Wednesday, April 20, 2005

What is Education?

In the interests of balance, I’ve been reading John Holt and John Dewey lately. (Why so many guys named John in education theory?) John Holt is not as radical as I had been led to believe, and I actually am getting quite a few ideas about how to place concepts before children so that they can figure them out, as well as grateful for the reminder that no lesson is learned until it becomes the child’s own.

John Dewey is, in brief, a bore. He could really benefit from the exercise of writing out his ideas in words of one syllable. His theories in education smell remarkably of abstract theorizing taking over any real-world experience.

It is interesting to consider what each thinks education is, or ought to be. To John Holt, it’s the child making sense of the world for himself. To John Dewey, it’s the adult community socializing the child to fit into itself.

Which made me think of what the Biblical concept of education is. In brief, I suppose it is the introduction of the child to God and His works. And I thought of the passage in Deuteronomy (6:6-7), so often quoted by homeschoolers, about teaching your children as you walk by the way, etc. But what struck me was the part that comes first: These words shall be in your heart. Then you teach them to your children.

It doesn’t matter how great the curriculum or how proper the methods. On anything that really matters, I can’t pass on anything that’s not first in my heart.

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