Oct 13, 2017

The Movement That's Changing the Way We Teach Kids

Did you see the television special a few weeks ago about the movement that is changing the way kids are taught?  It was on all 3 major networks at prime time.  It's big, exciting news!  Let's take a closer look.

The movement is called XQ: The Super School Project.  The movement is working to overcome the complacency of high schools and other institutions of learning that are outmoded and ill-equipped to prepare kids to thrive in today's world.

The movement reveals that while the world has rapidly changed, our methods of learning have barely changed at all.  The United States, who was once first in the world in high school completion, now ranks 23rd.

It's time we make the changes needed to once again become a leader in education and provide state-of-the-art learning for every child.  And that's what the movement is about.  It's bringing together students, parents, educators, entrepreneurs and other leaders to re-imagine and re-think how we teach kids.  It's about creating the schools of the future.

The movement focuses on collaborating to help kids move beyond just memorization and abstract concepts to becoming self-directed learners who can apply what they've learned and use it to solve the problems they will face in a rapidly-changing world.

Here are some examples...

Old Paradigm                New Paradigm
-follows orders               -co-creates plans to achieve goals
-product driven               -customer driven
-climbs corp. ladder       -seeks leadership opportunities
-change takes time         -team responds quickly
-9 to 5                             -flexible
-lifelong job                    -change jobs often
-completes tasks            -pursues goals

How kids learn best:

1. Caring, trusting, supportive relationships with adults.

2. Kids respond best when high expectations are set.

3. Kids need opportunities to contribute.  Provide them with a choice and a voice.

4. Learning experiences that are engaging, related to their interests, offer opportunities to succeed and provide feedback.

Essentials for effective learning:

1. Students need opportunities to learn deeply, so they can gain knowledge and the ability to apply what they know, make inferences and solve problems.

2. Learning is most effective when students are able to relate what they've learned to their real lives.

3. Students need meaningful, student-centered, learning experiences, that enable them to build toward mastery.

4. Stop rote memorizing and start applying knowledge.

5. Depth of learning is achieved when teachers integrate new learning methods and tools into their curriculum thoughtfully and mindfully to meet students' needs and interests.

6. Students learn best when teaching is personalized and varied.

7. Inspiring teaching connects to the real world.

8. We have to make learning something kids want to do.

Here's what children's ministries have to understand.  These principles and philosophies of learning are the same when it comes to children learning God's Word.  It translates directly into how we teach and communicate God's Word to kids.

We also have to understand this.  Normally the church lags behind the education world when it comes to making changes in teaching methodology.  This means the necessary changes in the church will probably happen several years after schools make the shift.  That's scary, because the result could be another generation of kids who grow up in church without gaining the spiritual knowledge, instruction and passion they need to follow Jesus for a lifetime.

But it doesn't have to be that way.  The church can learn from this movement and make the necessary shifts needed to raise kids who follow Jesus in today's world.  It's time we stopped doing children's ministry like it's still 1950 or 1980 or even 2010.  It's time we make the changes needed so we can be effective.

In fact, rather than lagging behind, we should be leading the way in making the changes needed to effectively help today's kids learn and apply God's Word.

It's time we replace lecturing with learner-based activities.  

It's time we replaced rows of chairs with circles where kids learn from each other just as much as from a teacher up front. 

It's time we made church relevant to the lives of today's kids.  

It's time we teach application just as much as we teach information. 

It's time we teach kids to think critically and walk with them through the hard questions they will face about God and His Word. 

It's time we shift the focus from the teacher to the kids. 

It's time we stop having kids memorize scripture without helping them understand what it means. 

It's time we embrace the fact that kids are wired to move and learn best through interaction, activity and movement.

This is just a small overview of the many great insights you can gain from this movement.  I want to encourage you to check out their website and watch this video below for more information.

So much is at stake.  We must be willing to change if we are going to help kids gain a faith foundation that will stand the test of time and see them develop a Jesus-centered worldview.

Let the children's ministry movement begin!  Let's start teaching today's kids with relevant methods and effective philosophies.



Your turn.  The floor is yours. Share your thoughts and insight about this in the comment section below.

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