“The cause of God needs teachers who have high moral qualities, and can be trusted with the education of others—men who are sound in the faith, and have tact and patience; who walk with God, and abstain from the very appearance of evil; who stand so closely connected with God, that they can be channels of light—in short, Christian gentlemen.”— Ellen White, Christian Education, 213
This is a challenging time in which education is solely dependent on online teaching through technology. Many schools have adapted to learning through group video conferencing via internet connectivity. This new wave of learning has its pros and cons.
Technology helps use virtual reality in explaining concepts in a more dynamic, realistic, and creative way, in which students get a true part in their learning process. But, on the other hand, class discipline is a new challenge. Students prefer to turn off their camera and this makes teaching difficult, since it eliminates interactive learning such as question answer session, discussions, hands on activities, and presents the lack of the human element of the teacher as one who imparts knowledge. Educators will need to look for creative ways to adjust to this changing dynamic.
The need for an equitable balance in the education core values is put to task – to make students critical thinkers, effective communicators, exemplary workers, caring citizens, and self-managers. Over and above this prevailing situation, we have not just the students in class but a host of additional inquisitive passersby taking a peek at what is going on – parents, siblings, and other family member or guests. These new elements are part of the equation, in this novel world of online teaching and learning and must be adapted for.
As an Adventist educator, it has become very difficult to meet the spiritual necessity of integrating faith in learning. A prayer before the class begins, interacting with the students about their personal concerns, and placing their problems before the Lord has been an encouraging practice and helps to make a difference in the lives of our young ones. A conversation about a student’s lost father and a prayer of peace to the Lord above gives the students the assurance that their teacher cares for them, not only in terms of academics, but about their whole development as human beings. It is important that teachers maintain this spiritual care for their students even through the video conferences.
The topic of early myths of the Church over certain scientific beliefs, which caused the persecution even unto death of the early scientists that had a contrary view to the Church (Galileo and Giordano Bruno) was discussed in one of my Physics classes. Though the class is focused on science, we took the time to discuss the implications of early scientific discovery on the need to seek truth. When we take our role as an educator, we need to never leave behind our additional role of being an evangelist in the cause of the Lord. The changing world may require us to adopt a change evangelistic approach. For that a total surrender and closer association to the Alpha and Omega, to the Elohim. As we want to do the will of God to hear with clarity from Him is a no compromise. We must continue to fulfill this mission, even as the format of education constantly shifts and changes.
“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” Psalms 32:8
My prayer to all Adventist Educators is to be non-wavering, faith and knowledge based instructor in our class rooms.