Sunday, July 1, 2007

Christian Education: Teachers and Curriculum

Again, here is my one-sentence philosophy of Christian Education:

Christian Education exists to provide a quality Bible-based education that is Christ-centered, academically excellent, and well-rounded, enabling the student to daily serve Christ and become more like Him.
The teachers must be examples to the students of what a Christian life should "look" like. Just today a man in my Sunday School class reminded me that our actions speak louder than our words, and that completely applies here. Teachers must diligently avoid any demonstrations of carnality in their lives. The students will nearly always be sufficiently observant of this; if they see teachers indulging in carnal things, they, too, will be very tempted to imitate the teacher.

The teacher must also have a thorough knowledge of the subject matter. One of the problems in Christian schools, especially in the early years, was the tendency, for whatever reasons, of being willing to hiring "anyone" (meaning: anyone doctrinally agreeable and willing to work for the salary) to teach academic subjects in the school. This had several bad effects, the two most obvious of which were students learning less than their potential, and a general diminishing of respect for the teachers and the learning. After all, if the "expert" in the room doesn't know the subject that well...why should I? Teachers who know the subject best are able to teach it best.

Curriculum, ideally, promotes a Christian worldview and perspective on the subject matter. The word "curriculum" is among the most abused words in the field of education; here I intend it to refer to the overall academic program of the school, or of particular courses, like math or reading. It includes textbooks as well as ancillary materials, teacher-directed activities, and other things included in the overall academic program. Christian textbooks and materials, espousing and promoting a Christian worldview, should be preferred. But where Christian textbooks are unavailable or inadequate, the curriculum must at least be in harmony with the truth of the Bible. Materials which promote other, non-biblical ideas should be avoided.

If you homeschool, remember that these things apply to you, the parent/teacher, just as they would to those who teach professionally. Of course, your students will have a much deeper opportunity to observe your life, so determine to set a good example for them.

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