I have been pondering about a title for a column in the Chalcedon Report. I have emerged from my creative meditation with this, "Methods are Primary." This is not an original idea, but an application of the techniques written, taught and demonstrated by the Teacher who has nothing left to learn, the Lord Jesus Christ. That phrase, "nothing left to learn," was taught to me by Dr. Joseph Henson, of Bob Jones University. Such "gems" should be attributed to their author.
The Lord's methods are found in Isaiah 28:10, "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little." If I could write an illustration of modern, ungodly methods, it would be, "For emotion must be upon emotion, feeling upon feeling, smile and tear; smile and tear, emote a little, emote a lot, but never use the covenant." The secret of effective teaching is found in polishing the method, instead of the curriculum or printed teaching aides. Conservative teachers and Christian home schoolers often make this error. They frantically search for the perfect books, lessons, etc., to produce their perfectly educated school product. In the meantime, while burying themselves under a pile of expensive books, videos, and such "goodies," they practice permissive, unconditional "love," after the storm of "emotion" has subsided at the end of another frustrating school day. The home school mother wonders on her bed in the quiet of the night, "If these course materials are so great, why do I get the feeling my child is behind?"
Well, I am sorry to report that Mother's fear is justified by my experience. I have tested hundreds of Christian and home school students as they sought admission to my schools. Almost none measured up to the grade level of students under my supervision. (I could say, none whatsoever, if we measured on an overall comparison.) I say "Almost none," because students with a particular flair for math or language did compare well, but this was a triumph of talent over teachers' and Mother's home school lessons. Please do not write wearying letters to me talking about "national averages." Of course, the Christian schoolers and home schoolers compare well to the national norms. Who doesn't? I am talking about their performance versus averages of students in a good, private school, not versus impoverished national norms. Let's face it, all Christian and home schoolers are better off not in the public schools, but is that good enough for you? So, if you wish to do better, don't run out to buy another printed set of books, tests, videos, films and such "Get-smart-quick schemes." The Biblical answer is found in methods. The methods are primary, not the lesson, however it is packaged and promoted.
This column will attempt to point out the obvious, because it falls on me to do this. Why? Well, there is no prestige to be won talking about methods, but oh, my, there is some money and loads of prestige in the ". . . of making many books, there is no end; and much study is the weariness of the flesh" (Ec. 12:12). I am afraid, dear Home School Mother and Idealistic Young Christian Teacher, some authors who never could, never would, never even tried to control a class, are out to write the newest "shrine of learning gimmick," because there is money to be found in "making many books."
My mission is running and starting day care/schools; so as a ministry to our readers, I will talk of what I know from experience, instead of what I hope will make money. My goal is to give the Reconstructive teacher the benefit of demonstrated achievement at Grace Community Schools. My columns will sometimes shock you; for example, "Did you know God recommends `rote learning'?" Isn't that hilarious? Some of my education professors would faint dead away at such primitive notions. Please read my monthly column and send for a copy of my book, How to Become a Millionaire in Christian Education, now available. Just send a check for $10.00 plus $2.00 postage and handling, made payable to Nicene Press, 4405 Outer Dr., Naples, Florida 34112.
- Ellsworth McIntyre