When it comes to understanding the biblical worldview of reading, you must first understand the crisis we have in this country in reading. Reading is foundational to all knowledge and progress in our personal lives. Search “Reading Literacy in America” and you will find a lot of unfathomable facts. The statistics are alarming. Based on 2015 statistics, 2 out of 3 students who can’t read past fourth grade end up on welfare or in jail. One out of four children grow up without knowing how to read. I can’t even keep listing these stats. It’s heartbreaking. The good news is that Christian teachers in public schools can make a difference by using biblical principles in the way they plan reading lessons.
Building a Relationship with the Character
No matter what the state standards or school policies are, we must insist on spending the necessary time to ensure our students learn to read fluently. We can help. We can make it fun and engaging. The main goal in reading is to help students build an emotional relationship type connection with those they read about.
Let me expound on this. There’s nothing like reading a book that you love and enjoy. Kids love when a caring adult reads aloud to them, even in fifth grade! I do it every year and those are the times when my students are all engaged and captivated by the elements of the story. Kids can sense our love for the story and can’t help but to join in. I learned the importance of this when I read the book “Educating Esme” by Esme Raji Codell. That’s the kind of teacher I wanted to be. I wanted my students to join me in my excitement of the story. I want it to move their heart and their mind.
When I read aloud, I stop periodically to relate to the character and feel what they feel and experience what they experience. Students in turn start to build a relationship with that person. We are cultivating in them an experience with the character. Their emotions are heightened and hearts are drawn into their lives. They become friends because they’ve spent a long time with them. It’s so fun!!
Practicality of Integrating Biblical Principles in Reading
Now let’s get practical here! How does it work? How do you actually help a student learn to read fluently? One part of the answer is really easy. Have them read ALOUD every day for at least 15 minutes and NOT BY THEMSELVES. Just like they love when you read aloud to them, they also love when you listen to them read aloud. It boosts their confidence and helps correct their fluency errors right on the spot. The second part of how students learn to read is teaching them individual sounds of words. When a child comes across a word they can’t pronounce, they won’t be able to read it unless they know the sounds of all the phonograms to be able to read any word. Teach those sounds. Practice them individually, practice them orally and in writing, practice them in a group, and practice them when eating soup. Practice them here, practice them there, practice them everywhere, Sam I Am!!!
…AND unless you have experienced the book “Green Eggs and Ham,” you won’t have the knowledge you need to understand my point of view. Either way, if you teach reading as if our life depends on it, you’’II be preparing your students to progress and succeed in life.
I think this topic, the biblical worldview of children, warranted a second part because there are so many implications to what I communicated in my last post.
If we believe that our worldview is biblical, then let’s review what the Bible says about children and how we should treat them. There are 3 main ideas about the biblical worldview of children that are prominent.
The Bible Says Children are a Blessing
We know Psalm 127:5-7 says that children are a heritage, gift, or blessing. If my children are a gift I’m going to treat them as precious and be grateful for what they add to my life. Now we all know there’s going to be that student who tests your patience, but that too is a gift.
What this means to me is that when students arrive at school and you see them, greet them like a long list friend that you’ve been waiting to see for a long time. Use a high pitched voice. Call them by name. Ask them how they’re doing. Cheer them on when they share their life with you. Remind them of how precious they are.
There’s a letter I write to my students to set the tone for my love for them and how precious I think they are. I read it to them several times at the beginning of the year and periodically during the year when they need a reminder.
It says they are precious, highly valuable, unique, powerful, and a blessing. Then I go on to explain how that changes everything. It’s a beautiful way to inspire and remind students of their worth and dignity. It’s filled with biblical ideas and implications about the biblical worldview of children.
The Bible Says Children are an Heritage (Legacy)
Now let’s talk about the second part of the biblical worldview of children and what that means for them. Legacy is something that is passed down from one generation to the next. We as teachers have the privilege to model for students values that they may have never seen before. If they witness you getting angry and being impatient, then they will think that’s normal and will model the same. If they think you don’t have time for them, they will be neglected and feel isolated. That might make them treat others the same way.
When I think about my students, I want them to be focused, diligent, and wise. I want them to know their worth and value their family and friends. I want them to love America and stand up for her principles. When my students leave our class for the year, I want them to have good memories and walk away with confidence in their accomplishments.
This is the legacy I want them to carry on. I don’t remember much about my second grade but I do have memories of other grades. I want to create opportunities for my students to achieve, win, or be recognized for who they are.
My class will be one of love, respect, responsibility, and most of all love of learning. I reject the idea that students are a burden. In a biblical worldview, children are so precious that I take seriously my responsibility to model good behavior for them and my duty to inspire them to love learning.
There are many intriguing facets to the topic of the biblical worldview of children that Christian teachers in public schools should reflect upon. When I started in public school and I was praying about the purpose God had for me, I came to the conclusion that I can integrate my biblical worldview of children no matter where I teach. I have been in Christian private school for 14 years and taught from a biblical worldview in every subject. So I was used to thinking and teaching from a biblical worldview.
The public school today is commonly known as a secular institution. Public schools became secularized in the 1830s by Horace Mann. In the 1960s, prayer and the bible was banned from public school by a supreme court ruling. As a Christian teacher entering the public school today, I was automatically scared to let people know I was a Christian. I was happy to find out there were a lot of other Christian teachers in my school. It got me thinking a lot about why any Christian teacher would teach in a school where they can’t be free to speak about their faith. I never saw myself as a public school teacher for this exact reason, but here I was in the middle of a public school.
God Loves All Children
The first thought that came to me when I was seeking God’s purpose for Christian teachers in public schools was God’s view of children. It doesn’t matter where you are or what kind of school you work at, children are still children. God loves all children.
The Bible teaches that children are innocent. They aren’t fully aware of right and wrong and they’re not old enough to make a decision for Christ. The Bible teaches that there is an age when children don’t know enough to reject wrong and choose right in a spiritual sense (Deuteronomy 1:39, Isaiah 7:16). This is called the age of accountability which is around 12 years old. Any child who dies before they reach the age of accountability will be in heaven (Matthew 18:3). That’s great news! My conclusion was that I can teach God’s truth to all children.
Children are a Blessing
Another aspect about God’s view of children beyond the idea that children are innocent is that children are also a blessing. They deserve to be treated with high value. Furthermore, they deserve all the nurture and love and instruction they need to be productive and successful members of society. Children have an amazing potential for greatness, intellect, creativity, generosity, and compassion. They are not empty vessels. Their possibilities are without boundaries. They should be elevated, not belittled. Their worth is of great value beyond what they contribute.
God has a purpose for each child. They are endowed with inalienable rights and responsibilities to steward his internal property of conscience and calling. We as Christian teachers in public schools should be in the business of equipping children toward this end. Education goes beyond just teaching skills. God’s view of children is that they be trained in truth and prepared to think for themselves and be leaders in their field.
Teaching Truth to Children
Now we get to the second thought I had about God’s purpose for Christian teachers in public schools and the biblical worldview of children. Teaching God’s truth doesn’t always mean religious instruction. For Christian teachers in the public schools, teaching truth means teaching ideas that are noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.
Philippians 4:8-9 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
If students grow up having had a Christian teacher who taught them truth, they will be more knowledgeable to make wise decisions in their life. These are truths that are universally accepted and perfectly legal to teach in public schools. There’s nothing secret about it. They are in contrast to the distinct teachings of secular education such as rote learning and piecemeal education.
Christian teachers in public schools with a biblical view of children will see what they teach in a different light. This idea is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what other ideas go with this.
It’s been interesting going from private school to public school. I taught in a private school for 14 years. You’d think I would know how to teach in a public school. Nope! That couldn’t be farther from the truth. I spent four years learning the curriculum of public schools. I’ve been analyzing for four years now what is the biblical worldview of lesson planning. I have decided that when you have a biblical worldview of lesson planning, there’s a difference between topics and skills.
You see, in private school, we talked about what topics we wanted our students to know. In public school, it’s all about teaching specific skills. One example is to determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details. Another example is to recognize that in a multi-digit number, a digit in one place represents 10 times as much as it represents in the place to its right and 1/10 of what it represents in the place to its left.
This is a totally different approach than private school, but as a Christian teacher in a public school with a biblical worldview, how can I integrate what I believe to be true about what I should teach. Teaching grade-level skills is great. Teaching topics is also great, but which one do I focus on in my lesson plan? You might also be wondering how do I integrate my Christian worldview in my lesson plans? I don’t want to and shouldn’t have to compromise my own values and professional training as a teacher.
A Biblical Perspective for Public Schools
So, one of the things I try to do as a Christian teacher in the public school is to decide in advance, what the truth is behind the skill. If I want my student to determine the main idea, I ask myself, “of what?” Of what do I want my students to determine the main idea? I’ve been given the curriculum. It’s filled with stories I could use. Additionally, they come with vocabulary, lesson assignments, and much more. It’s a complete curriculum, but how complex does our teaching need to be?
I have a master’s degree in education with an emphasis on curriculum design. I should know, but what I tried to do those first four years with my lesson plans was impossible. No matter which way I looked at it, I could never cover or teach all the skills the school was expecting me to teach. My training was from a Christian perspective. That’s actually all I know. In other words, it’s what I’m an expert at, but it didn’t work in public school. The more I learned about how the school uses curriculum, the more I saw biblical principles, not skills.
I look at this situation of lesson planning and see truth everywhere. There are some lies but mostly truth. The challenge I have as a Christian teacher is how to emphasize or highlight the truth. The truth is transcendent. It’s why I teach. It’s what students should know and understand about the skill. Public school teachers in general can’t argue with that.
Teaching Truth in Public School from a Biblical Worldview
Teaching truth in a public school from a biblical worldview is much different for me now. I know exactly how to teach the skills but emphasize the truth or biblical principles. Consequently, when I do my lesson plan, I plan units of study as outlined in the school’s pacing guide but what I emphasize is truth and biblical principles without ever using the Bible. It’s my worldview. I teach according to my worldview.
Questions about Biblical Worldview Lesson Planning
Now, you might be thinking, what does a lesson plan actually look like from a biblical worldview? How is it different on paper and what does it look like in the class?
Answers about Biblical Worldview Lesson Planning
When I lesson plan from a Christian perspective, I definitely need to know what chapters and lessons I want to teach. All good lesson plans will have that. The Christian perspective on that part of the lesson planning is the principle of order. There is a time for everything. Lessons from a curriculum don’t always have to go together. They can be taught in a sequence that makes sense, is logical, and guards against confusion. The other aspect of lesson planning is teaching truth. In my lesson plans, I know what the focus should be. I know that the skill is just a vehicle or conduit for truth.
Examples of Biblical Worldview Lessons: Reading
So, let’s say I’m teaching the skill of determining the main idea. I teach how to find the main idea using key details, but then I find texts that have a main idea that I want to focus on. If there’s a story in the curriculum that is blasé or void of the meaning of life or contrary to biblical principles, I find something that has a main idea that is meaningful and moral. The school doesn’t tell me exactly which stories to teach for teaching the main idea so I have the ability to choose whatever story I want. They recommend I use the curriculum but I don’t have to.
Now that’s just one example of one aspect of my lesson planning. You might be thinking, “What do you do to teach biblical principles in math?” I definitely teach the math skills as they are listed but the difference for me as a Christian teacher is how I teach those math skills.
Example of Biblical Worldview Lessons: Math
When I look at the math curriculum they have a lot of worksheets and a lot of activities that help students learn. On the contrary, I spend more time on practicing the skill according to the method that I have been taught long ago during teacher training. The reason I do that is because the curriculum format doesn’t always work for every class. We all know that. Besides, using a new curriculum can take several years to master someone else’s methods.
Find a method that works for your class and use it. Using a curriculum to the “T” is not a biblical idea. We are not robots to follow what someone else says. They might have a lot of wisdom, but we should go into it thinking for ourselves. I know that’s not terribly specific but it is my challenge to you as a Christian teacher in a public school. It’s an idea, something to think about, and a starting place.
Example of Biblical Worldview Lessons: Social Studies
Social studies is the most interesting subject I plan for. In our school, we don’t have a formal social studies curriculum. This subject is not a tested subject in terms of standardized tests. It’s a perfect opportunity to teach our students biblical principles of social studies from an American, patriotic perspective.
Why use an American, patriotic perspective? Using an American, patriotic perspective in teaching social studies, is the perfect opportunity to help students understand America’s form of government and the principles that make it a great nation.
In today’s world, so many people don’t teach social studies or want to emphasize cultures and sociology. As a Christian teacher I think it would be more important to teach early American history so that students grow up understanding the truth about this nation that they are being educated in. Students should know topics that are important.
There are nationally recognized social studies skills and standards, but students aren’t learning topics that have to do with truth that matters in life. We have the perfect opportunity to teach truth that matters. No matter what grade I am teaching I make sure and make time to teach four main topics of social studies (see below). Since we don’t teach social studies a lot, I want to make the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time.
1) the Pledge of Allegiance and the geography of America, which would be a whole other topic about how to teach that from a biblical worldview,
2) The pilgrims, which were the first colonists to establish typical principles and Christian self government,
3) George Washington and the American revolution, which is a great time to emphasize character as it relates to The service of others, and last but not least,
4) the US Constitution, which students need to know in order to live as a citizen or resident of this nation.
That’s where the teaching of topics comes into play as a Christian teacher. If students don’t have a proper understanding of the history of early America, our nation will fall.
There will be more specific information about principled lessons in the coming weeks and days. You can also find resources on my teacher pay teachers website.
Encyclopedia of Bible Truths for School Subjects
When I plan my lessons, I am mindful of all the truths I could teach. There’s a wonderful resource I have used entitled “Encyclopedia of Bible Truths for School Subjects.” It’s got so many ideas of truths we could incorporate.
There are a lot of references to God and I would advise you not to use those explicitly unless you are referring to history and someone’s faith, but you can most certainly use the ones that are generic non-spiritual truths. There are over 30 subjects listed from your core subjects to ancillary subjects like art, music, and PE. One of my favorites is about life science, more specifically, zoology.
One of them states, “Our knowledge of the origin of life comes from God alone.” One way you as a Christian teacher can say to your students in science class is that there are two views of the beginning of life. The first view is that man came from or was formed from the dust of the earth, according to the Bible.
The second view is that man came from animals. You can give the main points of each and tell students to decide for themselves. You’re not telling them what to believe, but you are equipping them with the knowledge that there is more than one view. I actually learned this exact truth in 7th grade in the public school in 1984.
Another truth in this book is plants, animals, and man were created with a specific purpose. If you’re studying a frog, teach students the purpose frogs have on earth. Teach them what they do, why they do it, and how it benefits the world.
My top favorite truth to teach in science as a Christian teacher in the public schools is “Man has the ability and responsibility to rule over the animals.” First, this teaches students that they don’t have to be afraid of animals. They can be cautious but not afraid. Secondly, students need to take care of animals. Everybody loves that. They should study animals, and plants also, deeply. They should observe and note all the details to appreciate their beauty and discover how to take care of them.
This book on biblical truth has tons of bible verses to support the truths, but you don’t need them to teach the truth. Search for these truths and apply them in your class as you see fit. When it comes to integrating a biblical worldview in your lesson planning, look for truth in what you’re already doing or find one lesson you already have and ask God to show you the truths He wants you to teach.
Today was an interesting day! My second day back to work and I had to reflect on the biblical worldview of classroom procedures. I know they are needed, but I began to really think about God’s purpose for this. What is the biblical principle behind classroom procedures? What truth do I want my students to understand from this whole process?”
A biblical worldview usually begins with asking why. There’s no point in doing this unless there is a point. Some might say the point is to help you manage the class. That’s true, but what are my students learning? What is their learning target? I believe that the learning target is that students will understand that there is a time for everything. There’s a time to talk and a time to listen. There’s a time to play and a time to focus. There’s a time to express yourself and a time to cheer others on. There’s a time to get up and a time to sit down.
You see, this is a biblical principle taken from Ecclesiastes 3:11. It says, “To everything there is a season; a time for every purpose under heaven.”
Our Role as Christian Teachers
This is the focus of the first day of school. I want my students to know this biblical principle. I don’t need to tell them it’s from the bible. It’s a truth I believe and want my students to know. I can communicate this truth, remind them of this truth, and expect them to live by this truth. That’s my role as a Christian teacher in public school.
As I go into my first day of school, that’s my message to my students. That’s the biblical mindset that I have when I walk into my classroom. That’s my duty as a Christian teacher in public school. I’m not teaching the Bible but I am teaching biblical principles. I’m teaching my students to think about truth and apply it to their lives. Truth is universal. God’s truth applies to everything and that’s what I do as a Christian teacher in the public school.
Teach your students from day one how to govern themselves and think for themselves. Teach them the importance of liberty and independence. Their life is valuable. Each person has a unique contribution. This is how we prepare our students for citizenship in a free country. Furthermore, character education is also a part of this. Use the fruits of the spirit as character qualities you expect from your students. Tie them into the schools expected learning outcomes.
Teach the history and meaning of the US Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Pledge of Allegiance no matter what grade or subject being taught. Even if your lessons are short and infrequent, the principles by which you govern your classroom are based on those ideas. Additionally, teach them the faith and character of key individuals in our history such as the pilgrims, George Washington, and George Washington Carver.
Ensure that all your students are able to read and understand literature. Reading is a very important skill and cannot be underestimated. We want our students to be able to read independently on grade level. Too many students cannot do this. This is the main problem in our school system.
I’ve noticed that in the public school we teach reading but we don’t make sure our students read well because we’re focused on other standards or expectations and if that student didn’t learn how to read fluently in second or third grade then it’s too late. I wholeheartedly disagree with that. I teach fifth grade and realize that most of my fifth graders can’t read at a third grade level.
This coming school year I’m going to teach second grade and that is going to be my main goal. A reading student is a learning student and a thinking student. If a child does not master reading fluency, they will struggle their entire life. 99% of my students don’t even like reading. That was me. Make reading fun. Read books aloud that are engaging and interesting for students.
Let me tell you a story about how I got a biblical worldview. I attended public school my whole life. My parents and siblings and I went to church every Sunday and most Wednesdays. At a young age I knew that the Bible was true, Jesus is the only way to God, and I needed to trust Him to be the Lord of my life. I did that at eight years old. As a teenager, the Lord spoke to me one day and told me, “I’m a part of every area of your life.” That’s when I realized that my walk with God was more than just church attendance and prayer before meals. Reading my Bible every day more and more was the beginning of the development of my biblical worldview.
Two things happened to me before graduating high school. One, God showed me that he created me to be a teacher and wanted me to go to college. He spoke to me again in his still small voice and said, “I am a part of every subject.”
The second thing that happened to me before graduating high school was I was fed up with being around people who didn’t care about God. I wanted to go to a Christian university and become a teacher in a Christian school. I became intensely serious about my relationship with God. As far as I was concerned, I wanted God in every aspect of my life including what I did as a career.
Consequently, off to college I went in a Christian environment and with Christian friends and Christian professors but no one taught me how God was a part of every subject. Believe me, I took every class there was on how to teach each subject but there was no mention of God. The main goal of this program was to certify me as a public school teacher. Back then, that’s not what God wanted me to do. Before graduating college, I married my best friend. I decided to quit school one year early and dedicate myself to full-time missionary work.
TEACHER TRAINING FROM BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES
I heard about a year-long training school for Christian teachers in Christian schools. The school teaches that every subject is derived from the Word of God and His character. I did not hesitate to sign up for that. That was my first introduction to a biblical worldview. During this year-long training, I learned about a philosophy of education created by The Foundation for American Christian Education called The Principle Approach®. We used The Red Books: The Christian History of the Constitution of the United States of America: Christian Self-Government by Verna Hall and Teaching and Learning America’s Christian History: The Principle Approach® by Rosalie Slater. We also used another red book called A Guide to American Christian Education for the Home and School: The Principle Approach® by James B. Rose which was published by American Christian History Institute. The main purpose is to restore America’s Christian history and America’s role in preserving liberty.
I learned many things. First, I learned that America‘s educational system is based on the principles that our founding fathers believed in which were based on the Bible. I had no idea. It was amazing to see proof of that in the original sources. Second, I learned about the constitution and how it shapes our American society and culture. Next, I learned about the secular humanists that have influenced our culture over the years. We were taught the Chain of Christianity, which is a series of links in America’s history showing how the gospel shaped the ideas of liberty. I had no idea how the history of the past connected to America’s history. I learned the interconnected events throughout the world’s history that brought about a form of liberty in America that had yet to exist. It’s one of the most fascinating and enlightening stories I’ve ever heard.
NOW IT MAKES SENSE…but not for public schools
I was able to put together all the unrelated facts I learned in public school into one unifying message of the gospel‘s influence on the world. This changed my life in my whole perspective on everything I do. That was the beginning of learning the biblical worldview of education and have seen it erode more and more especially now. I’m going to fight, speak out, and stand for truth to the end. Who wants to join me?
This type of study is very intense and takes many years to fully develop, but the news is out and there is a generation of young leaders right now in our country who are speaking out the truth of these ideas. In the last six months I’ve never heard so many young conservatives speak tidbits of America’s true history and knowledge of biblical principles on TV or the Internet. And guess what? Some of them were homeschooled. With easy access to the Internet there are so many opportunities for us as conservatives to speak out biblical truth. Our country was not based on slavery but on biblical principles of liberty, independence, and self government.
NOW I’M A CHRISTIAN TEACHER IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
As a teacher I spent 15 years in private Christian education but now God is calling me to the public school. In this season of my life it is time to join the club and do my part to speak out the truth of biblical principles and since I am a Christian teacher in public school I want to help all Christian teachers in public schools learn and integrate biblical principles in their lessons. This type of biblical integration goes beyond treating others in a Christlike manner. It’s about explicitly teaching the truth of America’s Christian history and perpetuating the Christian principles of liberty and self-government in the reading, writing, math, and science lessons that we teach. That’s what I get excited about.
What about you? What is your worldview? How do you as a Christian teacher in public school integrate the word of God into what you do? How did you learn how to integrate the word of God into what you do? What books have you read that you were inspired by to live out your faith as a Christian teacher in public schools?
Stay tuned for more about how to get a biblical worldview.
There are so many Christians in our feel good, instantaneous society today that don’t read or know their Bible. They watch it on YouTube or glance at it on Instagram, they listen to it at church or on the Bible app, and they don’t know basic Christian doctrine or have an understanding of how each book of the Bible points to Christ. Additionally, they don’t memorize the Bible or meditate on it in a journal (electronic or otherwise). Lastly, they don’t know what the Bible says about certain subjects such as food, money, marriage, bones, chains, women, government, fish, blood, or any other random idea like that.
My suggestion is to make it a part of your regular routine to learn these things. It’s kind of like going to Bible school. It’s an effort that has eternal worth in so many ways in your own life and in society around you. Attend a church that teaches the Bible verse by verse chapter by chapter not topically.
READ AND KNOW THE US CONSTITUTION
Becoming highly familiar with the US Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Pledge of Allegiance will help you understand the biblical principles by which we live in this country. Read them and take lots of notes over time. Research its meaning and purpose and history. Enroll in a study course if desired. Ask yourself questions about how you can teach these ideas in your classroom. Keep a record of principles that you learn and make an effort to explain them on paper even if it’s just one or two sentences. Keep a list of things you are inspired by and match them up with the Word of God.
Plan lessons that reflect a Bible verse or historical principle from America’s founding documents. The book that I mentioned in the blog post entitled “How I Got a Biblical Worldview” talks about all these things. It’s a big book, but has a lot of short yet inspirational nuggets of information.
Go to thekidsguide.com for some teaching resources along these lines. Visit my TpT Store often to find lessons I created for public schools. Take baby steps. Follow me as I attempt to articulate and encourage other Christian teachers to do this.
I’ve been doing this for 6 years and I want to share it with Christian teachers in public school. I want Christian teachers in public school to be empowered and confident in the God they serve. No public institution can tell us what we can or cannot say. That’s where the constitution comes into play. Freedom is a real thing paid for with real blood and preserved only by those with real courage to protect it at all costs.
We will lose our freedom if we don’t fight for it. Pay attention to what’s going on around you. Resist any and all ideas that are against the principles of freedom, independence, and self government. Finally, stand up for truth in your class and when you’re teaching your lessons!!