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A main reason for the existence of the Christian college or university is to provide an educational environment that includes both academic subject matter and Christian knowledge. At Azusa Pacific University, the school emphasizes their motto “God First” in and out of the classroom. According to APU’s Mission Statement, APU is a “Christian community of disciples and scholars who seek to advance the work of God in the world through academic excellence in liberal arts and professional programs of higher education that encourage students to develop a Christian perspective of truth and life.”
A worldview is a set of beliefs, values, and attitudes that enable us to process new information and maintain a consistent view of reality. Through our worldview we apply the standards that allow us to make connections between what we know, what we experience, and what new knowledge claims we encounter. Our worldview supplies the interpretive framework for understanding our experiences and the events of the world, and it provides the values that form the basis for decision making.
Because faith-learning integration is closely linked with judgments about what is or is not knowledge, our worldview is therefore clearly crucial to the proper functioning of faith and learning integration. Indeed, our worldview is the philosophical engine that drives the integrative process. A challenge facing Christian educators is that a Biblical worldview foundation has been taken for granted. Successful faith-learning integration is impossible for students who lack a clear and well defined Biblical worldview. The unity of truth—including academic and Biblical or theological truth—is at the heart of integration.
The construction of a Biblical worldview must be an ongoing process. It must be built and added in to every course. Christian Worldview forms the basis for decision making. Decisions are based on criteria, which are themselves based on values, which are part of one’s worldview. The Christian worldview provides the necessary basis for science. A worldview is the particular bias in our presuppositions that influences how you look at the world and what we see or expect to see. A person’s worldview influences what they expect to see and how they explain things. For instance, two people can observe the identical event and explain it differently based on the bias of their worldview. A Christian worldview can be defined as a single worldview that all Christians share and can be deemed as core theology or the theology that most all Christians agree upon, which is a short list.
The Wesleyan Quadrilateral is a four-source system of theological reflection that forms the core beliefs of the Methodist Church and is attributed to the works of its 18th century founder and leader John Wesley. Wesleyan Quadrilateral is referred to in the Methodist Church as our theological guidelines. The four-score system includes: scripture, reason, tradition, and experience. Wesley stated that Scripture alone should determine Christian teaching. The authority of Scripture can logically be divided into two functions, authority as source of truth and as norm for truth. Wesley sees the Bible as both. Reason may be part of a practical theology, provided it is carefully defined. Interpretation of scripture and experience may be evaluated in terms of its reasonableness. Reason can have a role in practical theology.
The third belief that John Wesley put in place is tradition. Tradition has sometimes proven to be wrong, and inconsistent with the truths of scripture as confirmed by human experience. Nobody is perfect and errors of those in religion can become tradition and thus infecting the truth, even if it is unintentional. More importantly than these concerns is the need to acknowledge the importance and strength of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is active in the lives of believers and the Holy Spirit should be given great weight as religious authority only second to scripture but more significant than ancient tradition. With scripture, tradition, and reason in place, humans are prepared to experience the reality of God’s love. That is the fourth attribute in the four-source system that John Wesley adopted.
Faith Integration in the classroom
Every student in an educational environment comes from a different spiritual background. Some may have more firm beliefs than others, but it is important that all are treated with equal amounts of respect. Integrating faith in the classroom can be difficult for new teachers because of the vast amount of religious differences each student has. Religion is just another belief and has been a part of the society since the world was first created. It was one of the first thoughts that man had. It is a teacher’s responsibility to integrate some sort of religious discussion in the classroom because it gets the students to think about different cultures and religions that other people in their class follow. It expands their minds to the various different religions and cultures throughout the world.
A teacher should design instruction appropriate for all students that reflects an understanding of relevant content and is based on continuous and appropriate assessment. Also a classroom environment that is centered around respect and a positive learning environment will lead to a positive education experience for all students. I will also promote student learning by providing responsive instruction that makes use of effective communication techniques, instructional strategies that actively engage students in the learning process, and timely, high-quality feedback. A good teacher is one who has the ability to learn as much from the students as they learn from him or her. In an effort to match instruction to the needs of students, I will spend much time evaluating the implications of my teaching decisions in the classroom.