Note: This is part two of a four-part series on the distinctives of transformational education, in which we explore four types of changes. These changes correspond to TeachBeyond’s four foundational principles and influence everything we do in our schools and classrooms. To read part one, click here.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world,
By the time I got saved I had spent about a third of my life developing a world view that was, in many ways, opposite to Christianity. As I began to understand biblical principles, I realized that I needed to reorient my thinking on just about everything. I wanted to change from the way I thought to the way God thinks. I discovered that having God reveal truth to me through the Holy Spirit was a life-giving experience. I also realized it was a slow process.
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—
his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Helping students to learn to think in correct ways seems right up the alley of the Christian school. This involves helping students to renew their minds so they don’t conform to the way the world thinks but to the way God thinks. It means helping students learn how to think and process information and to be discerning about ideas, principles and values. The key to thinking correctly is aligning the mind with truth. This involves more than just knowing whether something is true or false or right or wrong but also uncovering the connection between knowledge and the God of the universe. A transformational school understands this and works to provide an education that is continuously helping students see things as God sees them. Making this connection is part of what is meant by “renewing the mind” and it will have a lifelong impact on our students.
We are conditioned to think a certain way by our family, culture, experiences and education. Since these may not always teach us the truth about reality, we need to rely on God’s word to enlighten us and give us the correct perspective. Enlightenment is not a 18th
century philosophical idea that replaces the mind of God with the thoughts of Man, nor an eastern religious state of nirvana, but an acceptance and understanding of principles of Truth applied to the world, as revealed in Scripture by an almighty God through the Holy Spirit.
Integration is a word that describes the process of how we use God’s Word to shine the light of truth onto everything we teach. This refers to the idea of oneness between the Creator and the creation. The study of the creation then, reveals something about the Creator. Teaching the whole truth always reveals something about God.
Transformation occurs when we align our minds with God’s mind as truth is applied to what we learn. This idea is illustrated by the magnet and iron filing experiment from science class. All the
information we take in everyday is like a big pile of iron filings … a collection of various thoughts, information and theories but with no decisive paradigm to bring order and clarity to make sense of the universe. God’s word acts like a giant magnet (placed under the paper) that moves the pieces of iron to align with a constant force that we call a magnetic field (Truth). Soon a pattern begins to develop where all the ideas are aligned correctly with God’s perspective. We see an order to the universe that gives us a perspective (worldview) that is aligned with God’s.
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” John 16:13a
God uses the Holy Spirit to make the connection between his Word and our lives. God’s Word and his Spirit work together to give us understanding. As teachers, we rely on the Holy Spirit to bring us revelation about making the connections between God’s Word and his world. This dependency on God should lead us to prayer … to asking for grace, wisdom and revelation.
Transformation in our schools requires relying on God and then making the educational experience as effective as possible.
When the school culture provides a positive and supportive learning environment, the mind is freed to understand, reason, explore and create. This includes using good educational practices and doing the best we can with the resources we have. It includes seeing the student as God sees them and creating an environment that helps each one reach their God given potential. This means treating each person as a unique individual, meeting student needs, teaching values, understanding the world and our experiences from God’s perspective and encouraging spiritual growth. It includes learning in the context of positive personal relationships. The transformational school makes the student feel at home, providing a place where they feel safe, encouraged and loved. Learning can then happen at a depth that can have a lifelong affect how students think.
 All Scripture references are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Emphasis added.
Magnetic Fields – 15. Windell H. Oskay, www.evilmadscientist.com. CC by 2.0.