Grace And Truth

by Pastor Jack Hyles

(Chapter 24 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Grace And Truth)


The big burden of the teaching-learning process is on the teacher. The right kind of teaching inspires learning. The right kind of leadership inspires followship. Periodically the student receives a grade. This grade not only reveals the student's ability to learn but also the teacher's ability to teach. Hence, when a student fails, the teacher should shoulder at least some of the blame remembering that the grade is his as well as the students. He too should weep when the student fails and should consider himself at least to some degree a failure in the job that God has called him to do. As the teacher contemplates his preparation and action for the prevention of failure he should consider several things.

1. He should have as his goal that every student should pass. This does not mean that he will ever attain his goal, but the fact that the goal is unattainable does not mean that it should be eliminated. Jesus Himself told us to be perfect even as our Father in Heaven is perfect. The fact that we cannot attain this goal does not mean that it should not be our goal. It is not to be implied that any teacher should relax his requirements or the work load of the student in order to attain this goal. It is to imply that the teacher ill should strive to improve his methods of teaching in an effort to reach every student with the knowledge he desires to impart hoping that he and the student together can pass the course.

This is the failure of grading "on a curve." Before the course ever starts, the teacher assumes that some will fail. In so doing he is assuming that he will fail in transferring his knowledge to some. With the proper kind of teaching, most students can be taught and will learn. The teacher should not make provision for failure but success, and he should do everything in his power to bring it about.

2. The classroom itself should be a place of teaching. This may seem like an unnecessary statement, yet it is tragic how that in some cases little if any knowledge is transferred from the teacher to the pupil during the classroom hour. In many cases the student learns at home and simply is tested or made to recite in class. It is sad when the teacher does not teach and the classroom is not a learning room. During the classroom session knowledge should be imparted from the teacher to the pupil. If the pupil does not walk out with the knowledge with which the teacher walked in, at least to some degree the teacher has failed.

Teaching need not be boring. The teacher should put the jelly on the bottom shelf" so all the pupils can reach it. He should put orange juice in the castor oil so the necessary result can be affected while the taste is improved.

3. In order to keep the pupil alert, the teacher should involve the class in participation. This is not to say that the pupil should teach. It is to say that there should be limited participation. If the pupil can do nothing more than finish a sentence begun by the teacher or fill in the blank of a sentence made by the teacher, it will keep the class alert. For example, the teacher can say, "Two plus two equals. . . . " The class replies, "Four." The teacher says, "Three plus what equals five?" The pupils can reply, "Two." This kind of participation will make the teacher more interesting and the pupil more interested.

4. The learning process requires repetition. Every time a fact is stated it makes the groove deeper. Dr. James Stewart once said that the curse of the Scottish ministry is its unwillingness to be repetitious. Someone asked Bill Harvey (who was my music director for two years) what was the secret to the ministry of Dr. Jack Hyles. Bill Harvey replied, "His willingness to be repetitious of the obvious." The wise teacher will not only repeat the truth over and over again, but will require the pupils to do the same.

5. Some teachers have found it wise to repeat tests. A test is given once. It is then announced that it will be given again. This enables the pupil to have another chance to learn the facts the teacher wants to transfer to him. Bear in mind, the purpose of the course is to transfer knowledge to the pupil. If the teacher wants the pupil to learn the facts given on the test, this is one way to insure this being done. It gives the teacher an opportunity to pass in his effort to transfer knowledge to the student.

Let's suppose that the student makes an 'Y' on the first test, but he scores an "A" on the second one. This does not mean that he should make an "A" in the course. It does, however, mean that he has learned the facts desired by the teacher and he can pass the course instead of failing it. Perhaps his grade would be an average of the two tests. This aids the teacher in fulfilling his goal of transferring the knowledge to the student.

6. In the giving of a grade, the teacher should consider what the student is doing with his time outside of class. Does the student have a job or does he have a lot of leisure time? Is he working or playing when he is out of class? Is there any area of his life which enables him to help learn the subject matter of the course he is taking? Is the student who is taking a course in education teaching a Sunday school class? Is the geography student doing any traveling? Is the student enrolled in the Bible course serving the Lord in a capacity that would necessitate his study of the Bible? All of these things should be taken into consideration before the grade is given.

We hear much about earned and honorary degrees. When a so-called honorary degree is given, it is as earned or more earned than a so-called earned degree. When a man without the opportunity and privilege of attending an educational institution learns on his own what is taught at that institution and becomes an unusual success in a particular field, he should certainly be given honor for this achievement. In receiving the degree the recipient is accepting an earned degree, not an honorary degree.

Such would be the case in a classroom situation. Hence, all of the aforementioned considerations should be given as the teacher strives to teach the pupil the knowledge that the course requires.

7. The teacher should prepare himself emotionally before he enters the class. He should spend a few moments in meditation. He should think of the goal that he is trying to achieve for that hour. He should picture himself at the judgment seat of Christ giving an account for the teaching or lack of it that he is about to do. He should approach the desk and stand before the class with a sober sense of awe, realizing that God is watching him and will someday judge him. May each of us give himself to whatever task God has called us to do, and may those of us who teach pass all of our courses.


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