Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Those Who Can’t……..Teach!!!!

A simple way of assessing the competence of a Scottish secondary teacher is to ask what they teach. Should the answer be couched in terms of subject specialism rather than on the pedagogy of engaging students, pupils, young people, or adults, experience tells me that the teacher has a narrow view of the process of education. The best teachers know that good teaching and learning is first and foremost based on the teacher’s ability to develop positive relationships with the class.
Teaching does involve the conveying of subject material or course content. In Scottish schools there are examinations of skills and content to be passed by the students. Teachers and schools are now rightly held accountable for their exam pass rates.

The best teachers have a clear understanding of the prescribed skills and content to be taught. Their courses are coherent and well structured. However, they do more than simply convey information; they motivate by developing a voracious appetite for learning amongst their students.  

The mark of a well-taught student is not limited to the mastery of skills and content ……the well-taught student will have become a self motivated learner.  
Philip Jensen, Dean of Sydney at St Andrew's Cathedral, writes that: “Usually the teachers we remember and love the most did more than impart information to us. They were the ones who opened the world to us, taking us to places and ideas, understanding and critical thinking that we did not know even existed prior, to them taking an interest in us.”

Pastors, priests, ministers and other church leaders have the role the role of teacher in the local church. This is a vital role in the 21st century requiring knowledge, understanding, structure and high level pedagogical skills.

Sadly many 21st century Scottish Christians have an incomplete or distorted understanding of the faith that they profess due to a lack of systematic Bible teaching. Many evangelical churches do not publish a statement of faith, leaving members and attendees ignorant of the basic beliefs of the church which they attend. (A statement of faith is a summary of the key beliefs of a church/denomination……Like an educational ‘course outline’ teaching/preaching would expand, add depth, analysis and life application to the statement of faith)   

In our churches, preaching is a particular form of teaching. There is a huge responsibility on the shoulders of those who are therefore ‘called to preach’. The Bible is very clear about the need for sound doctrine (Biblical teachings that are based on the Bible rightly-divided and not on the traditions of man) to be taught in the church for the following reasons:

*      It is necessary for establishing biblical truth and for refuting error

*      Christian ministry and Bible teaching go hand in hand.

*      It is the very heart of Christian faith. 

*      It is both relevant to and practical for Christian living

*      It allows for no compromise.

*      Its neglect brings grave danger and confusion to the church and individual believers.

In his second letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul emphasises: “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” Many Christians believe that this time is now here.
The impact of Scotland’s secondary school teachers is assessed in many different ways from the performance of their pupils in national exams, to performance evaluation by the Head Teacher, local authority Quality Improvement Officers and Her Majesty’s Inspectors from Education Scotland. Who assesses the impact of Scotland’s preachers/teachers?

Christians should pray for those who feel ‘called to preach’ that they may do so from humble hearts, inspired and empowered by the Living God. Like the excellent school teachers, their impact will be to produce generations of believers who are learners and followers of the true Living God as revealed in His Word.  


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