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Transcript of Teaching Redemptively
Building on norms and teaching with grace
Redemptive Teaching At Work
What makes a school Christian?
Donovan L. Graham
Alpha Christian School
Boasts of itself:
Parents, teachers, and administrators are all competent, committed Christians with high standards.
Standardized test scores are above other area schools; students perform above grade level due to demanding teachers, lots of homework, and family support.
Behavioral standards are high. Disruptive behavior is not allowed. Those who cannot conform to regulations are asked to leave. No lack of discipline is evidenced.
Chapel and Bible are regular parts of the curriculum and students have won "Bible Knowledge Bowl" competitions.
Curriculum is solidly Christian. All textbooks are Christian and promote true Christian thinking.
Teachers are expected to teach according to materials and go "back to the basics" of methods.
Students are taught Christian values: hard work, responsibility, thankfulness, obedience, and the Christian heritage of our nation.
Yet alumni say
We only packed away what we were told in order to get good grades. Success was measured by GPA. We did what we were told, and if we did it correctly we were rewarded for it. That's what kept us going.
Life at ACS was a big game. First, to be accepted by peers by beating the competition. Second was to get where we wanted to go after graduation. The whole system was set up to "look out for number one."
I am beginning to wonder if all thoughts by Christians are really Christian thoughts...also if all thoughts by non-Christians are automatically non-Christian thoughts.
Do your stated purposes and your outcomes match?
Christian content is not enough.
Christian intent is not enough.
Too often "Christian" materials do not preach the true redemptive work of God. Christian authors are also fallen.
Christian teachers and administrators may say the right things, intending to communicate truth, but fall short of the mark in actually demonstrating it.
The PROCESS must be redeemed.
True Christian educating applies Biblical principles to every component of the educational process.
the PURPOSE of education
the nature of the LEARNER
the person of the TEACHER
the PROCESS of learning
the view of SUBJECT matter
We'll deal with all those in more depth. Coming soon...
True Christian educating immerses students in
Enforcing the law is not God's way
Outward conformity does not touch hearts
External performance cannot be the basis of value
Talking about the gospel while living under the law yields CONFUSION and DESPAIR
"God's grace ... is the very foundation for [the] holiness and obedience that we desire for our students."
"The reality of the gospel is indeed unthinkable, and we must not be afraid to examine its implications for our classroom practice."
Living by grace is risky, but what else can we do if God deals with us that way?
Building something Biblical
A Framework for Building
How is ALCS like ACS?
How can we find out our actual effect on students?
If our students define themselves by their record, what steps should we take to change that?
How do we use the Bible?
To teach certain ideas and practices?
To only address spiritual issues?
"The Bible should be used to build a framework for informing and directing our inquiries into any subject...to help develop a perspective for examining reality."
There is no conflict to be found in truth that is revealed in the Bible and in creation. Our study should reveal consistent principles. Both sources demand our study.
The Bible is addressed to hearts. It opens eyes of sinful people to perceive reality from a truthful perspective. It is a light for all subjects.
The Bible is not a textbook of science, psychology, philosophy, economics, or any other discipline. As a historical text, each passage must be interpreted in the context of the whole Scripture. We must also consider the intention of the author in extracting principles to use in academic inquiry.
Professed beliefs vs. Controlling beliefs
Controlling beliefs are ideas that we are willing to accept as fundamentally true, with or without data. We make decisions and act within the framework of these beliefs.
Professed beliefs do not always match how we act, indicating we have a different controlling belief.
Professed - usually taught verbally
Controlling - usually caught experientially
And thus, lived that way.
"Most Christian teachers would profess to believe that their students are made in the image of God.
They would also profess that God is rational, creative, and personal.
Classroom practices, however, often reveal that students are not treated that way."
Process as Content
"The process through which any concept or subject (content) is taught becomes a part of the content."
don't perform well without rewards
feel like objects
treat others as objects
Are our methods teaching a view of humanity that is beneath the image of God?
using an externally motivated reinforcement learning model may create students that
teaching content that calls for an active response and allowing only a written response teaches
separation of thinking and doing
over-develops head knowledge at the expense of experiential (heart) knowledge
saying God is creative and then prescribing every step
undermines individual creativity
"asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this
in order that
you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work." Colossians 1:9-10
1. Know. Understand.
2. Wisely discern applications for life.
3. Now do it.
What are the students in your classroom learning from the process you use?
How do your professed beliefs and controlling beliefs line up?
does that mean?
are you going to do about it?
"As God spoke, all things entered into a relationship with each other and were given a purpose, a way in which they were to operate, a function, a normative 'order'..."
laws of Creation
laws of nature -
learned by study
laws of culture and society, or "the order by which individuals and societal institutions are meant to relate and function so that they may bring glory to God"
learned through study of both the natural world, the Bible, and the inspiration of the Spirit - the sources of His Word are not at odds
Wholeness is one of God's "norms."
The institutions of culture should thus lead to a sense and experience of wholeness.
Fractured, piecemeal knowledge and experience would be "anti-normative."
responsibility for creation
"Creation is not something that...remains a static quantity. There is ... a growing up, an unfolding...
This takes place through the task that people have been given of bringing to fruition the possibilities of development implicit in the work of God's hands.
The creational law is crying out to be positivized in new and amazing ways.
We are called to participate in the ongoing creational work of God..."
"Thus, worship, wisdom according to God's norms, and participating in the care and development of God's good creation under the influence of Scripture and the guidance of the Holy Spirit ... must affect our teaching."
making our own gods
As one who is called upon and empowered to be a living reflection of God's redemption, how will that reality affect the way you deal disruptive students' behavior?