Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Wednesday with Words: Teaching to Change Lives

I picked Teaching to Change Lives up off of my shelf again this week after talking with a friend.  It harkens back to John Milton Gregory's The Seven Laws of Teaching (full text here) which is also safely resting on my shelf.  This book shows up in quite a few places.   It is used in Trivium Mastery as the basis of her system for analyzing student understanding.  Mystie Winckler did a whole series of posts on this book back in 2012.  I guess maybe I should go back and read the original again!

Teaching to Change Lives doesn't really dwell on The Seven Laws - it is more of a jumping off point than an analysis of Gregory's thoughts.  The author has been a Bible teacher at a theological school for 30+ years so he has walked this road for quite a while.  He speaks specifically to teaching the Bible.  All of his thoughts come from classroom teaching and many of them are aimed at older learners but I still found it helpful. His insights and stories did impact the way I taught this week. Here are are a few of my favorite thoughts: 
Let me challenge you with a statement in Luke 6, from the last part of verse 40: "Everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher." 
Ummm  . . . this is why homeschooling is so overwhelming some days.  
In the search for good teachers, I always look for FAT people - those who are Faithful, Available and Teachable. 
That sounds like a pretty good way to choose teachers.  I guess that's why I keep getting signed up for this gig.  I love that he doesn't include know it all, smart or even experienced.  If you are teachable God will equip you. 

I love this one - instead of shushing kids - lets embrace their enthusiasm and point it towards Jesus.  

I think the following categories are helpful as we think about improving our teaching: 
You'll discover that some of your values and habits need to be retained.
Some of them need to be refined.
And some of them need to be rejected outright.
But we're all in the same boat because we are all in process.  (italics his)
Here is another quote I didn't realize was from this book. I have been misquoting it to my children (I say tool or toy to my kids).  This version is much more powerful.
"My parents taught us that everything in our home was either an idol or a tool." 
That could change your whole life!
But there is no growth, there is no development, there is no learning . . . without tension. Tension is absolutely indispensable to the process.  
To be sure, too much tension leads to frustration, stress and anxiety.  But too little tension produces apathy.   
Ahh. . . so the fact that I am avoiding it is a bad sign - right?  What if I really did embrace the tension and allow it to play its proper role in developing my children/students and myself.
What you are is far more important than what you say or do.  God's method is always incarnational. 
This is why they become like their teacher.

Honestly, this is one of the potential perks of homeschooling.  Since you are the parent there is a good chance that - with enough patience and prayer - you might just get to see where the bomb goes off.

It is not a difficult read and it has lots of good thoughts about the teaching process and what a fully equipped student looks like.

See what others are reading at Ladydusk.

1 comment:

  1. I like the FAT people bit. I inherited this book from some friends who moved overseas but haven't read it yet although I've heard some good things about the author..