Teaching and learning weave throughout everyone’s lives in formal and informal ways. In our churches, teaching and learning are sacred, weighty endeavors and the educators in our churches should have clear convictions about both theology and practice. Although aspects of a teacher’s craft may change over time, the God we serve is unchanging. The educational ministries in our churches should be filtered through this lens. To be good stewards of the students in our care, to teach them well about God’s truths, and to equip them to participate in His mission, we must understand why our teaching styles matter.
1. The Imago Dei Matters
The world is teeming with diversity. From plants, to animals, and to all things seen and unseen, the created order exists in a variety of colors, shapes, and other observable attributes. Man, the pinnacle of God’s creation, also is a creature of diversity. Though created in God’s very own image, the imago Dei is not a cookie-cutter or photocopied image bearer. Rather, each human possesses different qualities that reflect his Maker. Amid man’s logical, rational, and creative abilities exist many preferences and strengths. And since man is also fallen, weaknesses, hindrances, and other shortcomings also exist. No two people are alike; no two students are the same.
Student-focused teachers know their students. They understand students’ strengths and needs. They see the “baggage” students bring to the classroom and how it affects learning. They see beauty and value in their students’ uniqueness and they seek to meet their needs by teaching them in ways they can understand. They honor God by recognizing His handiwork and by valuing their students’ needs. Though this is challenging, time-consuming, and requires strategic creativity, student-focused teachers aren’t averse to this calling. Rather, student-focused teachers honor God well and are good stewards of their students when they meet them where they are and when they teach them about God’s truths in accessible and understandable ways.
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SOURCE: Christianity Today