Use 9 questions to reflect on Biblical perspective in your course
- What kind of people do you want your students to be?
- What do you want your students to understand about God and His creation?
- What’s your vision?
- What do you target?
- Specifically, what do you want your students to connect?
- What kinds of connections do you want to see your kids making?
- To help your students make connections, what essential questions do you ask?
- To help your students make connections, what student learning needs do you meet?
- To help your students make connections, what unit assessments do you give?
(1) What kind of people do you want your students to be?
Kim: I want them to love Jesus. I want them to be joyful, inquisitive, thoughtful people who always connect what they learn with their lives.
(2) What do you want your students to understand about God and His creation?
Kim: Through their study of English, I want my students to understand that God created a good world so that we could enjoy it and participate in developing its potential. I want my students to understand that in this fallen world, God calls us to join Him in working to restore peace and justice. Language helps us all understand God’s truth and communicate it to others.
(3) What’s your vision?
Kim: To see students delighting in the creative beauty of language, checking the things that strike them as true with the Bible, reading fiction to vicariously understand the neighbor they are to love, and using language effectively to understand themselves and serve others.
(4) What do you target?
Kim: I want my students to understand that God created the world good, that sin has affected all of creation, that we as Christians have been redeemed by Christ, and that we should participate in restoring God’s creation. So, I target my students connecting what they study and what the Bible teaches.
(5) Specifically, what do you want your students to connect?
Kim: In English 10, my students hone their thinking, writing, reading, and presentation skills as they grapple with world literature, for example, The Analects by Confucius, Cry, the Beloved Country by Paton, “To My Brother Miguel” by Vallejo, Night by Wiesel, and A Midsummer’s Night Dream by Shakespeare. I want them to connect this content with the 11 Biblical principles they learn, for example:
- Because people are made in the image of God (Gen. 1.27, 9.6; Jas. 3.9), we are creative (Gen. 2.19, 4.21-22; Exod. 35.30-36.1), communicative (Gen. 2.20-24, Exod. 4.10-12, Jer. 1.4-9) truth-seekers. —introductory unit
- Because the Bible tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves, we must seek the good of anyone it is within our power to help (Lev. 19.18, Matt. 22.39, Mark 12.31, Luke 10.27, Rom. 13.9, Gal. 5.14, Jas. 2.8). —Night unit
- Human search for belonging is ultimately fulfilled in God (Psa. 90.1; Phil. 3.20; Heb. 11.8-10, 13-16). —short story unit
- God calls us to join Him in His work of restoration (Mic. 6.8, Isa. 1.17, Jer. 22.16, Hos. 6.6 and note, Matt. 23.23). —Cry, the Beloved Country unit
Kim: Authentic connections—not object lessons. Real connections—not allegories. Here’s an example of what I mean, taken from an essay on Camus’s “The Guest”:
“In contrast to what Camus and Daru experienced, there is inherent meaning and moral guidelines in life given by God—a conclusion based on a Biblical principle. Truth, which is God’s teaching, is apparent everywhere…(New International Version, Romans 1.20). In fact, the truth of the only God is accessible…(Acts 17.20). We must learn what God’s truth is and apply it to our lives because as Daru understood, human wisdom is faulty…. Humans must establish God’s truth as their anchor and base their decisions on his truth, which may not yield the obviously ‘good’ consequences in this life, but are right because they are part of God’s perfect will.”
(7) To help your students make connections, what essential questions do you ask?
Kim: My students say that thinking about open-ended questions really helps them make connections. So in English 10, I ask my students 4 questions: Who am I? Who is my neighbor? What’s wrong with the world? What is the significance of words?
(8) To help your students make connections, what student learning needs do you meet?
Kim: My 51 students come from 13 different countries, and from a variety of Christian and non-Christian backgrounds. Some have little or no Bible background; some are accustomed to connecting the Bible only with church, youth group, and personal holiness. To help my students make connections with what they’re learning and to prepare them for the assessments, I help them value connecting what they study and what the Bible teaches, see that it’s possible to make connections, and know what quality connections look like.
(9) To help your students make connections, what unit assessments do you give?
Kim: I give assessments to see how well my students are connecting what they study and what the Bible teaches—and I give assessments to give my students practice making connections. I give a total of 9 Biblical perspective assessments. I assess content/Bible connections in 5 of 8 essays, 2 of 4 presentations, and 2 of 9 unit tests with 1 or more Biblical perspective questions. Here’s a sample unit test question (worth 12/100 points):
Describe the existentialism of the author we read who wrote both essays and short stories on the topic. Be sure to include the definition, the juxtaposition that makes humanity’s situation absurd, the 2 things the author says give meaning, and illustrate those 2 things from the story. What of truth (from a Biblical perspective) has the author seen, and what has he missed?
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