Add Christianity to the Mix

This weeks philosophers were much more interesting to me in direct application to my philosophy of education – whatever that is I still don’t know – as well as more easy to understand, in some regards.
We started off the week talking about St. Augustine. Where Plato believes that knowledge is important in the role of education, and Aristotle believes it to be habitual character, Augustine takes a different look at the role of education through formation of the heart. Augustine, though not a teacher, did teach in church settings and gave practical advice because he sees teaching as similar to reading scripture.
The reading we had for St. Augustine was his Homily on the first epistle of John. In this homily he states that there has to be an order of love. See for Augustine, love is the most important thing and this should be evident in how a classroom is operated: everything in the classroom should be done out of love for the student and point towards love of God.
In this way Augustine warns against using scientific proven research in a classroom; he does not want to block out any other ways of teaching and he has found that by making an idol of scientific proven research, one looses trust in other ways of teaching.
As Christians, I see his point that everything in the classroom should be done out of love for the student. In my mind, why are you teaching if you aren’t doing it out of love for the student, and wanting a greater good for them, but over all, wanting to do it to glorify God (showing love for Him)? In the bible we find in Colossians 3 that everything we do should be done to the glory of God – everything should point towards Him, even teaching.
Many of you reading or responding to this are in the education program already. Why are you guys wanting to be a teacher? What do you envision your classroom to look like? Do you agree that the classroom should resemble love in its many roles? No right or wrong answer, I’m just interested what others thoughts are and if you have talked about this idea in any of your other education classes? Other undergrad students like me, feel free to also answer as I’m sure you have an opinion on what your classroom might one day look like.
Or if there are no answers for these questions, what is a classroom setting or year in your past which has really stuck out to you? What about that year made it stick out? Whether a private or public school, was it the teachers passion and love for the topic and the students that made that year and that classroom environment ideal for learning? In my experience this is true. How about for yours?

-Angie

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2 thoughts on “Add Christianity to the Mix

  1. *Why Teach?*
    I aspire to teaching for a variety of reasons. Teaching (to my understanding) is a role that will work upon/validate the existing skill sets I have developed to date as a youth worker. Teaching will draw upon my strengths as a presenter and someone deeply interested in engaging others in dialogue, discussion and debate. Also, the profession of teaching presents a lifestyle that I think will be attractive. It is my hope that teaching will allow me to travel. It will also offering me a skill with which I can, maybe someday, deliver aid into communities abroad (i.e. teaching in developing nations). The profession of teaching is thus a formalization of many different aspects of me. The process of learning how to teach is also attractive and something that I feel is a means to serve God’s will for my life.

    *What Will Love Look Like in my Classroom?*
    I posit three premises that I will use to guide my classroom:
    1. I wish to maintain a classroom that acknowledges the unique qualities and strengths inherit in all human beings, and the inherit value of all human life, as informed by understanding of Christ’s love of all people. It is my goal to not only demonstrates a profound respect for these qualities, but to model them as a value system adopted by all human beings (or any other non-human rational actors) that pass through the door into my classroom.
    2. At all times I will strive to deliver the best quality teaching I can with an awareness of empirically evaluated teaching strategies, and an awareness of the limitation of the empirical process in evaluating that effectiveness of a process for teaching. (I think this is sometimes call ‘Right Thinking’.)
    3. By fulfilling the above two criteria, I will be contributing to a dissemination of God’s love and respect for all people in the world.

    There is obviously more to what I intend to bring to my classroom, but my main point is that I intend to bring God’s love to my classroom through a thought-out process aware of the lessons of the history, science and art of the world. However, I will also bring God’s love to my classroom by maintaining an orientating respect for all people that I will assert even when it is uncomfortable. As a Psychology student, it has been drilled into my mind that I, as all humans are, have certain tendencies towards the process of thought. We are duped by optical illusions that are not present, and we exhibit likewise behaviours in our interpretation of the world because we have an active desire to see the world in a particular way and we will, perhaps unconsciously, change the way we see our world to accommodate our existing notion of a worldview.

    Empiricism has been given the weight it has because there have been a lot of examples of persistent bias that are totally unfounded and profoundly hurtful towards the world at large (see: racism; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism ). These wrong attitudes are entrenched in the status quo of our world and often times no one in power is motivated to change them. Empiricism can, at times, be a liberator to this end. Empiricism can help us narrow our perspective, focus on one specific quality, isolate our observations of the quality from our bias, and gain an understanding of the issue with (hopefully) less bias.

    However, empirical results can be easily manipulated and incorrectly derive conclusions from an inappropriate exclusion one set of variables from another (see: racism; http://www.halfsigma.com/2006/06/blacks_genetica.html ). Consequently, we need to be able to use our ability to evaluate the world around us and question it regardless of the source. We need to engage in this process of questioning as a means to constantly assessing with the fullest capacity of our emotional and rational faculty (because when something doesn’t feel right, we need to figure out why) whether or engaging in the world around us with a focus on maintaining item 1.

    To that end, I am going to add a fourth item to my list of guiding premises:
    4. Never stop questioning authority. The world’s over you; yours over yourself and your actions.

    1. This is awesome Nathan! With these thoughts in mind I think you will make a great teacher. Out of curiosity, maybe a bit off topic, what grade are you wanting to teach?

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