If you revisit my framework for Christian pedagogy, you will see that my twenty principles are framed by three key biblical truths. Each of these speak of the nature implanted in us by our God. It is this nature that separates us from all other creatures. God made us as creatures who are:
Made to learn, and
Made for communion.
previous principles have reflected the first two aspects of our character that
reflect the nature of our God. We now turn to consider what education might
look like once we have given serious thought to this third aspect of character.
We were made by God for communion. So, the last six
principles in my pedagogical framework, are all concerned with how students and
staff in schools and classrooms, demonstrate rich communion with one
another shaped by our faith, trust in, and communion with God.
Principle 15 is a first principle for shaping a pedagogy that reflects God's character and his teaching. It is also one that is foundational for the building of the rich fellowship and community discussed above. We are to create classrooms where as teachers we:
"Demonstrate forgiveness and seek repentance in students as hearts are trained.”
As well, we seek to create classrooms where students demonstrate that they too can be repentant and also forgive others. This principle should be a critical part
of life within Christian schools. Our classrooms are to be places where
forgiveness is readily offered and repentance is demonstrated. For the Bible teaches that all have sinned and fall short of
the glory of God (Rom 3:23), and one day will face judgment (Matt 12:36; John16:8; 2 Cor 5:10). Hence, schools should be places where forgiveness and repentance are part of
daily life. So, we need to ask ourselves as teachers, how do we articulate and demonstrate these
key aspects of the character of believers, who know they fall short of the
expectations of God? Are our classrooms places that demonstrate students
and their teachers understand that all are in need of forgiveness and redemption?
But how do we demonstrate such aspects of character? In my book - ‘Pedagogy and Education forLife’ - I include a number of case studies that help teachers and students to discuss just how school and class communities can be places that demonstrate such biblical qualities. Some of life’s greatest lessons occur in the midst of disappointments and failure. School communities centred on a biblical understanding of personhood, will deal with disappointment, failure, and distress in a different way. How well teachers deal with such failures in their students is critical, for every event of this kind is an opportunity for student learning and growth. Teachers are to set strong examples as people who can model how broken relationships can be restored, forgiveness offered and restitution made. An important part of the teacher’s role, requires a willingness to train and encourage students to forgive one another.
In my next post, I will deal with Principle 16 ‘Does my classroom model and promote self-sacrifice and generosity?’