and faith in the fact that every little piece about each child has a purpose and reason behind it. We, as Christian school teachers, need to learn to “love with all our heart… soul… and mind.” In order to do this we must first have the Christlike mind in which Moreland speaks about in Love Your God With All Your Mind. “The mind,” Moreland argues, “is the soul’s primary vehicle for making contact with God” (p. 67). Christians must nurture strong habits of the mind.
As we step into our classrooms and our students enter closely behind us, we must remember that they are each God’s children, not just “subjects” (Graham). They are living perfect images of God. Of course we cannot look past the fact that each child is raised in a different home environment, which can create variation as well; although this must too be taken into consideration in the classroom. Students should be viewed as individuals in the image of God who are thinkers, decision-makers and actors. They all have diverse intelligences, gifts, and emerging theories about the world. All of this begins as young as the kindergarten age level and we cannot look past this truth. At even such a young age, their special gifts, talents, and desires will begin to blossom and it is our job to help identify these and provide motivation for the children to continue to develop and thrive in these areas. Although, it is also important to remember that we are all fallen creatures. All fallen creature...
Bibliography: -Foundations of Christian School Education. Colorado Springs, CO: ACSI, 2003
-Love Your God With All Your Mind. J.P. Moreland. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1997.
-Reclaiming the Future of Christian Education. Albert E. Greene. Colorado Springs, CO: ASCI, 1998.
-Teaching Redemptively: Bringing Grace and Truth into Your Classroom. Donovan Graham. Colorado Springs, CO: ACSI, 2004.
-The Pattern of God’s Truth. Frank Gaebelien. Colorado Springs, CO: ACSI, 1997.
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