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Reclaiming the virtues of Teaching

/Reclaiming the virtues of Teaching

Virtue is moral excellence–something that is praiseworthy and positive about our behaviour, character, and disposition. Learning and teaching both present opportunities for cultivating virtue. Here are few points for  virtues of learning and teaching:

  • Listening

At times we don’t always listen or listen well. Learning presents opportunities to develop our listening skills. In our fast-paced culture we’re often presented with noise or constant entertainment, which do little to help us learn to listen. Listening is a virtue in that it helps us treat others, and what they have to say, with respect and kindness (even if we disagree with them).

  • Asking Questions

Both students and teachers must learn to ask good questions. Sometimes we may get so carried away with a curriculum, book, or idea that we fail to ask questions about what it’s teaching or about the underlying ideas. Asking questions is virtuous in the sense that good questions help us think through difficult matters. Using our minds, in turn, is virtuous and allows us, for instance, to express our love for God.

  • Demonstrating Patience

Learning and teaching also require patience, which the Bible lists as one of the fruits of the Spirit. Patience helps us learn restraint. The deliberate delaying process of patience can also give us time to think, as well as to listen before we speak. Developing patience can also help us remain calm and, as a result, build our character positively, helping us avoid rash decisions or conclusions.

  • Exhibiting Humility

Learning and knowing a lot can lead to pride, arrogance, and self-centeredness. But learning and teaching also can help us grow in humility. Being humble in relation to learning and teaching means that we don’t think more of ourselves than we should. Humility helps us know that we don’t know everything and, in fact, probably have some significant gaps in our knowledge.

  • Enjoying Discovery

One of the great experiences of learning is the enjoyment of discovery, even if it means deviating from our schedule or lesson plan. This enjoyment of discovery relates to virtue in the sense that it relates to wonder, joy, and delight. If we truly want to help our children become lifelong learners, then we should encourage their delight in the learning process.

  • Being courageous

Courage opposes fear, which is sometimes far too often present in education. “Fear of not having the right answer, fear of not understanding things the way everyone else does, fear of being singled out, fear of not being singled out, fear of reproach, of ridicule, of failure. For many children the school is a House of Fear, no matter how charming its architecture, or open its halls, or contemporary its materials” . The virtue of courage drives out fear and, as a result, helps us enjoy both learning and teaching.

  • Seeking truth

Finally, seeking truth is a virtue, not what may or may not “feel right,” what we expect to find, or even what is comfortable. If we are able to explore a variety of perspectives with the goal of ultimately seeking and understanding truth, then education is truly taking place.

  • Integrity

We use this word to describe what one has when one firmly adheres to and identifies with the virtues for the right reasons and when no one is looking. Integrity is acting on the awareness of spirituality. The origins of the word, “integer,” are about “oneness.” Integrity is a synonym for “good character,” except that good character also, by our definition, calls for the following trait.