A friend alerted me to this interesting article: “Age of Distraction: Why It’s Crucial for Students to Learn to Focus.” Though it’s written from a secular perspective, consider this observation by psychologist Daniel Goleman, as quoted in the article:
… because attention is under siege more than it has ever been in human history, we have more distractions than ever before, we have to be more focused on cultivating the skills of attention…
The attentional circuitry needs to have the experience of sustained episodes of concentration—reading the text, understanding and listening to what the teacher is saying—in order to build the mental models that create someone who is well educated…The pulls away from that mean that we have to become more intentional about teaching kids.
(Psycologist Daniel Goleman, as quoted by Katrina Schwartz in her article, “Age of Distraction: Why It’s Crucial for Students to Learn to Focus,” at ww2.kqed.org)
I believe this observation is especially pertinent as we consider teaching children the Bible. Is what we teach (scope and depth) and how we teach the Bible giving our students “sustained episodes of concentration—reading the text, understanding and listening to what the teacher is saying—in order to build the mental models that create someone who is well educated”?
At Children Desiring God, we have this commitment as one of our distinctions:
We believe that, if children are to embrace and live out the Gospel, they must have a right knowledge of God and His purposes as revealed in His inerrant and authoritative Word. Therefore, children must be taught to properly study and interpret God’s Word. Using an age-appropriate, step-by-step approach, the lesson format trains students to interact with the text using proper Bible study methods. This process begins in earnest in first grade, and increases in depth and rigor as children age and mature. Furthermore, we incorporate an interactive teaching style, carefully laid out for teachers, that serves to develop critical thinking and reasoning skills aimed at a deeper understanding of the things of God and the ability to rightly apply the Word of God.
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