Vol.XIX No.IX Pg.2
November 1982

Realistic Teaching

Robert F. Turner

The front page article is a serious indictment of church teaching programs; and since I have spent most of my life in local work, often responsible for such programs, this has a very personal sting. But what are we to do about the situation?

We can blame parents — who do not encourage and assist children in home work (??) or follow-up the teacher's efforts — who did not and do not promote their own home teaching program. We can blame the students — "They are not interested in Bible study — They couldn't care less about David..." But none of this buck passing relieves us of our obligations. This may come as a terrible shock to some, but it is the teacher's business to create an interest in the subject — and that goes for the preacher in the pulpit as well as for classroom teachers.

The class-room setting (is it conducive to order, good lighting, pleasant but business- like?), the grading of students (so common interests prevail, — the selection of material to be presented suited to interests we have a right to expect of those students?), and has the teacher well prepared: NOT just something to say, but a method of stirring attention to this subject, and making it an answer to the needs of these students???

Entertainment, games, tricky methods, are often cheap shots — substitutes for genuine teaching. The test is, are the students Bible taught and motivated to use the information, or simply pleased by a social ploy. Is our goal "fun kicks," or taught, believing, behaving children?

I do not have all the answers (surprised?) but want to suggest one factor often missing, which may make a whopping big difference. We must be more realistic in our appraisal of Bible school pupils: their capacity, what we can expect to accomplish, how to go about it. I do not suggest lowering our goals — just adjust the way to reach them. What advantage in concentrating on what one must do, when we have not shown the need for change nor cultivated the desire for it?

For example: have we seriously considered the problems of Junior boys, tried to list them, built a confidence with the boys, led them to see Bible answers to those problems in a realistic way??? (Saying, "All children should obey their parents!" is not the same as leading them to that conclusion, while stirring a desire on their part to be good boys.) It is not realistic to see those boys as tiny birds, beaks open, ready to be fed. We must challenge their minds, and send them looking for their meal.