SMP Mid-Class Recap

ChecklistThe seminary said had off last week, which (oddly enough) means we have no class this week.  Yeah, don’t think about it too hard or you might find yourself in the corner banging your head against the wall.  Anyway, I thought that since this week we don’t have class, I’d take a slightly different approach to the blog.

To keep things interesting and not have the blog just be some list of things we cover, I usually focus on one or two things from our studies that week which would be relevant to everyone outside the classes.  However, this means that I don’t really write about everything we’re studying.  So, this week, I thought I’d tell you exactly what we’ve been studying.

Teaching the Faith:
The class Bill and I are in right now is “Teaching the Faith” and is all about Christian education, specifically from the perspective of what the “church” should be doing for education.  When I say “church’, I don’t just mean the paid staff, but rather the whole church, all believers.  What should we, as believers be doing for education both for our children and for ourselves.

Week 1 – Educational Philosophy:In the first week we focused primarily on 4 educational philosophies, learning not only what they were, but what we (individually) tended to prefer.  The philosophies were:

  • Scholar Academic: Focuses solely on knowledge
  • Social Efficiency: Desires to form people, this would include knowledge and especially behavior/skills.
  • Social Reconstructionist: Similar to Social Efficiency, but the primary focus of the formation is on changing something that’s wrong in society.
  • Learner: The goal is for the student to develop according to their desire and abilities.  The student tends to decide what will be studied and how and whether they know it well enough.

In week 1 we also discussed the various types of curricula.

Week 2 – The Catechism:
The second week focused on the Lutheran Catechism.  We talked about the history of the catechism, its value, and how it should be used (more as a handbook than a textbook).

Week 3 – Influences on Learning
The third week was spent learning about the different things that influence people’s learning.  We talked about things like different learning styles, cognitive development, and the nature of man (are we primarily thinking, emotional, loving, or something else?).  We also talked about how a persons culture and history can greatly affect how they learn and how the physical and situational aspects of the student’s lives must be considered.

Week 4 – The Catechism – The First Three Chief Parts
In the fourth week we read through the Large and Small catechism as several other supporting resources.  We talked about how Faith is the overriding theme of the catechism.  We also learned about the reason Luther chose the order he did.  He begins with the Commandments which tell us how to live and lead us to discover that we cannot perfectly follow the Commandments.  That is followed with the Creed which tells us about God’s redemption which we need because we cannot follow the Commandments.  Then he proceeds with the Prayer, the “battle cry” of the life of faith as we go to God in prayer daily (or more often) for protection, provision, and guidance.  We not only studied the parts of the catechism, but also discussed important aspects about teaching the catechism.

Week 5 – The Catechism – The Rest
Finally, in week 5, we went through the rest of the catechism looking at the Sacraments, Confession and Absolution, Daily Prayers, and the Table of Duties.  These are all aspects of our Christian life.  We talked about the importance of prayer and vocation and, in regards to teaching, they emphasized that the Daily Prayers and Table of Duties really shouldn’t be skipped, though they often are.

That catches us up.  The primary focus has been Christian education using the catechism as our ongoing topic of what we are teaching (though the class applies to more than just teaching the catechism).

Share Your Thoughts:

  • Do you have any questions about the class so far or the SMP program in general?

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