Over the weekend I attended part of a conference with a focus on youth and children’s ministry. In a couple of the sessions the facilitators talked very much about teaching the bible to children. All in all, I have no issue with this. However, this got me thinking around education/teaching in the 21st Century.
Anyone who knows me, should know I can moan about our education system for hours on end. This thought, is not one of those moans. This is not about the educational system. This is around the easy societal mind set of what it means to teach. To teach is most commonly seen as passing your knowledge on to someone less superior/informed and often this is measured by age or education.
Particularly when it comes to children, we take this mentality to an extreme. So often, we easily assume they know nothing and we, everything. I once heard this rule of thumb which I find very helpful: Do not expect to little from children yet do not expect to much. For every person we must gage where they are at and work with them at the most appropriate level. Yet, I still do not think an authoritative teaching style is the most appropriate.
(Here I am being descriptive from my own experiences.)
The most learning I remember and had the biggest life impact on me were co-learning experiences between the ‘teacher’ and myself. The ‘teacher’ in these instances could literally be anyone. At these moments I was self-learning and the ‘teacher’ would just facilitate my growth.
The thought I would like to suggest is this. For real effective education/teaching we must shift from the mindset of the people in the know must give their knowledge to the people not in the know to the ideal of learning being facilitated on all levels, even to the point of the facilitator learning from the facilitated. I believe you can never force people to learn, they will not learn even if you try (again speaking from my own experience).
If we say that teaching is just aiding growth in knowing subject matter, how then, do we communicate knowledge which we desire to pass on in a natural and authentic way? How does this apply to the education system, church, establishments and households?
A final question I have is the link between post modernism and education/teaching/learning. In a world with some truth, fake truth, alternative truth, my truth and your truth. How and where does education fit in to a world where the perception of truth is changing?