In college, I had to take a dreaded year of physics. I cringed at the thought of it! But much to my amazement, I ended up enjoying that year. It became one of my favorite classes. Why the change of heart? Because I had a great teacher who actively engaged us in the subject matter. He had us thinking, questioning, and seeing the relevance of physics to almost every aspect of life: Content + Teaching Style…both mattered.
I recently read a Bible lesson written for older elementary students. What was disheartening is not the content per se—it was biblically accurate and theologically sound—but the manner in which it was communicated to the students. The material was simply “presented.” The students were “talked at.” They were not encouraged in any meaningful way to engage with the text (or even open their Bibles), or with the teacher. Why is this a problem? Because, among other things…
- It does not promote personal biblical literacy in the students—the ability to rightly read and understand the Bible. Teachers must help students in this process by asking questions of the text, interacting with student responses, and walking the students step-by-step through a proper interpretation of the text.
- It hinders active learning—it fails to encourage students to discover, analyze, question, examine, draw conclusions, and make application of the text.
- It “de-motivates” students to make personal application of biblical truth—heart transformation. If students are not encouraged to be actively engaged, they are more likely to feel “talked at” than to be personally interested and challenged by the content.
At Children Desiring God, our goal and desire is to develop biblically rich, doctrinally sound, God-centered, Christ-exalting materials that are designed to TEACH students. Our lessons are structured to encourage active engagement between teacher, student, and the Bible. Yes, at first it may seem a little overwhelming—especially for a new teacher. Students who are not accustomed to an interactive teaching style may be slow to respond at first. But over time both teacher and students will be pleasantly surprised by the rich benefits of this active engagement. We want to motivate our students to eagerly dive into God’s Word, with the hope and prayer that by doing so, they will come to see and delight in God Himself, through Christ.