Because life is a series of edits

Jerry Maguire Moment on Education

In Calling, Thought on March 7, 2007 at 2:00 am

One of my favorite scenes in the movie Jerry Maguire is at the very beginning of the film when, on a drunken binge, Jerry (played by Tom Cruise) writes and publishes his thoughts for all to read in an essay titled "The Things We Think and Do Not Say" concerning his profession as a sports attorney. (Note: If you have the time, read the essay, as it really is a wonderful piece written by Cameron Crowe, one of my favorite screenwriters.)

Though I wasn't drunk, nor did I write this all in one sitting, here is one of my own Jerry Maguire moments on the topic of education, submitted as part of a recent teaching application asking for my philosophy of education:

"Daniel 1:17 says, 'As for these four youths (Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah), God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.'

This passage has always been a motivating one for me concerning my own education, as well as that of others. Because I believe that God is the source of all true education, I believe that true education is to cover all of life, with the end result being not merely good grades, but adequate understanding and willing submission for the sake of the Kingdom.

I believe that good education cannot happen without inspiration; that it is made up of both formal and informal instruction; that it is to be as experiential as it informational; that it is not enough to teach what to think, but rather how to think; that it requires both individual discipline and community accountability; and that indeed, 'The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.' (Proverbs 1:7)

My personal feeling is that students only respond to what is asked of them, and my observation is that we often don’t ask enough, at least in terms of deeper things. Our culture certainly asks (demands) of their time, their money, etc., but the culture will never ask to care about them, and I believe having the confidence to ask for this privilege – and then honoring it by being trustworthy – is one to which students respond.

In light of this, three practical teaching goals I strive to reach in teaching are to 1) avoid any appearance of deception; 2) use language that is both age- and audience-appropriate; and 3) teach application as the inevitable outcome of good biblical theology. In addition, cultural awareness with the goal of being conversant in a variety of topics students are interested in is a good idea, as is the creation of shared experiences that model acceptance and understanding alongside standing for truth and offering it to others."
I could always write more, but with regard to teaching and learning, this is the gist for me.

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