Online Book Discussion: The Law of Education


Today we begin the second chapter of our online book discussion.  Once again, you are welcome to participate in this interactive journey through the book, Teaching to Change Lives by Howard Hendricks.  My plan is to give you a concise summary of the chapter along with questions for reflection.  If you have read through the second chapter please feel free to leave comments or questions (if you’re new to this, simply click on the comments section at the top and it will prompt you on what to do).  

  • Summary

521382_1_ftc_dp1.jpgChapter two deals with the Law of Education.  Simply stated, the way people learn determines how you teach.  Since people learn best when they are involved in the learning process, our job as teachers is to stimulate our students toward self-discovery and self-activity.  In this way, the ultimate test of our teaching is not what we do, but what our students do as a result of what we do. 

In this chapter, Hendricks challenges teachers to consider their role in the educational process.  Instead of being a player, we are to be the coach.  Instead of being the doer we are the motivator.  With our role clearly defined, our aim becomes clearer as well.  We must aim for life change in our students.  We must prepare and plan toward that end.  We must ask ourselves the question:  What is the main thing my students will know and do as a result of what I teach them?

In this process of planning and teaching, Hendricks lays out three essential goals for teachers:

  1. Teach people how to think
  2. Teach people how to learn
  3. Teach people how to work

To sum up these points we could use the familiar axiom: 

Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime.

It's true.  When we get our students involved in the learning process--discovering the truth and acting on the truth for themselves--they will be changed.

But if we're going to teach our students to think, learn, and work, Hendricks says we must help them to master four basic skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking.

Suprisingly, Hendricks seems to place a high priority on listening over speaking saying that good teachers must be good listeners.  Finally, Hendricks reminds us of the importance of failure.  Failure is a great teacher and we must feel the freedom to fail and let our students fail.  And yet at the same time, we must be sensitive to those special cases where failure can result in frustration and lack of motivation. 

  • Questions for Reflection
  1. What's one thing that jumped out at you in this chapter?
  2. What do you want to do as a result of what you learned? 
  3. Agree/Disagree:  I haven't taught if my students haven't learned.
  4. Agree/Disagree:  Too much of Christian education is too passive.
  5. Do you walk into your class with a goal?  Is it written in terms of the student?
  6. Do you think listening is the more difficult and more crucial skill than speaking?
  7. When has failure personally helped you in your growth as a Christian?
  • Read some earlier comments below