What Are We Suppose to Teach?
As I mentioned in my previous post on Christian education, I explained the importance of roles that teachers and students play in implementing learning. Now I would like to proceed to explain what it is that this kind of Christian education is suppose to teach and the various methods that educators use to apply the curriculum. But most important what should be the foundation for Christian learning?
The Disciple’s Model
To answer this question, I will utilize a model developed by Rick Yount called the Disciple’s Model that comes from his book “Created to Learn”. The analogy of this model is of a house that has two foundation stones as its base, three pillars coming out of it, and a roof to cover all learning. Although there are many models to choose from in the realm of Christian learning, I believe this model is a better at explaining what it is we are suppose to teach.
The Foundation Stones
Let’s examine the two foundation stones. The first is the Bible. Unless our teaching produces a clearer understanding of the Bible, with its call to personal commitment to Christ and His Church, all our teaching efforts produce little more than “wood, hay, or straw”; in other words, it’s not Christian teaching. The second foundation stone consists of the needs of the learner. If the needs of the learner are not met, then no learning will take place, regardless how great the teaching is.
The Three Pillars
Now we will discuss the three pillars that come from the foundation. The first pillar tells that the learner must develop an intimate knowledge of God so that spiritual transformation can take place. The second pillar explains that the learner must develop emotional growth; that means that there must be open communication within the Christian classroom and having respect for others students. The third pillar promotes accountability and authenticity between both the teacher and the learner; both need to mindful of the others Spiritual learning.
The Roof of it All
Finally we will discuss the roof that covers the whole. Christian curriculum must help learners to grow in spirit. Overshadowing this model is the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit Who breathes life into lifeless lesson.
To Be Like Christ
The purpose of curriculum planning is not merely an administrative function but rather reflects the church’s view of discipleship; in other words, Christian education is suppose to teach learners to be more like Christ. Let’s examine the various methods that can be used to implement Christian education effectively. The best models can be found by studying the methods of the master teacher Himself, Jesus Christ.
Jesus was inclusive in His teaching style, He taught everyone. An effective teacher doesn’t have bias, but instead needs to be a “life-changer” to all his students; establishing rapport with them. As a teacher, Jesus stimulated interest among His learners and maintained it. This was done through many of His sermons found in the Bible, from His parables and the discussions He had and the way He asked questions to His learners.
Practice What You Teach
He also taught by example. His many works demonstrated faithful behavior which He commanded His disciples to follow (the healing of the sick, the washing of feet, etc.). A good Christian teacher practices what he teaches.
Better In Small Groups
Another method which Jesus used were teaching in small groups. Out of the many disciples, He picked twelve to learn from Him and out of that twelve; He selected three to be especially close to Him. More is learned when it is share on a one on one basis.
We can learn many techniques from Christ when it comes to implementing Christian education, for He understood people and knew how to reach them at their level. Jesus urged them to learn from Him, as He said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.” What are some other techniques that you can think of that can encourage learners to be like Christ?