God created us to be disciples and disciple-makers (Matthew 28:18-20). If our goal is to raise disciples of Jesus who build culture that reflects love for God and love for one’s neighbour, enacting His truth and wisdom, then we must ask the question “In what ways can you link teaching and learning to the ways students use their gifts wisely?”
In answer to this question in a discussion group, one teacher said that she placed students in her class who love Mathematics and are gifted in this area next to students who were struggling. By structuring these student interactions, she was sending a message about the purpose of gifts and the nature of learning. This assists students to imagine the world in a different way. Are our classrooms more about individual achievement and competition, or places where all students can teach each other as well as learn from each other?
The design of our teaching and learning activities should provide opportunities for discipleship. The structure of our class, the resources, assessment and student participation linked to service are channels through which character and Godly wisdom are formed and sustained.
As we draw these understandings together, we can know that deeper learning will flourish in classrooms where teachers love their students and engage them in ways that recognise their uniqueness and differences. It won’t be static learning about individual achievement in learning information but the immersion of students in exploring meaning in the reality of their complex lives.
The learning in the classroom and school culture that comes from stories, knowledge, ideas and experience will be enacted in the shalom community and will contribute to the formation of our students for the Kingdom of God. When we as teachers see this as our priority, then we can rejoice in the knowledge that the Spirit of God is at work in our school. As Jerome Bruner writes, the way we teach and learn are “a major embodiment of a culture’s way of life.”
The question for us to reflect upon is “Does our pedagogy demonstrate our identity as citizens of God’s Kingdom?”
May the Lord richly bless you as you fulfil your calling to raise disciples of the Lord Jesus who make a difference in His world throughout their lives. May you rejoice as you see God at work in the lives of your students. A teacher once said:
“I teach because I see people grow and change in front of my eyes. Being a teacher is being present at the creation, where the clay begins to breathe. Nothing is more exciting than being there when the breathing begins … I occasionally find myself catching my breath with them.”
“….. all learning worthy of the name – is a matter of being invited as disciples to know God and the fulfilment that God has for God’s creatures.” (M Higton)
Grace and Peace
The Excellence Centre