Dilemma of a Broken Image

Children, like their parents, are made in the image of God, but an image that we have broken. We were made to appreciate that which is true, beautiful, and good. Unfortunately, our broken sinful nature also gives us desire to that which is false, cheap and even bad. We would hope students would desire that which is true, beautiful and good; in other words a classical Christian education, but our sinful nature does not always lead down those paths naturally (Matthew 7:13-14). We have to train up a child in the way he should go (Proverbs 22:6). For some of God’s children, just a taste of the true, good and beautiful will give them an everlasting hunger for such things (Psalm 34:8,10). For other children, they may never develop a hunger for the greater things. Most children will fall somewhere in between, it may take more than a taste before they appreciate the things that God said are true, good and beautiful.

The independent classroom may be the best place for any of those students, but how the children from those two extremes are taught will vary greatly. For the eager student who loves to learn, the whole process will be very good both in terms of the quality and quantity of learning. The teacher will need to give very little guidance and no coercion to get them to pursue their studies. The students will probably perceive that they are in charge of their education, which is a great thing. The whole experience will be very rewarding.

For those students at the other extreme, the Independent Classroom may still be a very good place for them.  Their education will be much more teacher directed. Coercion on the part of the teacher will probably be necessary.  By coercion, the teacher may have to tell such a student that they can’t go to recess until certain assignments are accomplished, or they can’t take part in an elective until they have reached certain levels in the curriculum.  The desire to be part of a drama program or work on a science project can motivate many children to get their work done quickly.
Since most kids are not at either extreme, the good teacher will look for each student’s interests and use those to ‘prime the pump’ of learning.  The only type of child that will fail in the independent learner classroom is the rebellious child. This broken image dilemma effects all learning environments, but in the Independent Learner classroom a good teacher is going to have the flexibility to adjust a student’s education to the way God has made them.

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