One truth about education that educators, parents and church leaders need to understand is that one’s philosophy of education determines everything that goes on in the educational process. You need to take note that I did not say that the “school’s” philosophy of education determines what takes place when educating our children.
Christian schools usually have a philosophy statement that they have thoughtfully put together. You can find them in the school’s accreditation manuals and various handbooks. However, many times these statements have very little influence in what is actually taking place at the school.
This is because every administrator and teacher has his or her own philosophy of education. It is the individual’s philosophy that actually determines what takes place in the classroom, on the athletic field or during the fine arts production.
We must understand that there are only two possible philosophies of education that a person can have. They will either have a biblical philosophy of education or a secular one. There is a need for Christian school leaders to be more intentional in making sure that every staff member knows, understands and is committed to a biblical philosophy of education.
Christian educators can know and love the Lord. They can be deeply committed to the cause of Christian education. However, at the same time, they can operate from a purely secular philosophy of education. It may have a Christian veneer to it, but the teacher’s fundamental beliefs about education may be completely secular.
I was attending a Christian school administrators’ meeting a couple of years ago. During the lunchtime we were discussing various things that we were facing at our schools. I took the opportunity to ask the men and women at my table this question.
What are you intentionally doing to make sure every one of your teachers knows and operates from a biblical philosophy of education?
I was shocked to learn that not one of the six school leaders at the table was doing anything to make sure this was taking place. One administrator shared that his school didn’t do any specific training but they “talked about it all the time” so his teachers understood it.
I was reminded of the old spiritual that states, “Everybody talking about heaven, ain’t going there.” If Christian schools are going to survive the challenges facing us today, school leaders must be intentional in providing their staffs with ongoing training on a biblical philosophy of education. Of course, this will require that our teachers are continually developing a strong biblical worldview (see last week’s blog post).
The reason why so many Christians do not seed the need to provide their children with a biblical education is because they operate from a secular philosophy of education. This is true for many Christian educators and it results in Christian schools operating like any other secular schools.
When I talk with pastors, parents and educators about education, I do not get into debates about “where” our children should go to school. I focus on “how” God wants us to educate our children. I am constantly asking the question, are you willing to address the issue of education biblically? This is something every Christian must take seriously.
August was a busy month for me as I crisscrossed my way around our country and provided in-service for 16 schools. I had the privilege of challenging over 500 Christian schoolteachers, administrators and board members on the need to develop a strong biblical philosophy of education. It was exciting to see these servants of the Lord get a renewed sense of purpose as they prepared for a new school year.
What about you? Have you addressed the issue of education biblically? As you develop a biblical worldview, how is it changing your understanding of education? Will you be intentional in making sure you are operating from a biblical philosophy of education? We must understand a biblical philosophy of education and then apply it in our homes, churches and schools as we strive to raise the next generation to think and act from a biblical worldview.