My Biblical Worldview Assignment essay for my Instructional Practices for Content Teachers class at Liberty University.
I believe there are two ditches Christian teachers can fall into when it comes to teaching and talking about worldviews and beliefs in the classroom, especially in public school classrooms. The first ditch is the belief that biblical values have no place in factual education. The second, equally dangerous view is that biblical values should take the place of factual education. Biblical integration provides the middle ground: teaching factual information on the basis of biblical values. This essay looks at the what, why, and how of biblical worldview integration.
What is a worldview?
The word worldview itself is pretty self-explanatory: A worldview is how one views the world. It is a set of “answers to life’s biggest questions” (MacCullough, 2012, p. 19). It is the filter through which we strain all information; the colored lenses through which we view the world (Smith, 2012). It is a mindset that affects the values, which in turn affect the actions of every individual (“How Does a Worldview Shape Our Culture,” n.d.). All of these descriptions are accurate. A worldview is an integral part of all humans, as all are created by a God of logic, order, and reasoning with the ability to discern, process, filter, and construct coherent beliefs.
Why is worldview integration so important?
It is important for Christian teachers to be proactive about incorporating worldview instruction into their classroom because it is impossible to have a classroom that is worldview neutral. It is important for teachers to understand that their worldviews will affect their instruction, and that their students’ worldviews will affect how they process that instruction. Even Kauchak and Eggen (2014), secular authors on the topic of education, stated that it is impossible to keep one’s values from shaping instruction (Kauchak & Eggen, 2014). The key principle of worldviews is that they affect our values, which affect how we live every area of our lives (“How Does a Worldview…,” n.d.). Thus it is important to be intentional and open about having students examine their own worldviews and the worldviews around them (MacCullough, 2012). Encouraging students to have a mindfulness of their mindsets will help them to analyze their beliefs and the beliefs of others and recognize the values and actions that emanate from these beliefs.
What does it mean to “integrate”?
Biblical worldview integration begins with a mindset that leads to outward actions, not the other way around. One cannot expect that going through certain motions, such as reading a certain Bible text that pertains to the topic of study or praying before class, will effectively integrate a biblical worldview into the classroom (MacCullough, 2012). Practically speaking, biblical integration happens when the teacher connects all the various subjects with the common thread of the worldview provided in God’s word (MacCullough, 2012). It is not, as is so easy to do, turning the topic at hand into a biblical object lesson (MacCullough, 2012). This is akin to biblical substitution, not biblical integration. Biblical integration happens when each subject of study is looked at in light of the biblical answers to the relevant life questions (MacCullough, 2012). When teachers encourage students to have a mindfulness of the mindset through which they are approaching each subject, they are encouraging integration.
How can worldview integrative activities be developed regardless of the school setting?
The first step for teachers to take when integrating worldview mindfulness into their classroom is to become mindful of their own worldviews and the values that proceed from these mindsets. This will inevitably flow out into their actions. Secondly, teachers must also be intentional about planning and including worldview mindfulness into lesson plans (MacCullough, 2012). Also, they must be willing to be spontaneous, as unplanned opportunities will arise that they can make the most of if they are personally connected to Christ and grounded in what they believe (Smith, 2012). Christian schools offer a much more open environment to share directly from the Bible and personal Christian experience, but there are also opportunities to integrate biblical principles in public and non-Christian private schools. No matter the setting, teachers should be intentional about having children examine and shape their own worldviews through purposeful discussions on the topic and examinations of worldviews found in instructional materials (MacCullough, 2012). Through it all, teachers must remember that their personal lives must be biblically integrated before they can hope to effectively integrate biblical worldviews in their classrooms.
This essay has defined worldviews and integration, as well as explaining the importance of worldview integration and the process for integrating integration. Understanding how to properly integrate worldview discussion and biblical principles into the classroom will keep teachers from falling into either the ditch of biblical negation or the ditch of biblical substitution. True biblical integration begins when teachers take time to integrate God, His Word, and His worldview into their personal lives.
How does a worldview shape our culture? (n.d.). Retrieved from the Biblical Worldview Institute: http://biblicalworldviewinstitute.org/how-does-a-worldview-shape-our-culture
Kauchak, D. & Eggen, P. (2014). Introduction to teaching: Becoming a professional [5th ed.]. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
MacCullough, M. E. (2012). Developing a worldview approach to biblical integration. Langhorne, PA: Cairn University.
Smith, S. (2012). Biblical integration [Week 4 presentation for Instructional Practices for Content Teachers]. Lynchburg, VA: Liberty University.