What Does It Truly Mean to Teach?

Melissa Miller's picture

What Does It Truly Mean To Teach?

If learned, they did not, taught, you did not. This is how Bruce Wilkinson may have phrased his Law of the Learner had he chosen to reference Yoda.  One of his maxims is that “Teachers are responsible to cause their students to learn”. Does this surprise you?

Did you know that the same Hebrew word is translated “teach” in Deuteronomy 4:1 and translated “learn” in Deuteronomy 5:1? In other words, biblically, the two ideas are interconnected. Many of today’s teachers have the mindset that “If I dispense the material, it is the student’s responsibility to grasp and master the material”. This mindset is tragically the opposite of a biblical understanding of what it means to teach!

What would happen in our churches if we truly believed that our goal as Christian educators was to teach material until it was learned, and not merely “covered” material in Sunday School classes?

What would happen in our churches if we did not “write off” some children as “not grasping” the lesson and focused on reaching all the children in our classes?

What would happen if, when reviewing last week’s lesson and realizing how little (if any) material the children recalled, we’d scrap this week’s lesson and review last week’s, as necessary, until the children “got it’?

It is impossible to build on a foundation which has already collapsed. When children relate that they do not remember the story from the previous week, they present a teaching opportunity—an opportunity for review until mastery is achieved. Continuing a biblical narrative that a child has not yet learned is like explaining how to add double digit numbers to children who still have not mastered their basic addition facts. You will end with a frustrated and discouraged child.

May we all develop a passion to truly teach—to reach all of our students with the truth of the lesson which we relate to them, and to cause all of our students to learn, that we may truly teach as God desires us to teach.

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