As we prepare for another school year, it is good to remember that our students are individuals created in the image of God. In his book, Teaching Redemptively, Donovan Graham outlines six characteristics of God that are reflected in the lives of students. According to Graham, learners who reflect God are:
- active and purposeful
- free and responsible
- faithful (which Graham describes as acting on what one believes, regardless of the truth of that belief).
If this is true, what are the implications this should have on our teaching practice? How do we as teachers recognize and call forth the image of God in our students? How should this affect the way we structure our classroom rules and procedures? The way we organize our curriculum? The manner in which we present information?
For many of us, we instinctively – or perhaps more accurately, we allow the Holy Spirit in us to – arrange our classrooms in ways that recognize these principles. We have classrooms that encourage our students to be active participants in their own learning; that teach them how to make wise decisions and live with the consequences (both positive and negative); and that inspire creativity and rational thought. But are we sharing with our students why we do this? Do we engage our colleagues in discussions about how our worldview affects our teaching? Have we examined our practice to see if there are blind spots in what we do?
We’d love to know some of the ways you integrate this faith principle in your classrooms in a practical way. We’ll share some of your ideas in future posts.