A remarkable student just finished taking the course teaching values, Christian (EDU 923C at www.ce.fresno.edu/cpd/dale-knepper.mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
). She is a native Nigerian who taught children in Moscow, Russia and then came to the USA. She now teaches in Georgia. Her end of the course evaluation said several remarkable things. Among them was a statement about being encouraged to teach her deeply held values.
Education of children is all about character education, whether or not it is called such. A teacher cannot teach without a classroom atmosphere built upon some level of mutual respect. That cannot happen without reference to character building on a moment to moment basis.
Character is all about what principles we choose to value. When we value things that do not turn out so well, we look for other principles that seem to work. This takes time and effort out of our lives that we can never get back. So, when we locate these values, they are precious to us. This is so true to us that we dearly hope to pass them on to our students. It becomes a gift of our heart to their souls.
The course EDU 923C is all about teaching ways of thinking, principles, that are based upon Biblical principles and thus build Biblical faith in students. My student is a Christian of deep faith. She was engaged by the principles discussed and she made full use of them in her study. That is why she was encouraged.
We can all take encouragement from her experience. The government might try to separate church from state. But, it can never separate faith from state. That is because whatever we believe we cannot help but express in word and deed.
God bless you and your beloved.
There is an ancient argument between those who favor inductive teaching (such as with inquiry) and those who favor deductive teaching (such as with lecture and text books). Today, Common Core authors clearly have indicated the inductive approach. This goes along nicely with the sort of investigation done in the scientific method.
In the Value Lessons of the Fresno Pacific University courses (Values with Critical Thinking EDU 923 and Values Education: Christian EDU 923C) a combination of these two methods are used, inductive and deductive.
In each value lesson, there is a story, or parable, if you will. From this a fundamental principle is drawn. There is then a learning objective written. Here, the concept of the fundamental principle is blended with the final goal in the creative last step of what we term, "The Check for Understanding Exercise." This is that part of the lesson which is inductive. So, the deductive transitions into an inductive process.
The learning objective opens the door to four steps of the higher level thinking skills of Bloom's Taxonomy of Knowledge: analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and creativity. These are steps taken in the process of the Check for Understanding Exercise. Students are taken through the open ended questions which progress sequentially upwards through Bloom's to culminate in an educational product.
That educational product also takes the value choices involved in each lesson and guides them into an educational product that can be assessed. Thus, affective education has become effective education.
Two parables have been written with value lessons attached for you to preview. They follow the same process used in my courses and they are free for the taking if you find them useful. The latest is called "The Parable of the Shoes that Don't Fit" and is an original story based on a conclusion drawn from Christ's two parables of the new and old cloth and the story of the new and old wine skins. The earlier parable is the original parable is of the risen Christ, the Parable of the Sower.
Please check out the processes used, the content used, and see if there are good ideas you might be able to use. Go to www.straightpaths.typepad.com. The posts are dated July, 2014.
Back in the day of the "hippie" revolution, the 1960's and early 1970's, there was a popular bumper sticker with the caption "question authority." The hippies successfully, it seems, took their motto and used it for demonstrations of all sorts to overthrow the established philosophy of education.
They grew up from being immature youngsters who would not trust anyone over the age of 30 until they reached that age. They became the new leaders of education, business, politics, entertainment, and so on.
Now, the old hippies are in charge. They questioned authority so much that they replaced the long established moral priniciple with relative values. Now, one person's values are as "valuable" as another's. Conflict is harder to resolve. That is because there are multiple values of equal "value" rather than a recognized principle that really works.
A person in authority only has it so that they can carry out responsiblity that matches it. If they are responsible, then they must have authority to meet it. If they have authority then they have responsibility to use it responsibly.. Responsibility and authority are two sides of the same coin. You cannot effectively have one without the other. Although they are very different, they work together.
If the authority is based only upon the relative values, then, because the responsibility is only as stable as the value choices that form its foundation, the results are more in question. If authority is based upon choices to value self-evident principles, then that authority and responsiblity will more likely be reliable and therefore successful.
Questioning authority is self-destructive. Questioning the nature of authority is absolutely unwise. That does not mean that the person in authority cannot be questioned. It does not mean that rules cannot be questioned. It does mean that the nature of authority and responsibility is a principle that works. It is the basis of achieving with less chaos.
Our society, I believe, is in a greater state of chaos than in previous generations. We cannot return to the past. However, we can return to valuing the principles that really work.
There is indeed a cultural struggle going on today in world society. America is included in that struggle. It shows up in the education of our children as well. Well meaning people struggle with each other, all of whom love children, all of whom have differing experiences. Thus, their ideas and ideals conflict.
What is to follow is advocacy in favor of the basic and fundamental belief that people have purpose. That people are more important than things in that things should serve people, not the other way around. Therefore, education as an institution is a thing. We should not be, as educators, in the business of furthering our own agendas, (which are also things) at the expense of the children and the families we serve.
It would seem that the philosophy of self-esteem would serve the child. Now, I am not talking about actual self-esteem which we all need. I am referring to a philosophy which replaces the need for religion to be a moral guide of children in school. That philosophy, as it is being carried out in the public schools today, is a morally destructive force because it is based on half truths. It harms genuine moral development of true virtue in a person. However, the philosophy of self esteem functions to validate the beliefs of those educators which establish their power by opposing the older formerly established group of educators that used religion as a basis of public morality.
The half truths are too many to recount here. However, let us consider a few basic ones. First, self-esteem as a philosophy was described and put forward as suggested policy for education in the State of California in a book entitled, Toward a State of Esteem. It was publiched in 1990 and established a platform for the use of a philosphy of self-esteem as public education policy.
The faults of this philosophy were described in a post on another blog, www.straightpaths.typepad.com. I will only mention some faulty concepts of that philosophy here and refer you to that post for more information.
First, in the philosphy of self-esteem, obviously, the focus is on self. From the self central outlook, there is a call to be responsible toward others, but not on an equal basis. Here is a fundamental half truth. Self is indeed important. That is the truth part. But the untrue part is to say that our need to be responsible should be fundamentaly self serving. We do benefit others when we are responsible. However, the outlook of self-esteem does not place equal emphasis on the needs of others. Selfl-esteem is always by definition self central.
This self central viewpoint is the source of all sorts of failures to achieve the stated goals of this philosophy of self-esteem. To give positive answers, let's start by remembering the strengths from which we come.
First, if we will do unto others as we would have them do unto us, then we put others on equal footing with ourselves. This is the true begining of being responsible to others and "earns the right" to ask others to perform their duty to be respnsible to us. This cooperative viewpoint lifts us above being self central. It does not make others greater than we are. It does work to establish trust between us and others. Without mutual trust there is no ongoing working relationship. Without relationship there is no cooperation, no learning, no....you name it.
Second, if we will re-establish the idea of ideals, knowing that even if we fall short, we will have achieved far more than if we had been afraid to even try. If we forgive ourselves too easily of failing, then failing becomes a habit excused.
So, let us look to people whom we admire, try to locate the secrets of their success, and then go exploring ways to not simply be content with sowing seeds but be gratified by eating the fruit.
Third. If we will accept first the human dignity of others before recognizing our own but doing both, we will establish the ability to not only appreciate ourselves but others as well. And, then, if we will see that as mutual respect, then we will see that we do not have to take respect away from someone else in order to have our own.
There are so many other aspects to the philosophy of self-esteem that book after book could be written on them. These are only three key answers to fundamental weaknesses of the stated philosophy as it first appeared in the book Toward a State of Esteem.
In the next post we will look at the idea "question authority".
The nature of the problem facing the faith of our children is found in Genesis 3:1. "Indeed, has God said, "You shall not eat from any tree in the garden?'" And in Genesis 3:4 and 5, "The serpent said to the woman, 'You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'" (NASB version)
In the first statement, Satan is questioning the authority of God in the eyes of Eve. "Indeed, has God said....?" Questioning the authority of God in education has been the theme of agnostics and atheists. They have used Darwin's theory of evolution to justifiy their exclusion of God's authority. This has been the reasoning for changing the use of the "separation of church and state" concept. It turned from protecting the church from the state into protecting the state from the church.
The second quote above shows how Satan has used half-truth to replace whole truth with the results being tragic. Satan was correct in saying that the woman would know both good and evil if she ate from the fruit of the tree of life. The whole truth was that she would now die a mortal death and suffer a spiritual death in separation from fellowship with God.
In today's American public educational environment, reliance on Biblical standards and logic has been replaced. Now, humanistic morays are centered on the idea of "self-esteem."
Self-esteem is essential in the well-being of any person. However, life is greater than our own self-contained conscience, than our own subjective truths. Thus, using self-esteem as the basis of a philosophy is a sort of half-truth. And, self-esteem is the essence of the public education system's replacement for the traditional Biblical philosophy based upon the golden rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
The golden rule included respect for others as being as important as your-self. Self-esteem only asks you to be empathetic toward others. Here I am referencing the "habits of mind" which are part of the Common Core State Standards.
Common Core State Standards and their implementation documents thus far have not addressed "values" education or "character" education. The "habits of mind" comment includes a list of 17 items. They can be categorized as mostly "work ethic" as opposed to relationship ethic. The one "habit of mind" that seems to come truly close to morality is that one suggesting that students listen with empathy toward others. The character building aspect of education, the nurturing element of schooling has apparently been left to the teachers to provide from their own resources, as long as those do not violate "separation of church and state."
The assault on our children's faith, in any form, is the replacement of God's truth with deception and half-truth.
There was an old hymn, "Faith of Our Fathers." The chorus said, "Faith of our fathers, holy faith, we will be true to thee till death...." I feel the same way. I have wondered in awe of the sight of the rebirth of the Holy Spirit into the life of a young person. Much more could be said about that. However, we are concerned today about the threats that would use the public school system to rob that child of their faith.
These threats are not new. Way back in the day of Horace Mann, that great evangelist, not of Christ, but for public education, in which the Bible was allowed but not taught as such.
Mann promised that public education was a safe environment for parents to entrust their children's minds. The phrase people used then was, "In loco parentis." That means "in place of the parent." It was the parent who would have final authority over the education of their own child.
The early 1900's were a turning point. There was a gradual turning away from "in loco parentis" to a new saying today, "Parens patria." That means that the state, or government, is legally the parent when it comes to education. Thus, rights of control over education of children have been turned away from the parent and to the government.
We see this in evidence today. Now the religion recognized in schools is a "civil religion." That is, it is a set of beliefs founded upon law that we often call the "education code."
The code of education, even in public schools, during the 1800's was based upon the moral code of the 10 commandments, upon the concept of Christ's statement, "you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." It was understood that the standard guideline was the golden rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." All of these are Biblical bases for morality and for the relationships so necessary for education of skills and content information to occur.
These would support a child's faith in God, in the Word of God, and would not grieve the Holy Spirit. Today's civil religion is founded upon a denial of the authority of the Word of God.
What do these threats look like today and how do we address them? That will be the subject of the next post in the series: "Faith of our Children, Holy Faith."
People are more important than things because things should serve people, not the other way around. Usually, one might think of things as being physical possessions. However, things also include organizations, laws, curriculum, paradigms, etc.
One day Jesus and his disciples were walking through a field, picking the grain off of the stalk and eating it. Some religious authorities, observing this, criticized Jesus and his disciples for doing this because it happened to be the Sabbath day. People were forbidden to work on the Sabbath and picking grain was considered work. Jesus replied that, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath." (Mark 2:27, KJV)
So, the law was made by God for the benefit of people, not the other way around. What this does is to suggest several very important things for education. Among these things is the concept that there are things of truth that matter to humans such that people need to discover them. The Creator's principles are certainly at the top of the list.
Another thing is that the principle of resting on the Sabbath was valued differently by Jesus versus the religious authorities. The religious authorities would have people serve the law but Christ put the law in service to people. so, the religious authorities would value the Sabbath principle so that things are more valuable than people. However, Christ's view was that people are more important than things.
The exception being, that people are not more important than God, because God is not a thing, He is the original Person. And, people are created in the image of God. That is why, I believe, that God creating things to serve people.
This leads us to a logical conclusion that we can apply to education. That is to say, that we can reckon logically that there are both such things as values and such things as principles. Principles, such as the Sabbath day, work independently whether or not they are valued. Values are choices on whether or not and also how we choose to value a particular principle.
That may clarify a certain amount of confusion if we stop using both terms, values and principles, to mean the same thing. Values are choices. Principles are truths that work independently of those value choices. However, they are used in conjunction as values are attached to principles. This might help educators simply both working with colleagues and with students.
People are more important than things. I believe God created His principles to operate in such a way as to benefit people if people including educators, will take time to discover them and to choose to value them skillfully and with diligence. I believe Solomon called that process "wisdom".
These concepts are taught in the courses at Fresno Pacific University. ce.fresno.edu/cpd/dale-knepper And, the course materials have been simplified for youth workers and parents but are still very useful for teachers. This material is found in the short 72 page book called, "Teaching Children to Value Principles". You can check it out at createspace.com/3989747.
This is the first in a series of articles related to the topic of "teaching children to value principles."
Please check out my Dale Knepper facebook page to read the comment on the four blood moons. It is not an educational topic in terms of curriculum or pedagogy. However, it is Christian logic based upon scripture that, I beleive, forms the basis of true wisdom. That is because, as Proverbs says, the "fear of God is the beginning of wisdom".
We can argue back and forth about which values are more important. We can differ on what principles look like. And, we can question each others validation for what we say. However, there is no greater validation than fulfilled prophesy in God's Word, the Bible. The Book of Joel has within it historically established fulfilled prophesy in chapter two, verses 28 and 29 in that these were fulfilled at the day of Pentecost recorded in Acts chapter 2. Joel goes on to prophesy in the very next verses 30, 31..
These verses refer to the connection of blood moons to smoke rising and the sun darkening. This speaks of conflict in which they smoke can be visualized to be so great as to darken the sight of the sun. And, these blood moons have been connected to the Jewish people. In 1492 there were four blood moons on the Jewish holidays and in that year the Jews were subjected to the Spanish inquisition. If I am not mistaken, people were burned at the stake. In 1948 there were four blood moons and the Jews established the State of Israel. In 1967 there were four blood moons and the Jewish State of Israel fought a six day war in which they conquered the West Bank which had been part of ancient Israel, the Golan Heights, the Sinai Peninsula, and all of Jerusalem. In the next year and 1/2 there will be four blood moons, all occuring on Jewish high holidays of Passover and the Feast of the Tabernacles. There is therefore a presumed likelyhood of another significant event connected to Israel.
Our understanding of the world that surrounds us is the fundamental content of all education. The reasons why we would want to know those things can either be based upon our proud introspective concern for self or upon our humble understanding that we are not the center of the universe. God is. Based upon that premise, we look for the signs that God provides to illuminate our soul. That is the reason for the comment on Facebook.
Thank goodness that while there may be legal statutes to separate church and state, there is no ability of law that can separate faith from state.
Faith can be defined as many things. One translation of scripture states that "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1, KJV)Hope is the ultimate location of the goals teachers have for their class. Faith is not only the substance of that hope, it is the series of steps needed to reach that goal. We must not only have faith in the value of the goal but also faith that the steps we take will truly lead us there.
However, the value of faith is not located only in its usefulness. The value of faith also comes from its source. If the source of our faith is in human beings, it is fallible. Human beings are both needy and flawed. Faith in humans is the source of the best that some folks hope for. Others of us find faith in something greater than ourselves. We find it both in the fear of and the love for God and His Word, the Bible.
In business there was a term, "value added". It meant that if you took a raw material, such as the wool right off of the sheep, it had a certain amount of money value. If, however, you bleached the wool, it would be more useful because it was being prepared for the next step in some end product, such as a blanket or a sweater. Therefore, value was added to the wool because now it was bleached. You could sell it for a higher price than before. There were other steps, such as dying the wool, spinning it into thread, weaving it into cloth, etc. Each step added monetary value to the wool until it was transformed into the final product for retail sale.
Our faith is like "value added." Our personal faith in what we are doing adds all kinds of value to what we are teaching, whether it be subject matter or skills. Our personal faith in why we do it justifies to ourselves and to our students the reasons why things should be learned.
Faith can also include trust in Christ, Who is greater than we are, so that what we do has eternal value. That value is so fullfilling to us. We can see it in the faces of our "kids", can't we? They feel a love that is beyond our own. They see a wisdom that is greater than ours. They see a faithfulness to our commitments that goes beyond our ability. They probably don't realize that what they are seeing is not simply us, but they are seeing the results of the Holy Spirit within us.
Yes, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1, KJV)
(These concepts are found in the two courses taught by this writer at Fresno Pacific University, http://ce.fresno.edu/cpd/dale-knepper.) They are also found in the book Teaching Children to Value Principles, www.createspace.com/3989747.
We are taught much about the processes of learning achievement. We are reminded much less about bonding with students to prepare them for the achievement in learning.
The learning relationships needed for success in the classroom are based upon principles that work, whether or not we value them. If we identify good principles and then choose to value them by being faithful to them, we know that good success will follow. This is not a secret, but perhaps it is a truth that has slipped from the front of our minds to a dark corner in the backroom recesses of our minds.
Today, it seems, we are all about results that can be tested. However, the results are only the end product of a long series of steps directed to objectives. Would we be better served by taking care of our motivations and the motivations of our students when we begin that series of steps? Certainly.
I join those who contend that the primary motivation for learning in the classroom is the relationship between those who teach and those who learn. I join those who go on to propose that this is true whether the teacher acts as the lecturer or as the coach.
The learning relationship cannot be established without understanding something of the principles of achievement and of relationship. Learning is an achievement. From the earliest stages of life, human learning is often in the form of modeling. Modeling is learning by relationship. Thus, learning is an achievement based upon relationship to another person.
Someone else once said that there are only two things you can do when you are awake. You can achieve some thing or you can relate to someone. Most often these two principles interact with each other. But, we can still tell the difference between the two.
We know this, right? Why, then, do we face such difficulties in discipline issues such that we are largely impeded in our efforts to effect learning? Why, then, do we presume that bonding has taken place in our classrooms so that we can proceed directly to achievement?
Today, we are being told, that teaching should be more like coaching with the teacher being more like a facilitator rather than being a lecturer. Well, then, coaches, real ones, will tell you that to learn effectively, you must learn and practice, practice, practice the fundamentals.
OK, educators, how about practicing the activities of daily care for the human dignity and welfare of the students in our room? Are we not exercised on processes such as checking for understanding? Are we not drilled on ways to engage our students? But, how much space is given in the teaching manuals for ways of giving evidence to our students that we actually care about them?
Are we instucted that putting down other student's (ranking) on them is a form of bullying? OK. Then, are we instructed on how to correct students without crushing their spirit? How often is this mentioned?
Are we advised to greet students at the door by name so that they hear their name in a positive tone at least once that day?
Are we guided to kneel by a student's desk so that we can speak to them eye to eye rather than stand and look down on them?
Are we led to see profanity as the destruction of human dignity and given that as a reason to quell it in our own mouths as well as in our students?
What other techniques might you suggest to demonstrate care to our students?
It is time to "call you out". By that, I mean that it is time to challege you to find ways to demonstrate care for students so as to motivate them to model your passion for your subject matter and skills.
It is time for you to challenge me as well.