Monday, July 29, 2013

God's Vision for the Classroom

As I reflected on my previous post about traditional schooling I realized that there is such a contradiction between how God has designed us to be able to learn and comprehend things in such a variety of ways and the way this industrial style of educating only draws on one single form of intelligence.

The more I explore alternative ways of schooling, the more parallels I’ve encountered between the best learning environment and the way God has designed us to live. Let me explain…

One of the most proven ways to learn something is to experience it in a variety of ways, through different senses or intelligences. It was fitting that the devotional from Jesus Calling that I read this morning said this, “I (God) speak to you continually: through sights, sounds, thoughts, impressions, scriptures. There is no limit to the variety of ways I can communicate with you.” Amazingly I still manage to misinterpret or miss completely what He is trying to communicate to me. So, imagine how difficult it is for some students to understand concepts that they only experience in one way, offered to them using one sense, one form of intelligence. I wonder if God is disappointed when he has blessed us with such an intricate, unique human body, and we put constraints on what it can do. Do you know that we have over a dozen senses? Often we only give our body credit for five. Pretty incredible to think about!

Just observe the numerous ways we could appreciate a setting like the one pictured to the right.

Over time I think the industrial teaching strategies can numb the awareness we have of our surroundings.
Scary to think of an educational system that could actually diminish the range of our abilities.

There is another major aspect of learning missing from the traditional, industrial model of teaching and it happens to be the most accessible resource we have: The tool of collaboration and the strategy of learning and growing with and through those around us.

 It appears God agrees because Proverbs 27:17 states, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” In many places in the Bible we’re warned for the dangers of living in isolation, apart from guidance or support. We must allow students the opportunity to interact with and explore the world around them while sharing purposeful dialogue and conversation with peers. How can our children become a “city on a hill” or a lightbearer for the world if they don’t have an accurate understanding of the world around them?