As I’m currently looking for additional teaching opportunities on the collegiate and graduate level, several school have required that I submit a one-page philosophy of education. Sometimes I think that few people involved in their area of vocational pursuit — even ministry — have taken the time to consider the philosophy behind doing what they do. Philosophy precedes process and process precedes product, so I think that developing a sound philosophy should be a priority for all of life’s pursuits from marriage to family to work to recreation to entertainment and more.
With that in mind, I’m going to post my (extremely) brief philosophy of education that I’ve been submitting to the Christian universities and colleges with which I’ve been dialoguing. It is certainly not exhaustive, but it a condensed precis of my larger view of the underpinnings of the educational process.
A proper philosophy of education begins with an acknowledgment that Truth exists and education is the process whereby we uncover Truth. Gaebelein noted that, “all truth is God’s truth.” The professional educator with a Biblical worldview should see Truth as the source, object and goal of the educational process. The teacher is the guide between the student and Truth and pedagogy is the conduit that the professional educator uses to connect the student to Truth.
A Biblical philosophy of education should be holistic and should encompass the head, heart and hands. Whether dealing with the psychomotor, cognitive or affective domains, the teacher must challenge the student – through pedagogy, curriculum, methodology, philosophy and application – to consider the Source, the consequences and the potential of Truth across the academic disciplines. A sound curriculum exalts God in that His character and nature are revealed in Creation and knowledge. Indeed, the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” and our life meets God’s plan and purpose for His creation when we “acknowledge Him in all our ways.” It is not enough to teach students what they should know or even how to use educational objectives and truths, but they should be instructed to use them in ways that glorify the Author and fulfills His plans for their lives.
Even in a secular or public arena, a philosophy of education based on a core belief that there is a God and that He matters (absolute Truth) will change the dynamics of how a curriculum is approached without having to be overtly parochial. Indeed, instruction offered by an instructor with a Biblical worldview will note the attributes of order, purpose, design and affect that all lead to the conclusion that “chance” is an insufficient explanation for what we observe in and know about creation.
Every facet of education, should be driven by sound philosophy and encompasses the spectrum from curriculum to pedagogy to discipline to communication to evaluation and more. What one accepts as Truth will determine one’s philosophy. Philosophy drives principle. Principle leads to application. Application influences behavior. Thus outcomes and Truth are intrinsically interconnected. Behavior is reflective of our beliefs.
A Biblical view of education requires more than a good curriculum or even noble objectives. It demands a fundamental commitment to and knowledge of the Word of God as the foundation for all that the educator seeks to accomplish.