Test scores, grades, speed reading. These are the standards that many educators use to advertise excellence and determine educational goals. While we know that you know such measurements are not enough to go by, we also know we are not going to be able to escape the expectations of the current culture to produce strong performers.
But eventually, educators who work only for high test scores will be held accountable for students’ inability to think, to make good decisions, to solve problems, and to adopt right values. So the question becomes, “How do we get good performance results and at the same time teach discernment, comprehension, and thinking skills?”
The Levels of Learning
See how the levels of learning progress from simple facts to .
Probably the most effective way to teach is to ask questions. All kinds of questions. Begin with what the student knows and draw him on from there. Show him you are really interested in what he thinks. Ask questions like why? and what? Christ asked His disciples, “Whom do men say that I am?” He was getting at the reasons for serving Him. Christ finished His questioning of the disciples with an application question: “Whom do you say that I am?“ Students who not only know what they think but also can say why they think it are truly educated.
Asking questions teaches inductive reasoning, a life skill the student needs to solve problems and make independent decisions. If teaching revolves too much around telling a student facts, having him fill in the blanks, and then drilling those facts, the student is never required to analyze or apply what he learns. And the spark of interest dies. But when a child experiences the thrill of realizing that he can figure things out, he will become a lifelong learner.
“Everything I needed to know, I learned in kindergarten.“
Since learning comes in stages, providing rich experiences, building curiosity, and allowing discovery are essential to real learning. Not that the process should never be a challenge, of course. But teachers can do much to make things interesting. They can make their classroom say to children, “Come on in, we are going to have fun learning today.” Children who like to learn become adults who keep learning.
Christian education can lead the way here. Education is not Christian without the “transformation and renewing of the mind.” We teachers must model for students how biblical decisions are made. We can challenge their thinking and reasoning. We can demonstrate how to use what we know to make good choices.
The ministry of BJU Press is to provide every tool possible to help teachers do the important job part of their job—teaching children to think for themselves and giving them something to think about.