By Dr. Kristin Bird
Too often teachers rely on curriculum guides to tell them how to integrate biblical principles into the concepts they are teaching their students. However, there are times when the curriculum guide may not adequately prepare the teacher for the moments when the student can learn the most. In those teachable moments, a student may ask a question that leads to a conversation that cannot be dictated by the curriculum. It is especially in those moments that teachers need to be ready to incorporate biblical concepts and principles into what they teach.
As Christian teachers, not only do we want to honor God in our teaching, but we want to clearly point students to Christ and help them think from a biblical worldview. The goal of biblical integration is to help students think critically through a biblical worldview.
To incorporate biblical principles into teaching, keep the following keys in mind:
Key 1: Biblical integration needs to be natural.
One thing teachers need to remember about biblical integration is that it cannot be forced. Biblical integration is more than the addition of some Bible verses and lessons about character education, or a simple application at the end of the lesson. Biblical integration, when presented in an unnatural manner, is not effective and can even turn students away from biblical truth.
Instead, teachers need to draw lessons from stories and illustrations as Jesus did in His teaching (parables). Biblical integration takes place throughout the lesson, and all content is presented from a biblical perspective.
Key 2: Biblical integration needs to have practical life application.
Teachers who want to integrate biblical principles into their teaching effectively need to go beyond just mentioning Christian values. They need to have the students use and practice them and be provided with opportunities to demonstrate Christian actions and attitudes.
Teachers should integrate into lessons how various experiences (stories, etc.) can help develop Christian values and attitudes, especially so they align with your school/church mission. Also, weave ways throughout the curriculum and class discussions on how students can be involved in Christian service. As a teacher who knows the lives of the students, offer suggestions or create assignments that are appropriate for the age group and culture of the community.
Key 3: Biblical integration needs to be bathed in prayer and be a calling from God.
Teachers who try to integrate biblical principles into teaching without first seeking God will not be successful. It is essential that teachers pray for opportunities to present the Gospel to students through their teaching. Helping students see their need of Him and how the biblical truths can affect change in their lives is important. Just because we are teaching in a Christian school/church, the teacher should not assume all students are Christians. Allow students to reject the message/gospel, if they choose, and don’t force the students to agree with Christianity or force them to believe. Instead, allow them to choose to believe and give their own perspective. Asking students to “give an example of something you’ve experienced as a Christian” or explain something in light of “because you are a Christian…” puts them in a difficult spot if they have not become a Christian yet. However, students should be given ample opportunities to make a decision for Christ.
Biblical integration is the act of pointing to the foundational biblical truths behind every content area for the purpose of changing student performance as it relates to that content. These three keys will allow teachers to be more effective life-changers for Christ, so that students naturally ask, “How does this content or lesson point to the revealed nature of God and man’s ability to know and glorify Him?” As teachers, we can only help students by first believing it is our mission to present these truths in a way that affects life-change in the students’ thoughts and actions, then presenting the material in a natural way that students can practically use. The resulting life-change is essentially the biblical concept of discipleship (Matt 28:16-20).
Volume 9 Issue 1 - The Renewanation Review