Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Miscellaneous thoughts on teaching...

I'm not a good enough teacher to come up with any laws of teaching, but I've been thinking lately that if I were, I'd have to say that one of the essentials to being an effective teacher is having students who know they need to learn. To put it another way, one of the greatest hindrances to effective teaching is when students don't think they need to learn.

I know, I know, it's not like I'm going out on a limb saying something like that.

It's obvious, from experience and from Scripture. (Just check out Proverbs...) But I guess what's new for me lately, is thinking about how I as a teacher can help students come to this point. I, clearly can't get into their hearts and humble them. The students themselves have a major responsibility in all of this. Yet, it seems to me that if I'm going to be an effective teacher, I need to think of ways I can reveal to my students their need to learn.

There's a sense in which I have to humble them. (Maybe a better way of putting it would be, I have to encourage, exhort them to be humble.)

Now the thing is, as a Christian, as one who believes in the gospel when it comes to humbling others there are a whole lot of things I can't do. I can't humble others by acting as if I'm superior to them, because I'm not. I can't humble others by anti-gospel methods, like mocking them or sarcasm. I can't humble others for the purpose of exalting myself. Those are all non-Christian methods. (Sometimes effective when it comes to teaching, but not effective when it comes to the big picture - glorifying God.)

How do Christian teachers inspire humility in students? I don't have all the answers, that is for sure...Here are a couple ideas though.

1.) Example.
2.) With affection. think the best teachers are able to humble their students while at the same time never leaving any doubt as to their love and affection for their students. Kind of like Jesus does with us. The Bible is one big long humbling book, while at the same time, it never leaves any doubt as to God's attitude towards us.
3.) Exalting God. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge..." See MLJ quote in comments section of previous post.
4.) The Gospel. Helping the students have a right view of themselves, of Jesus Christ, and of the Cross.
5.) Prayer.

2 comments:

Frank Martens said...

prayer should maybe be first? :)

joshuamack said...

First, last and in between!