Written by Jayme Bohn
Reprinted from A Cruce Salus
As a young parent, I wanted what was best for my children. I guided, loved, and nurtured them. But when my youngest entered first grade, all at once, I struggled as I slowly watched him lose his love for learning. Several years later, as a teacher, I worried about some of my classroom practices and whether or not I was truly instilling the love of learning in the children whose parents had entrusted me to guide, love, nurture, and educate.
It was not until I read John Milton Gregory’s, “The Seven Laws of Teaching,” that I fully understood my role as the “educator” of these children. Gregory simply states, in a systematic order, the principles of the art of teaching. I must say, if these rules are followed, children will never lose their “love for learning.”
The teacher must know thoroughly the lesson taught. Having complete knowledge of the curriculum engages my students immediately.
Gain and keep the attention and interest of the children. This is simply done by being excited about the lesson that is taught. Students become engaged when their teachers are enthusiastic about the subjects they are teaching. A teacher’s excitement is infectious!
Use words understood by both teacher and pupil. I am a teacher to 7 and 8 year olds, therefore I must come down to their level and my language must be clear!
Begin with what is already known by the student in the lesson, and then move to the unknown easy and natural steps. Before starting a lesson on mummies in our Ancient Egypt class, I start by finding out just how much they already know. Engaging the students in conversations about books they have already read or pictures they have seen arouses their curiosity and they want to know more.
Use the student’s own mind, exciting his self-activities. Children naturally strive for skills that will help them cope with learning to succeed. They should be encouraged to develop tasks and activities that are appropriate for their stage of development.
Require the pupil to reproduce the lesson he is learning. Often, I will ask my second graders to write in their journal an entry of what we just learned or perhaps act out what they have just learned.
Review the knowledge taught. Review, rethink, reknow, and reproduce what has been taught. A review is more than a repetition, it is a rethinking of the lesson learned. Review encourages new thoughts and thorough learning.
Children are fundamentally different from adults (1 Cor. 13:11). Therefore we should approach the grammar school child with teaching that engages their minds for the love of learning. Consider Dr. Seuss and his love for children and just why children are drawn to his writing in this example from “Scrambled Eggs Super!”:
“In the meanwhile, of course, I was keeping real busy
collecting the eggs of the three-eyelashed Tizzy.
They’re quite hard to reach, so I rode on the top
of a Ham-ikka-Schnim-ikka-Schnam-ikka Schnopp.”
I also credit my love for teaching, as well as the students’ love for learning, to our Sovereign Lord Jesus! I pray diligently for my students…that God will instill in them the desire to learn and instill in me the desire to teach them well. All of these factors have proven successful in my years here at St. Stephen’s and I consider myself blessed with such wonderful students year after year.
Mrs. Bohn was a teacher at SSCCA for 8 years prior to retiring from teaching. She and her husband, Ron, have two grown children, two grandchildren and one on the way. She enjoys weekends at the beach with her family and watching foreign films in her spare time.