Pursuit of Percipience

the blog that nobody reads which I write to silence the voices in my head

Tag: teaching

Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy Quotes #4

On Eldership….

“What is the secret of eldership? It lies in the fact that an old man is through with his own life but not at all through with life. On the contrary, like a grandfather he watches all the later generations with a loving wisdom, which alone can reconcile their strife. He is the great pacifier, the guardian of life’s continuity, because people know that he alone is free from personal partisan aims. Therefore he is peculiarly the regenerative force in society; he sees to it that the full cycle of life is re-begun in the proper order. And it is the expectation of one day becoming elders that should carry us through the full cycle of our own lives.”

~from I Am an Impure Thinker: Teaching Too Late, Learning Too Early, page 104.

I Am an Impure Thinker is available for free pdf download. Click here for that.

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Notes for My Students ~ Eschatology

I’m uploading some notes on the book of Daniel, the Olivet Discourse, and the book of Revelation here. This is for my students to have easy access to the notes online.

If anyone else stumbles on this post, you are welcome to the notes if you are interested in the subject.

The notes on Daniel are based primarily on James B. Jordan’s commentary The Handwriting on the Wall.

The notes on Revelation are based mainly on James B. Jordan’s Revelation Lectures (which, at the time of this posting [August 22, 2016] are on sale for $40 – down from $175 – on WordMp3.com).

Click below for the notes…

Daniel, Olivet, and Revelation

**Please note: The notes have not been edited for spelling mistakes or other formatting issues.

A Critique of Conferences

Recently I listened to a conference speech online. Well, I listened to half of it. It was too boring to finish. The topic was trustworthiness. One of the points made over and over was that if you say you’re going to do something then you should actually do it. Wow! What an epiphany!

I thought, “Is this speech being give to a bunch of twelve year olds?” But no, it was being given to adults. And I thought more, “Do the people in the audience feel as though their intelligence is being insulted? They should.” The whole speech was delivered as though it was either being given to stupid adults or to inexperienced kids.

I’m usually not a fan of conferences. I don’t want to be mistaken as an ungrateful complainer though. I appreciate the amount of work that goes into organizing a conference, and I would never suggest that the organizers’ hard efforts are a waste of time. I also know that a lot of people really love conferences and truly benefit from them, and, not everyone thinks like me. In fact, I am in the minority it would seem. I understand the importance of conferences. I understand people need to get together once and awhile, people who ordinarily don’t see each other, and remind themselves why they’re doing what they’re doing and why they need to help each other. I’ve met some great peoconference 001ple at conferences; people who I continued to work with for years afterward. I understand the leadership needs conferences to set the direction for the organization, and motivate the people, and cast vision and all that stuff. I believe all of that is important, and it is what gets me to actually go to the conference.

However, I’m still not a fan. There are few things more boring and pointless than sitting in a chair for three hours listening to a speech you’ve heard a hundred times already. I don’t need to listen to a lecture given by someone who has no experience in what I’m doing. I certainly don’t want to spend three or more days at a conference, away from my work and home, lying every time someone asks me about how great the conference is, pseudo-enthusiastically yelling “Hallelujah!” every time a speaker does so, and then walk away from the whole thing feeling emptier than when I showed up.

When I think of conferences I’m often reminded of a scene from the film Waterworld. The earth is covered with water, but there’s a little girl with a tattoo on her back with instructions to find dry land. Problem is, no one can read the instructions. The bad guys, called “Smokers”, capture the girl. The Smokers live on a big oil tanker and how they get it around is by rowing — hundreds of men sticking long oars out the sides and rowing, just like with the old wooden ships. The leader of the Smokers gives an inspiring speech, holding up the girl in front of everyone, proclaiming that they will find the land and create a great future, etc… After the speech the rowers are so hyped that they get to work immediately and exuberantly. Meanwhile, the leader, still not knowing how to read the instructions, in private with his closest advisors is asked, “So which way we rowin’?” and he replies, “I don’t have a g–d–n clue. Don’t worry, they’ll row for a month before they figure out I’m fakin’ it.”

I’m not suggesting that leaders in conferences are “fakin’ it”. But, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve come out of a conference hearing attendees proclaiming all the great things they’re going to do after being so encouraged by the conference speakers, and then never doing anything. I remember driving home from a three day Christian men’s conference, my intelligence freshly insulted, and my passenger, a railroad worker, declared, “I’m going to plant a church when I get home!” And I just smiled and thought, “No, you’re not.” Because anyone making a major decision like that, in an emotionally charged atmosphere such as a conference, is never thinking straight. And he never did plant that church.

The more honest attendees will be more level-headed, or even discouraged. I’ve known several people, who were already doing some kind of ministry, come out of a Christian conference feeling small and unimportant. I’ve heard laments like, “My ministry is hard work, and I wish I would have been able to meet people at the conference who were going through the same struggles I am, so that I could have talked with them and gotten to know them. But there was no time for that. Instead we just listened to grand speeches which included things like the leader yelling, ‘This is just the beginning!!’ over and over. What’s the point in that?”

My last article, Andragogy (Adult Learning), points out how adults, when attending a class or a conference, are not interested in generalities. They want specific teaching which directly relates to what they’re doing in life. They also don’t want to just sit and listen to a lecturer without having their own life experience and knowledge taken into account. What adult wants to sit and listen to a lecture that would better be delivered to a group of twelve year olds? Adults need to engage and speak and share. I know from personal experience that I would much rather sit in a small group setting, where everyone can participate, than sit in a large conference setting where you just, well, sit.

Andragogy (Adult Learning)

adult learning ps
Obviously, teaching children (pedagogy) is very different from teaching adults. Below are some notes on how to teach adults…

  1. Adults are self-directed in their learning. Rather than passively listening to a lecture, adults like to be engaged in the class forcing them to take responsibility for their own learning. Adults like to discuss what’s being learned and provide their own input.
  2. Adults have a lot of previous knowledge. They need to know how this new material will tie into what they already know.
  3. For adults, the content must be relevant. Too much useless information will just make the adult student bored and the material will be forgotten. Adults need a reason to learn this new material. “How is this class going to help me get ahead?” is what the adult student asks. The course material must be relevant to the student’s life and work.
  4. Adults are goal oriented and want to know early on in the course how we’re going to get “from here to there.” Even if the content relates to their life and work, pointless “bunny trails” will only distract and frustrate the adult student.
  5. Adults are problem oriented and are attending the class to find answers to specific problems. If the teacher doesn’t have those answers, the adult student loses interest in, and respect for, the class.
  6. The class needs to be fun, but not in a childish way. Activities also should be used to engage the student, but not insult their intelligence.
  7. The teacher should strive to use visual (charts/diagrams/models), auditory (lecture), and kinaesthetic (hands-on activities) stimuli when teaching adults.

Related links…

Malcolm Knowles

Andragogy Homepage

The Pessimistic Paradigm

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I once had a four volume set of history books. All of the books were written by one British historian in the early 20th century. In the concluding paragraph of the last book, the author praised the future: the British empire was expanding, religion and superstition were fading, China would be taken in 100 years, wars were soon to disappear, and enlightenment was ready to shine forth over the whole world. And it’s interesting because on the page prior to this paragraph, the author described in detail the events which directly lead to WW1. The books were published shortly before that war started, so the author didn’t get a chance to take it all back. He had no idea.

The 20th century crushed a lot of people’s optimism. More war and destruction occurred in that century than ever before. And what replaced the optimism is a crippling pessimistic paradigm. Chicken Little has been busy. But it’s justified right? The world is getting worse and worse, is it not? The end must be near.

Imagine living in the days when the USA was being formed, or when the British empire was continually expanding. Imagine being a Christian directly involved in those times. Wouldn’t you have had a positive outlook on the future? You would not have been lamenting on the end times when you were currently helping to usher in the Golden Age, the Millennium. But look what’s happening now; the western world has turned from its faith, we have gay marriage, abortion, distrustful governments, electronic surveillance, terrorism, and relativistic morals. Surely the end is near.

Now that we’ve barely survived 1988, the Y2K bug, and the end of the Mayan calendar, perhaps it is a good time to take a closer look at this pessimistic paradigm. What shapes these paradigms? Why would people be positive in one generation, and then be negative in another. Obviously the events of the time determine people’s attitudes; if things are good, attitudes are good, and vice versa. This is obvious. But we forget.

As Christians we need to look beyond the ups and downs of human history, otherwise we will mistakenly determine our view of the future based on the spirit of the age. Our eschatology is not based on current events, it is based on what the Bible says.

And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.”
~John 12:44-48

Jesus said He came to save the world. And to those who don’t believe, He said He would not judge them. This is interesting. It’s like walking into a room, and there are four people there you’ve never met, so you go and introduce yourself and shake hands with three of them. The fourth person you completely ignore and turn your back towards. This is what Jesus is doing to those who don’t believe. Those who don’t believe are excluded from the world, and Jesus came to save the world.

The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
~Psalm 2:7b-9

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
~Matthew 28:18-20

Did Jesus ask for all the nations? Clearly He did since in the Great Commission He commands us to go and disciple all the nations. So, God offers all the nations to Christ, Christ comes to save the world, and then He commands us to go and take all the nations for Him. I see a pattern developing here. Jesus actually intends to save the world, and use us to do it. But the pessimistic paradigm says, “No Lord. The world is just going to get worse and worse, and You’re just going to have to come and bail us out when things get too bad for us. Don’t You see the giants?!”

The word of God is our paradigm setter, not the world. Jesus has overcome the world.

“I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”

His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
~John 16:25-33