Russell and Duenes

what do our students want?

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This past Thursday and Friday, I and my fellow faculty spent a good many hours learning about and discussing worldview issues. Teaching at a Christian school, we are properly interested in educating our students from and towards a biblically faithful worldview. One of the issues we discussed is why so many of our students don’t conform their lives to a biblical worldview, and when you boil it all down, the obvious answer is: They don’t want to. It’s all about desire, and Satan knows this as well as God, which is why this little tidbit on “the point of education” from today’s blog post by Douglas Wilson grabbed my attention.

Along these lines, I am currently reading James K.A. Smith’s recent book, Desiring the Kingdom, and he makes a wonderful distinction between education as information and education as formation. At the end of the day, there is still a major gulf between Smith and me — too much reliance on Heidegger (whom I like to call the Nazi) and Smith is dismissive of certain areas where evangelical Christians have actually distinguished themselves in recognition of the very point he is making. Robust defenses of marriage against homosexual encroachments and defenses of free markets is just the kind of thing we should want “education as formation not information” to result in. But Smith isn’t so sure, which is why his project doesn’t meet its own outstanding standard (p. 126). But the standard itself is quite good, and much needed. Early on in the book Smith makes the vital point that education is about shaping desire, and not so much about dropping worldview modules into the brain, like they were so many wood pellets for that special intellectual stove of yours. What he calls shaping desire, I have called teaching students to love the standard. In short, if formation is the point, and it is, we are quite right to be concerned about the form it takes. (Emphasis mine)

Many of my students get A’s on my worldview exams because the “worldview modules have been dropped into the brain, like so many wood pellets for that special intellectual stove.” But their desires – and frankly mine, all too often – have been shaped by something other than Scripture, the Lord Jesus Christ and the testimony of faithful Christians down through the ages. Thus, the only primary concern we at the Christian school ought to have is: How will we educate our students so that they are being formed to “love the standard.” This is my primary concern as the father of two boys as well.



Written by Michael Duenes

March 7, 2010 at 6:41 am

Posted in Duenes, Education

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