LIBERTY UNIVERSITY LIBERTY BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT ONE: LEARNING AND TEACHING EXPLORED

A RESEARCH PAPER SUBMITTED TO DR. MICHAEL R. MITCHELL IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENT FOR THE COURSE CMIN 610

BY DEBORAH BASKIN

VIDALIA, GA SATURDAY, AUGUST 31, 2013

TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................................... 2 DEFINITION OF LEARNING ...................................................................................................... 2 DEFINITION OF TEACHING ...................................................................................................... 4 CONCLUSION…………………………………………………………….…………………...…6 BIBLIOGRAPHY ........................................................................................................................... 7

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INTRODUCTION One of the most quoted scriptures in regard to the necessity of the need to study the Bible is 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing (rightly handling and skillfully teaching) the Word of Truth.”1 Since a synonym for the word study is learning, both the ideas of learning and teaching are utilized in this passage. The implied meaning is that if one is going to accurately teach the scripture, one must first engage in the process of studying (i.e., learning) the scripture. In the following paper, a descriptive definition of these two terms will be recommended. The conclusion will correlate the two terms in relationship to each other and discuss whether the hyphenated “teaching-learning process” is justified. DEFINITION OF LEARNING When Christ taught, He anticipated a change in behavior.2 Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:24). William Yount analyzed Skinner’s Operant Conditioning as a useful tool in education.3 While operant conditioning can produce the desired behavior changes in education, there are some ethical considerations. Pavlov’s work was used by

This scripture text was taken from the Amplified Bible; however, unless otherwise noted all other scripture used in this paper will be taken from the New American Standard Bible. Dr. Michael R. Mitchell, Leading, Teaching, and Making Disciples: World-Class Christian Education in the Church, School and Home (Nashville: CrossBooks Publishing, 2010), 192. William Yount, Created to Learn: a Christian Teacher's Introduction to Educational Psychology, Second Edition, 2 ed. (Downers Grove, Illinois: B&H Academic, 2010), 171-214.
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the Soviet State to shape their proletariat into the Soviet-Man.4 Therefore, this behavior change would be considered manipulative in nature and not necessarily wise. This does not appear to be the change in behavior that Christ desired from his followers. Rewarding positive actions and conditioning certain responses can help in classroom management and often produce lasting behavior modifications; however, this type of change does not produce inward motivation. According to Romans 12:2, one is transformed and changed by the renewing of his mind. Christ requires a wisdom that has an intrinsic value and not one purely initiated by conditioning to specific stimuli. Creative teachers comprehend this learning principal: “Learning most powerfully transfers and transforms when the material taught has meaning to the student’s life and experience.”5 The above-mentioned scripture (Romans 12:2) supports this principle. Christ effectively taught his disciples through the judicious use of parables. These stories created an emotional reaction in the hearers and motivated them to act upon the new information. Teachers today still need to utilize this strategy and “appreciate the role emotion plays in learning.”6 Christ also demonstrated the behavior that he wanted his disciples to emulate and allowed them to join Him in his actions; thus, the learners (disciples) had something personally invested in the process of learning. This new way of living and understanding (knowledge) was not

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Ibid., 207.

Lawrence O. Richards and Gary J. Bredfeldt, Creative Bible Teaching (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1998), 115. Marge Scherer, “How Do Children Learn?”, Educational Leadership 54, no. 6 (March 1997): 5, accessed August 30, 2013,http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/docview/224855967/fulltextPDF?accountid=12085.
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something that merely existed “out there” but was shaped by the individual’s experience.7 The disciples were able to replicate this behavior even when they were not with Christ. This continued behavior highlighted the learning paradigm that active learning requires a student’s but not the teacher’s presence.8 Learning involves three domains: cognitive, affective, and behavior.9 Mitchell offered this clarification; “The educational enterprise reaches its ultimate goal when there is evidence of an increase in knowledge, understanding, and wisdom that influences both attitudes and behavior - in other words - life change.”10 True learning has occurred when students can apply the new information in their own circumstances and also teach it to others. This must transpire in the lives of believers if they are going to fulfill the Great Commission. DEFINITION OF TEACHING Ephesians 4: 12-13 offered an excellent description of teaching, “For the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” Strong’s defined equipping as “complete furnishing.”11 The use of the word complete intimates that the teacher has much to accomplish in

Robert B. Barr and John Tagg, “From Teaching to Learning - a New Paradigm for Undergraduate Education”, Change 27, no. 6 (November, 1995): 12-25, accessed August 30, 2013, http://search.proquest.com/docview/208057013?accountid=12085..
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Ibid. Richards, 136. Mitchell, 192.

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Blue Letter Bible, s.v. “Dictionary and Word Search for Katartismos (Strong's 2677),” accessed August 31, 2013,http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2677&t=KJV.

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the teaching process. Mitchell asserted that teaching occurs when the following activities are implemented: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) Motivating, Communicating, Inspiring, Elevating, and Activating.12

Teaching is active and should produce a change in the student. Therefore, it is essential that teachers engage students and teach to their learning styles. “Once teachers learn how their students learn, they can match individuals’ learning styles with the method most responsive to that style.”13 The following story illustrates this idea: When my husband, Mark, was in seminary getting his MCM at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (back in the 1990s), he had to take an introductory class in Old Testament. Besides attending seminary full time, he was working nights at UPS and half time at a church; therefore, he was getting little sleep. The professor of the class had great knowledge of the subject, which he demonstrated in his lengthy lectures and prodigious vocabulary of theological terms and ideas. There was no class engagement or discussion. It was a teacher centric class. The classroom temperature was warm. Mark was not only lost in the proliferation of new information but fell asleep during the lectures. He realized that he would not be able to perform in the class and opted to drop it. When he told the professor that he was dropping the class, the professor replied, “Good idea.” On the advice of fellow students when he registered the next semester for the class, he enrolled in a different professor’s course. This professor spoke at the level of the students taking his class. The classroom environment was pleasant with collaborative groups and class discussion fostering student engagement. Mark’s experience and performance was markedly different. First, he did not fall asleep and did “A” work in the course. Mark’s life situation had not changed but he had a totally altered learning experience. The difference was the professor and his teaching methodology.

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Mitchell, 213.

Rita Dunn, “How Do We Teach Them If We Don't Know How They Learn?”, Teaching Pre K - 8 29, no. 7 (April, 1999): 50-52, accessed August 30, 2013, http://search.proquest.com/docview/231915930?accountid=12085..

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Both of these teachers were knowledgeable. However, the second teacher created an environment that anticipated the needs and different learning styles of his students. The professor lectured, but he also engaged the students in discussion. Active learning was taking place. He also did not assume that these music majors were theologians with prior in-depth knowledge and taught the class using a vocabulary that they understood. This teacher created an atmosphere in which students could learn.14 Years later, Mark still utilizes information that his second professor imparted to him. This is an indication that true teaching and learning took place. CONCLUSION The hyphenated phrase “teaching-learning process” is justified. The goal of teaching is to produce learning.15 Mitchell outlined five stages in the Proverbs 2 metamodel for the teachinglearning process. They included: Stage I – accepting of words (internalization of the material); Stage II – turning his ears (receive and respond to the words imparted); Stage III – applying his heart (intentional changes); Stage IV – understanding (knowledge to understanding); and, Stage V – walking in the ways of good men (life application outside of the classroom).16 Each of the first four stages involves both teaching and learning. True teaching only takes place when change occurs within the individual. It is more than the acquisition of new information, behaviors, skills or a conditioned response.17 Effective teaching and learning produces wisdom that can be developed in the life of the learner even after the teacher is not present; thus, the two activities are married in the educational process.

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Mitchell, 225. Barr. Mitchell, 161 – 190. Ibid., 196

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BIBLIOGRAPHY Barr, Robert B., and John Tagg. “From Teaching to Learning - a New Paradigm for Undergraduate Education.” Change 27, no. 6 (November, 1995): 12-25. Accessed August 30, 2013.http://search.proquest.com/docview/208057013?accountid=12085.. Dunn, Rita. “How Do We Teach Them If We Don't Know How They Learn?” Teaching Pre K 8 29, no. 7 (April, 1999): 50-52. Accessed August 30, 2013. http://search.proquest.com/docview/231915930?accountid=12085.. Mitchell, Dr. Michael R. Leading, Teaching, and Making Disciples: World-Class Christian Education in the Church, School and Home. Nashville: CrossBooks Publishing, 2010. Richards, Lawrence O., and Gary J. Bredfeldt. Creative Bible Teaching. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1998. Scherer, Marge. “How Do Children Learn?” Educational Leadership 54, no. 6 (March 1997): 5. Accessed August 30, 2013. http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/docview/224855967/fulltextPD F?accountid=12085. Yount, William. Created to Learn: a Christian Teacher's Introduction to Educational Psychology, Second Edition. 2 ed. Downers Grove, Illinois: B&H Academic, 2010.

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