26 Feb Love can revolutionise our education
And most schools in the country were originally founded on Christian principles and with a distinctive Christian ethos. Long before most villages and towns had established buildings for schools, the children would gather to be taught in rectories, parsonages and manses up and down the country.
Looking back at the history of some of these establishments, their interpretation of “Christian” differs to what I understand that word to mean. Education then meant obedience, discipline and compliance. A clear moral framework founded on the Bible (including the bit about “spare the rod, spoil the child”) was enforced.
But it seems to me that the bit they were missing in that moral foundation was the overarching message of the Bible and of all faiths: love.
It’s not a popular word these days in education terms, but when I talk to the staff at our church primary, a love of teaching, education and the children is what inspires and drives them.
Love is not a word to find in an inspection framework, government directive or action plan. But it is what I think should be at the heart of our moral framework for education.
I know it sounds like a mandate from a wannabe hippy but I really do think that if we could recapture the essence of love it might revolutionise education. Love for our neighbour, community and the world. Love of the subject, discovery and adventure.
We hear the phrase “moral education” and we think about choosing right from wrong, about dos and don’ts – but these are just the outcomes. The foundation to all that has to be love.
You’ve probably heard this at the last church wedding you went to: “If I have not love, I am like a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal, I could have faith to move mountains but if I don’t have love, I am nothing.”
The moral purpose of education is not to churn out compliant consumers but to nurture loving creators.”