It would not be fair to say that I came up with all of this sitting on my couch one night. In fact these philosophies come from the influence of all the special people in my life; my family, friends, colleagues, teachers and students. As well the following books have been very influential in forming my philosophy.
Gaebelein, Frank E. Toward a philosophy of Christian Education. 1964. ChicagoIllinois:
Moody Press
Knight, George R. Philosophy and Education: An introduction in Christian Perspective. .
1989. Berrien Springs, Michigan: Andrews University Press. 
Oppewal, Donald. Biblical Knowing and Teaching. 1985. Grand Rapids, Michigan:
Calvin College. 

Social Function of School

The first social function of the school is to pass on the legacy of Christianity. In pursuing that goal students should develop other-centeredness or selflessness following Christ’s “Great Commandment” to love one another. The school should provide a framework for students to serve others demonstrating agape love. The school should also build in the student a character of personal responsibility. The school should have strict rules of conduct. I believe this helps students to be better citizens of the world and will move
them toward the ultimate goal – imago dei.

I value experiences and anything that can bring me closer to truth and God. All sources of knowledge and experience are complimentary. They all lead to the truth. These experiences exist in art, religion, and science. Performing on stage, creating a work of art, attending a prayer service or discovering new laws of nature are all links to divine revelation. These are important experiences that bring us closer to the truth. As we live these experiences and discover the knowledge, we come closer so that when we die we will be ready for the final revelation and become reunited with God, with the Image of God.

Content of the Curriculum

When dealing with content I focus first on one fact:  “All truth is God’s Truth… truth in all fields stems from him.”(Knight, 1989. p 206) God reveals his truths in all subjects, not just religion. When looking at curriculum it is important to realize that knowledge can come from God even if not actually discussed by God in scripture. Since we are dealing with a unified whole of all truth, integration of Christianity and academic subjects occurs naturally and should not be forced. Knowledge sources are complimentary as should the curriculum in order to develop the whole person, including the body and the soul. Art shows what lies in the heart. Sports ministers to the body. However, critical thinking is the most important part of the curriculum for a student. The ability to analyze information and form an opinion about it is a critical life skill necessary for success. This is necessary in order to restore imago dei. Christian Aesthetics should balance the tension between showing good and evil since this struggle is a part of life.

Methods of Instruction

Christ is the example of teaching in terms of methodology and meaningful interpersonal relationships. (Knight, 1989. p 195) Christian Epistemology deals with the way people come to know things. This therefore has a direct effect on the selection of teaching methodologies. (Knight, 1989. p 169) Teachers should utilize those methodologies that will further the goal of returning to imago dei.

The bible gives us two methodologies: Old Testament Methodology, which captivates naturally curious minds when they are ready and New Testament Methodology, Parable illustration that uses great story telling allowing listeners to use inductive reasoning to draw their own conclusions.

New Testament theory is followed by putting what you have learned into practice. This is an example of The Cognitive Learning Theory which views learning as an active mental process of acquiring, remembering, and using knowledge. Learning is evidenced by a change in knowledge which can lead to a change in behavior. This idea also borrows from Constructivism. Constructivism is the theory that students learn by building upon what they already know. They construct ideas from their own experiences. As the teacher it is my job to create the possibility for those experiences to occur. I think that this is best expressed by the three stage methodology of commitment and responsible action as put forth by Donald Oppewal – consider, choose, commit.  

Role of The Teacher

The Role of the teacher is primarily one of ministry. Teachers should be “Expounders of truth… who have an abiding care for [their students.]” (Knight,1989. p 195) Knight suggests the “Lost” parables are particularly relevant to the role of teacher. (p 196) The teacher is the one who seeks and attempts to save that which is lost, to become an agent of salvation. It is the duty of the teacher to live in harmony with God, continue developing mentally, and to maintain physical health and balance in life. It is also for the role of the teacher to include companionship in work and play with students.

The Nature of The Student

The nature of the student lies in Imago Dei. “The function of Christian education is Redemption the goal being the restoration of imago dei the image of God in the student.” (Knight, 1989. p 194) Everything regarding the student is influenced by this truth. The body and the soul bear equal weight in Christianity. On cannot exist without the other. Balance between Physical, Spiritual, Social, and Mental is the ideal. This balance needs to be addressed in education. People can reason and therefore can make rational, moral decisions. This places responsibility on a person for their actions. Education needs to prepare students for this responsibility. The basic struggle for the student is just as it always has been – the tension between good vs. evil. However, in pursuing this goal, educators need to respect human individuality without losing site of the value of the group.

The Purpose of Education

The purpose of education lies in our purpose in life. According to Knight (1989, p
194), if our ultimate goal is to be restored to the image of God, then our educational
purpose is to help our students to do the same. As a means to that end the purpose of
education should be to develop reason in order for students to be able to make moral
decisions. The Christian world is an internal world, one in which immoral thoughts are as
abhorrent as the acts themselves. Christian Education needs to give a framework to
understanding the ethics behind these acts. In the end it is the goal to have students who
show strong moral character.

Personal Philosophy of Life

My basic philosophy of life is formed out of the sum of my experiences. My religious upbringing and early family life helped shape my beliefs, as well as many different educational experiences.

My religious education taught me to believe that there is a God. My experiences have shaped my relationship with God and what I believe is his revelation of truth to me. If you open yourself to God his path for revealing the truth is revealed. This is what I believe to be rooted in apriori knowledge. As this knowledge is understood God’s truth is revealed. This is the ultimate purpose to man’s existence and man’s ultimate responsibility. These philosophies are in some ways (and this makes me) Pragmatic and Existential. My Pragmatic tendency values experience as a source for revelation of truth. The Existentialist in me must acknowledge that until we choose to recognize the revelations, the revelations essentially do not exist. They are but shadows on a wall. Truth is revealed through our experiences and our search, but ultimately it is our own responsibility to undertake that search.

I believe that all that we can see and know is real, but that reality is changing. Since we are limited by only what we can know to be real we have to rely on God’s revelations to us. I believe these revelations happen all the time. We just need to be tuned in to see them.

It is similar to when you are having trouble with a problem. If you let it go then you subconscious mind can work it out and the solution just seems to appear. It is the same way with truth. We are always seeking what is real, but only what is true is revealed when we least expect it. These nuggets of truth can lead us to what is real.

I value these experiences and anything that can bring me closer to truth and God. These experiences exist in art, religion, and science. They can all be sources of revelation.  As we live these experiences we come closer so that when we die we will be ready for the final revelation and become reunited with God, with the truth. 

Educational Philosophy

My Philosophy of Education is formed out of my personal philosophy of life and certain revelations about truth and the nature of the universe. These revelations are “All truth is God’s truth.” (Gaebelein, 1968. p 20) The Universe by nature is in a constant state of tension, just as the forces of evil in the world are in constant tension with scripture. “Humans are in a constant tension between the desire to do good and the
inclination toward evil.” (Knight, 1989. p 190)

Since my philosophy of life is such an integral part of who I am, any discussion of my educational philosophy must begin there.