The following is from the book Myths: Fact and Fiction about Teaching and Learning by Israel Galindo. How well do you know fact from fiction?
Fiction: You can tell the age of a tree by counting the rings in a cross-section cut of the trunk.
Fact: You cannot get an exact determination of the age of a tree by counting its rings. During years of drought a tree may not add a ring, and in some seasons a tree, reacting to environmental traumas like pest attacks, may grow more than one ring.
Fiction: Because church is a place where everyone is accepted and loved, we should be more tolerant of acting out behavior on the part of learners. After all, itâ€™s the Christian thing to be patient and long-suffering. If we are not, persons will not want to come back.
Fact: While it is true that Christians are to be long-suffering and patient, it doesnâ€™t necessarily mean we need to be so to learners who are willfully acting out and disrupting the learning experience. Frankly, I canâ€™t bring myself to imagining the Master Teacher putting up with nonsense and disruptive behavior when he was teaching, can you?
The truth is that learners need an environment where there is an acceptable level of order and respect in order to learn. What is â€œacceptableâ€ will be different depending on the group members. What is acceptable in a room full of preschoolers is different to that of a classroom of adults; and what passes as â€œacceptableâ€ for adolescents may be in a category all its own! But it is always unacceptable for someone to express disrespect for others and to deprive others of the opportunity to learn through disruptive behavior.
In my experience there are basically two causes for people acting out in a classroom learning situation. In the first, they are clueless about their own behavior and donâ€™t realize that how they say things or what they are doing is disruptive. In the second, they are intentionally acting out. In response to the first the best posture seems to be to take the person aside and try to help make them aware of their behavior and its effect on the class. While most people are a bit embarrassed at first they also express appreciation for being told, and most can change their behavior. In the second case, I encourage teachers to deal with the situation in a straightforward manner. Those people know what they are doing and do with for the purpose of willful disruption. In that case you are not obligate to â€œbe nice.â€ Direct confrontation and a clear setting of boundaries is called for in that case.
Helping persons learn how to comport themselves in the church is part of the discipling process. To not try to correct that behavior (to â€œput it rightâ€ in theological terms) may be more unchristian than trying not to hurt their feelings. Many teachers seem to forget that and wind up paying a high price in frustrationâ€”as do their learners. Everybody looses when there is a lack of the discipline that flows from discipleship.
You can order a copy of the book Myth: Fact and Fiction about Teaching and Learning by Israel Galindo (ISBN 0-9715765-4-8) directly from Educational Consultants or Amazon.com.
Date posted: Tuesday, April 1st, 2008 12:05 am | Under category: discipleship, Sunday school, teaching
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