Philosophy of Education
In addition to the Curricula, which are listed in the tabs to the left, there is one more objective I have added to my courses so as to better perform the role of a Christian educator. A worrying statistic, to all of us I am sure, is the Christian “drop-out” rate among students attending post-secondary institutions. The drop-out rate to which I am referring is not the one that we would traditionally ascribe to post-secondary institutions, that of educational drop-out, rather, it is the student drop-out rate for Christianity itself. At present, fully half of students who attend Christian high schools leave the faith while attending post-secondary institutions (whether religious or publicly based), primarily because they are not prepared to defend themselves and their faith. We have long believed that by creating a safe Christian atmosphere, or “protective bubble” if you will, would ultimately cement their faith in their youth and that they would then be able to defend themselves as adults, however, statistically we are now wrong to assume so for half of our children. Therefore I have resolved to be part of the solution.
I view teaching as I do gardening. Anyone who has ever attempted to grow plants which are sensitive, or have a longer growing season than the region in which they reside, knows that you have to start growing them inside. Inside the house they thrive. A climate controlled environment, in which intensively cared for by loving hands, helps them to get the start that would ultimately be impossible otherwise. Such has been the nature of Christian parenting and schooling. It is of paramount importance though that we then acknowledge what happens if we then take that vibrant, thriving, and outwardly strong plant from the house and put it in the garden straight. In the best case scenario; that plant will be temporarily stunted and then precede to thrive, of course this assumes that a spot is cleared and cultivated for it to put down its roots, again requiring care in the planting. Worst case; it wilts and then dies. In an effort to avoid such a harsh transition, gardeners will go though a painstaking and difficult process known as “hardening off”, whereby a person gradually exposes the tender plants to wind, sun and rain and toughens them up.
Unlike plants, which have neither the freedom to choose, nor the wherewithal to understand the concept of choice in its location, people do make choices. While the benefits of this God-given opportunity are numerous, after all you enrolled your child here by choice, the drawbacks can be equally as numerous. A plant, after all, can not decide when it thinks it should be placed in the garden, however, teenagers frequently make such choices. Maybe not in drastic fashion at first, perhaps only in little ways, but eventually the external influences that once meant so much to them wane in their power, and if the values have not been internalized, they too will wane in importance to the teenager. Therefore I propose to “harden off” students, while still maintaining our values and the safety net of guided learning, before they decide to throw off the external influences of their life and plant themselves in the garden amongst the weeds. I therefore choose to take my inspiration for this methodology from 1 Peter 1:3-25:
3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
10Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.
13Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."
17Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. 18For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
22Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24For,
"All men are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
25but the word of the Lord stands forever." And this is the word that was preached to you.
It is therefore my goal to provide students with the armour of Jesus Christ so that they may not only defend themselves and their faith, but also perform the apologetics demanded of them by God. As such I am reminded of Ecclesiastes 7:15-20:
15-17 I've seen it all in my brief and pointless life—here a good person cut down in the middle of doing good, there a bad person living a long life of sheer evil. So don't knock yourself out being good, and don't go overboard being wise. Believe me, you won't get anything out of it. But don't press your luck by being bad, either. And don't be reckless. Why die needlessly? 18 It's best to stay in touch with both sides of an issue. A person who fears God deals responsibly with all of reality, not just a piece of it. 19 Wisdom puts more strength in one wise person than ten strong men give to a city. 20 There's not one totally good person on earth, not one who is truly pure and sinless.
On a final note: I have always found learning and teaching to be a central part of my life, and in accordance with that fact, I am compelled remember that all teachers must also be students, just as Jesus was. Luke 2:52 – 52And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
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