Archive for the ‘education’ Category

19:8 Dwight Handles Yale Radicals Wisely

Sunday, November 18th, 2012
timothy dwight

Dr. Timothy Dwight

He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; He who keeps understanding will find good. Proverbs 19:8.

The United States has produced a number of educators who obtained wisdom as well as learning and saved not only their own souls, but those of their hearers. One of them was Dr. Timothy Dwight. An orthodox thinker, when he became president of Yale College he found the students largely apostate and Deistic in outlook.

These students of his first debate class asked for permission to argue the question “Are the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament the word of God?” Although direct challenges to the Bible were banned by the rules of the college, Dwight acceded to their request. Every student took the case against the Bible, leaving Dwight alone to defend it. He did so with vigor, marshalling facts and logic so persuasively that revival broke out.

(He also had the courage, in keeping with the charter purpose of Yale, to dismiss Deistic and skeptical professors.)

In his attitudes toward wisdom and truth, he was not a faint echo of his master Christ, who is the very incarnation of wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30).

16:21 Facilitating Learning

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

Comenius

Jan Amos Comenius, innovative educator.

The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increases learning. Proverbs 16:21

In one of her poems, Emily Dickenson wrote, “Tell all the truth but tell it slant.” I always interpreted this to mean to tell the truth but through simile, metaphor or other artistic devices that make knowledge more memorable and palatable—sweet lips that increase learning.

Centuries before Dickenson, the notable Christian educator Jan Amos Comenius had adopted a similar principle. He developed the first graded textbooks. These included pictures to make their content more memorable, a tactic followed by educators ever since.

Jesus also used the “slant” technique. He spoke in pithy parables and word illustrations, sarcasm, hyperbole, parallelism and other literary devices aimed to help his learners retain his word, including similes and metaphors. The results are some of the most memorable statements in all of literature, showing great wisdom and vividly illustrating the truths he wished to impart. He was the master exemplar of this proverb.

17:16 Wasted Education

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

Seal of the University of Paris.

Why is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he has no heart for it?

As an older adult returning to school to pick up some skills, I notice that many of the youngsters seem serious about education. But there is a large subgroup attending for other reasons. Some have come to play. Others to find a mate. Still others seek reinforcement for ideas they have already picked up, or the chance to organize others around an ideal. Returning students, as a whole, seem more determined to get their money’s worth.

This generation is no different in that respect than others. I noted the same tendencies when I was in college as a teenager. Perhaps a rich father was footing the bill of the wastrel—or the government. That is why I like the New Living Translation for this verse. “It is senseless to pay tuition to educate a fool, since he has no heart for learning.”

Wasted educational opportunities are not a problem limited to our time. Accounts of roistering, rioting, and recklessness crop up with fair frequency in the histories of great educational institutions. For example, the St. Scholastica Day riot at Oxford in 1355 began with a dispute over beer. It left 63 scholars and half as many townsfolk dead. A Shrove Tuesday strike in Paris in 1229 also began over drink—a tavern bill. Angry students smashed businesses with wooden clubs. In retaliation, city guards cornered and killed a group of students.

We have no record that Christ attended school. However, he had clearly set himself to learn what God the Father desired even while young, as his tough questions to the religious leaders in the temple at twelve years of age showed. At thirty, he became a rabbi (teacher).

His hearers formed a cross-section similar to modern students. Some scoffed. Some listened but went away, forgetting immediately what he said. Others “followed from afar.” A few took his words to heart and became the first Christians, who transformed the world through their master’s power.