Talk 1: A Room with a View
“A Room with a View” is a 1985 movie about an English woman living in the Victorian era who is given a room with a view during her holiday in Florence. It artistically tells the tale of how Lucy comes to view her world differently whilst there due to her romance with a character called George. The title of this movie comes to symbolise the change in the way she sees her life and this impacts the decisions she now makes about how she will live. Her worldview has changed.
All people hold a worldview regardless of whether they are aware of it, able to explain how it was formed in them or have the ability to articulate it to others.
Translated from the German word ‘Weltanschaung’, the term worldview was first used by Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) who believed that human ability to reason could help bring “understanding of the meaning of the world and our place within it… without reference to religion or tradition” (Goheen & Bartholomew, 2008, p. 12).
The Idealist philosopher Schelling (1775-1854) saw ‘worldview’ as speaking into humanity’s longing for meaning in their existence and Weltanschaung defined it “to denote a set of beliefs that underlie and shape all human thought and action”(Heslam, 1998, p. 89).
Walsh & Middleton assert “a worldview provides a model of the world which guides its adherents in the world” (1984, p.32). Worldviews provide answers to the deep questions of life such as
‘Who am I? (identity),
‘Where did I come from? (origins),
‘Why am I here? (purpose),
‘What happens when I die?’ (destiny) and
‘How shall I live?’ (morality).
Worldviews are always rooted in faith whether that be in the living God (Theism) or the material world, human ability and idols shaped by humans (Naturalism) or an impersonal spirit/force that pervades the universe (Pantheism).
These worldviews permeate the atmosphere of our culture and are like the air we breathe. These stories are embodied in our personal and communal lives and practices within a nation. Our beliefs and the habits of our hearts are given expression through our cultural institutions (such as government, media and education).
Children are not born with a worldview. Their families, culture and school play a significant role in forming a child’s emerging worldview. So as teachers we must ask the questions:
- What does it look like for a person to embrace a Christian worldview?
- How does our worldview impact on the culture and educational task in the Christian school?
These are critical questions for us in a time when Christianity has become a marginalised faith not a mainstream belief in our wider society. Followers of Christ are seen as being out of step with modern life. Therefore, the articulation and the embodiment of a Christian worldview are foundational to effective education. We as teachers are in a unique role being carriers of culture as education does not occur in a vacuum. For education “is simply the soul of society as it passes from one generation to another” (Chesterton, 2020).
Christian teachers need to be aware and critique their own worldview, to ensure they can unfold God’s story to their students. As children grow and develop, teachers can either explicitly or implicitly engage them in new knowledge, insights and experiences that can modify or alter their worldview.
May our classes be rooms with a view where students are able to see the reality of their lives and the world they inhabit in the light of the life and mission of the Lord Jesus.
“The happy life consists simply in the possession with understanding of what is eternal” (Augustine & Howie, 1969, p. 8).
Grace and Peace
The Excellence Centre
- Goheen, M.W. & Bartholomew, C.G. (2008). Living at the Crossroads: An Introduction to Christian Worldview. Baker Academic
- Heslam, P.S. (1998). Creating a Christian Worldview: Abraham Kuyper’s lectures on Calvinism. Eerdmans Publishing
- Walsh, B.J. & Middleton, J.R. (1984). The Transforming Vision: Shaping a Christian Worldview. IVP Academic
- Chesterton, G.K. Quotes. (2020). BrainyQuote.com https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/gilbert_k_chesterton_104904