Five Great Articles To Improve Teaching.

Michael C. Dobbs




Article 1


The Association is now making available to member schools entry into the Student Honor Society International. The SHS is designed to recognize excellence in four areas of the students life, and to help each student develop and grow in “wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.” Romans 13:7 is the basic principle followed.

Each local SHS Chapter can be entered by Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors in an ACTS member school, by achieving excellence in the following four areas:

A – Academics (A3.5 GPA or better required and maintained by the student through each grading period.) Prov. 2:1-2; II Tim. 2:15

C – Character (Three letters of recommendation, plus one from their Pastor. Must have excellent record in the school.) I Tim. 4-: 12

T – Testimony (Must have had a personal experience with Jesus Christ and produce a paper explaining same.) II Cor. 1:12; Rev.12:10-11.

S – Service (Must have a documentable record of service to others.) Gal. 5:13.

In addition to Student Honor Society data on permanent records, the student shall receive an annual Student Honor Society Certificate, and shall be awarded the HONORS PIN. The Honors Pin is a gold pin engraved with the words HONORS and the letters ACTS. Both the Certificate and the Honors Pin are available through the Association.

Details are available to school principals and pastors concerning how an ACTS member school can become part of the Student Honor Society International, and details about how students can earn the right to be
inducted into the Student Honor Society.

Student Honor Society is a “service” organization for your Christian School, and will be an excellent addition to your overall school program. Students who earn the right to be in the SHS, will have a special induction service into the Student Honor Society. The SHS will elect officers for each year, and can have special projects and activities of service an/or fund raising for the SHS program. It is suggested that the SHS Chapter be the sponsor of the Student of Distinction Awards given out by the school. The SHS Chapter could raise all the funds necessary for the certificates and award pins.

Plan on your school having a Chapter of the Student Honor Society NOW for end-of-year activities. Enrollment forms are available from the Association. A one-time charge of $35.00 is required to establish a SHS in your high school.

This fee enrolls the school and provides basic materials needed to establish the SHS, which includes a manual, by-laws, silk-screened logo sign, and details about making an SHS Chapter work in the local school. All supplies are being stocked by the Association, and will be available for order from each SHS Chapter.

We believe that it is very important to emphasize the positive aspects of education in your school. In a day when so much of the “negative” is shown, and during a time when so many “drop outs” and failures are
spotlighted in education, we believe it is high time to turn the spotlight on success, and let the world know that Christian Schools can and do produce excellence in education as well as in all areas of development of the student.

The SHS Membership Pledge is as follows: As a member of the Student Honor Society, it is my desire and intention to honor God, my parents, and my school. I shall work to improve my academics, develop my
Christian Character, maintain and strengthen my Christian Testimony, and seek ways to serve God and man. I shall cooperate with the rules of the Student Honor Society International, and work together with my Chapter in harmony and integrity, as God gives me the strength, the understanding, and the wisdom.”

If your school has a high school program, we urge you to consider establishing a Student Honor Society as a service club in your school. Contact ACTS for more details.


(The above material appeared in the October 1990 issue of the Journal of Christian Education.)








By: David L. Reynolds

Article 2


“He was a teacher well versed in the law of Moses, which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given.” (Ezra 7:6 NIV)

“For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and the observation of the Law of the Lord and to the teaching of its decrees and laws in Israel.” (Ezra 7:10 NIV)

I watched with delight an artisan work with molten glass making beautiful vases and figurines. I stood amazed at his skill. The work was so delicate, yet looked so easy. What I could not see was the years of
preparation and practice that was behind those works of glass. So it is with good teaching.

As you watch any skilled workman, it does not take you long to notice that he has perfected many “tricks of the trade.” It may look so simple when you observe, yet we would not attempt to wire our own house or
install the water system. When asked “Why?,” we reply, “I want someone who knows what he is doing.” Is there any of us who are not interested in our surgeon’s credentials? Do we not care how long our child’s
pediatrician has “practiced?” We would not allow an amateur to diagnose our children’s illness nor operate on their tonsils. Is the molding of their minds any less important? Is not the training of our children
worth the effort it takes to make a glass blower? Anybody and everybody cannot and should not teach.

Who then should teach? Those who, like Ezra, feel the calling and have a burden to teach. Those who are willing to prepare themselves for the ministry of teaching.

Ezra prepared himself, first of all, through a solid background of study in God’s Word. A Christian teacher should be “well versed” in the Word of God, the Book of all books, the fount of all knowledge.

A teacher must be a student of the subject he teaches. He should be prepared himself until the subject matter becomes second nature to him; until he can give total attention to the delivery and to the pupil. A
teacher can not teach what he does not know. He should avail himself of all knowledge and trust the Holy Spirit to “guide…into all truth.” Ezra devoted himself to study.

Ezra practiced what he taught. He “devoted himself…to the observance of the Law of the Lord.” A teacher teaches by examples and by modeling. We cannot teach what we do not live or believe. Our actions speak louder than our words.

The good teacher knows the “tricks of the trade.” One who would teach must know the techniques of teaching. He must know the methods that have proven to work and have been successful over time.

Not only must the good teacher know his subject and techniques, but he should also know his pupils.

A master teacher is a student of human development. He knows the characteristics and the needs of the age group that he teaches. A good teacher also takes time to know the interest, strengths and needs of
each of the pupils in his class.

The driving force behind all of this preparation is the knowledge that the teaching act is important. No teaching machine, program or workbook can ever take the place of being able to duplicate the dynamics of one person teaching another. It is the realization that teaching is a ministry.

I have heard it said that “Teaching is the intelligent preaching to the heart.” The heart is the center of our being, values and emotions. A Christian teacher must reach deeper than the mind. He should touch the
very heart. “Ezra Prepared his heart” to touch the hearts of Israel. This tells me that his burden went deeper than a mental desire to teach. Can you do less?


(The above material appeared in a December 1990 issue of the Journal of Christian Education.)








By: Dr. Sidney L. Poe

Article 3


Starting school is a very important marker event in the life of a child. How parents and influential friends treat this event provides a cue as to how the child will feel about the school, the teachers, himself and
his education. Recognize that children assume a degree of independence from the “nest” with this action and that they need self-confidence. You, the parent, can help make this experience pleasurable. A positive
experience will result in a good attitude toward school later on.

Here are some things that you should keep in mind:

1-Let the event be as important to the entire family as it is to the child. It is often the first real separation and it is the gateway into a new universe of adventure. Give the child loving support and understanding.

2-Learning to like school is closely related to liking to learn.

3-Prepare your child by explaining what to expect. Answer all questions directly and honestly. How many hours per day, days per week, holidays, time on the bus or car en route, number of other children present and activities are valid questions to the excited little ones. Knowing these facts is a great source of comfort and security for the child.

4-Show enthusiasm and a positive attitude about school and education. Praise the child for the good things accomplished. A little help with the difficult avoids focusing on poor performance. Support and help the
child to adjust but do not overprotect, pity or sympathize unnecessarily.

5-Explain carefully how the child is to get to school. Walk the route together, follow along behind a bus (show how to identify “his” bus), find an older child to be a “buddy.” Part with hug or kiss and a word of
encouragement; avoid long tearful parting embraces.

6-Maintain a routine atmosphere in the home. Show interest in what goes on in school, listen to the child, talk about the experiences in a positive reassuring tone.

7-Become acquainted with your child’s teacher. Join the PTA/PTO, volunteer for school activities and help out in your child’s classroom. This signals “caring” to your child. Let going to school become a part of the daily course of events. Children rapidly come to expect the routine. Awaken the child in the morning to pleasant talk and provide a good breakfast. Be sure they get to bed early enough to be well rested.

7-Help the child cope with frustration and disappointment at school. Learning to cope is important to being resourceful and helps prepare one for the stresses of later life.

8-Do not compare performance of the child with a brother, sister or neighbor. Treat each one as unique and let them know you expect them to be different.

9-Plan your day so that you can be with the child when he comes home. Review what happened at school. Set up a free play time at home. In many instances children will “play out” roles learned at school.

With firm, patient reassurance by parents and teachers, the child will adjust, make friends and begin to be comfortable away from home.

Having faced and mastered this new emotional challenge, the child has feelings of self-confidence and security needed for continued growth.


(The above material appeared in a December 1990 issue of the Journal of Christian Education.)








By: Melvin R. Springfield

Article 4


Our word for today is “pre-sump-tu-ous” , meaning “taking too much for granted; to assume or suppose something to be a fact, when it may not actually be so; to show overconfidence; confident without adequate

Now, let me show you how this word is used. For example, let’s take the average Christian school; or, better yet, we can even make it a bit more specific by saying THIS school, your school. Let me show you how YOUR SCHOOL may be “pre-sump-tu-ous” in some critical matters.

But, first, let’s go back a ways; all the way back to the concept of Christian education, and the reason why YOUR SCHOOL was established in the first place.

The reason for establishing a Christian school had to be much more impelling than just to create a place where children can study in an atmosphere free from drugs and crime. The reason had to be much more
important than just having a place where the children can learn Bible verses. The overwhelming motive for having a Christian school is to increase the possibility of the salvation of your children! If there is any other primary reason, the foundation of the Christian school is very, very weak!

We are not trying to compete with the government school system! We are certainly not trying to duplicate the government school system. We are, in fact, doing a work for our children that the government school system never has done and never can do! We have as our task the salvation of our children… and what an awesome task that is!

That is your goal, isn’t it? I don’t want to be “pre-sump-tu-ous!”

If the goal of your school is not just to educate only, but more than that, to “train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,” then let’s look at our WORD FOR TODAY… are we presuming that these children know what they really need to know to be saved? They may know how to spell, but do they know how to pray? They may know about algebra, but do they know about repentance? They may be able to tell all about the father of our country, but, all to often, their Heavenly Father is a stranger to them.

Do our children know how to pray? Has there ever been a time in your school when there was a class taught, on each grade level, about prayer, and how to pray? Do we just assume that they can pray, simply because they are from a “Christian home” and go to Sunday school? [Many of our “Christian homes” don’t even pray!] Have we left the spiritual education of our children solely in the hands of a one or two hour session on Sunday morning, or does our responsibility to them go deeper than that? Teacher, Principal, Pastor… make your Christian school a place where the children can learn about CHRISTIAN things!

What do the children know about being scripturally “born again?” Their Methodist or Baptist textbooks will likely not tell them much about this subject! Don’t assume that they will just somehow “get it.” We must “train up a child in the way that he should go!”

There needs to be a planned, specific effort in every school, designed to train our children in the basic principles of the Christian faith, and we need to have private sessions with each child to help them “practice” the lessons. Am I being too bold? Am I stepping where others fear to tread? So be it! It is nevertheless the truth!

If we actually believe what we say we believe, then people are not going to be saved without a genuine, authentically scriptural experience with Jesus Christ. This includes the children in our charge every day. We dare not be presumptuous. We dare not take too much for granted. If we believe that People will either be saved or lost, we have not truly educated our children until we make sure that each of them knows God’s
Plan of Salvation, and has had an opportunity to seek the Lord.

The Catholics have a “catechism,” which every child goes through, teaching the principles of the Catholic faith. Do you know why? They know that if they can teach them as a child, they will have them as an adult! Let’s do the same!

Don’t assume anything! Make it your business to teach them God’s Plan for their lives!


(The above material appeared in a December 1990 issue of the Journal of Christian Education.)









Article 5


* 54.1% of 9-year olds say they read for pleasure daily. But by age 17 that number drops dramatically: only 28.1% read for fun every day.

* About 9% of both 9 and 17 year olds say that they never read for pleasure.

* Boys between ages 8 and 10 rank outdoor sports first in terms of fun, while reading a book or magazine finished sixth. Girls the same age rank reading first and outdoor sports second.


* In 1987, 99.4% of high school seniors had taken some math in the previous four years, 2 percentage points more than in 1982.

* 76.3% of them took Algebra I but just 47.1% continued on to Algebra II, a course that typically includes a heavy dose of trigonometry.

* Even though 88% of eighth graders thought math would be useful in their future, only 56.6% looked forward to math classes. And almost 32.1% said they were afraid to ask questions in those classes.


* Math students who scored in the top 25% of a national test were more than twice as likely to use calculators for daily computation than were students in the bottom quartile.

* Girls use them for homework and tests more frequently than boys do.

* Although most high school juniors say that they or their families own a calculator, only 26% said that their school made them available for classroom use.


* Only 7% of 17 year-olds have the advanced science skills they need to perform well in college-level courses.

* Most 11th graders have used a microscope, but just 46% have used a barometer and 33% have operated an electricity meter.

* Although 90% of high school students take biology by graduation, only 20% take even one year of physics.

* 62% of 11th graders did find studying science enjoyable.

* Only 59% of 11th graders have taken a science course that requires them to write up the results of experiments; a mere 20% have ever gone on science field trips.


* Our 17-year-olds have trouble with basic facts. Only 32.2% knew when the Civil War took place.

* Nearly one third of American 17- year-olds cannot identify which countries the United States fought against in World War II.

* One third have no idea what Brown v. Board of Education accomplished.

* One third thought Columbus reached the New World after 1750.

* As of 1987, 15 % of high-school graduates took no American history in High school, and 50% studied no world history.

* 48% of the 17 year-olds did not know when FDR was president.

* 29.3% of the 17 year-olds did not know when WWII ended.

* 46.4% of them did not know who led the USSR during WWII.

* 60.5% of the 17 year-olds had no idea of Dred Scott’s legal importance.

* Only 87.9% of them knew the first president of the United States.

* 24.7% knew when Lincoln was president.

* None of the 50 states requires a foreign language course for all high-school students.

* 13 states have an arts requirement for high school graduation.

* In 1984, only 5% of sixth through tenth graders knew who Beethoven was.

* 74% of mothers with school-age children work outside the home. Nearly one fourth of all children under age 18 live with a single parent, and only 7% of school-age children live in a two-parent household where
there is only one wage earner.

* 95% of all elementary schools teach drug education, and more than half start teaching it in kindergarten.

* 72% of all elementary schools teach sex education.


Here is a suggestion: We need to evaluate our schools and see how we measure up in at these areas. All these statistics are regarding public schools.


(The above material appeared is a November 1990 issue of the Journal of Christian Education.)

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