You want to help your middle school students better connect what they study and what the Bible teaches. You know that meeting their learning needs is a good place to start. And you know that in order to meet your students’ learning needs, you have to know what they are.
Question: What are your students’ learning needs?
To help get you get started on identifying your students’ learning needs, ask yourself, “Which of the following 10 items might I hear my kids say?”
- This doesn’t seem important. My teachers don’t grade me on this. When I wasn’t doing well in science, my teacher talked to me—I don’t think I understand a Biblical perspective, and no teacher has talked to me about this. Do teachers really think this is important?
- This doesn’t come up at my church or at home. My family and my church talk about being a Christian. We talk about living for Jesus, doing devotions, and telling others about Jesus. I don’t get what my faith has to do with the Greeks or Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. The teacher did mention this in the beginning of the year, but that was a long time ago, and I kind of forgot how it all connects. I think other students might get this, so I don’t want to ask.
- I don't know what it looks like. I know what telling others about Jesus looks like—we read missionary biographies at school and I go on mission trips with my church. What does doing a good job on using a Biblical perspective look like in an essay? And what does this look like in the computer world? I want to work for Apple.
- My teachers say they teach from a Biblical perspective, but I don’t understand how that works. I believe them, but I don’t get it. They have us work in groups and learn parts of speech, but they don’t explain how this is part of Christian education. We seem to mostly do the same things my friends do at schools that aren’t Christian. What’s the difference?
- I don't understand the vocabulary—Biblical perspective, integrate faith and learning, image bearer, temple of the Holy Spirit, worldview. Teachers talk, but I don’t always understand the words. Could I get vocabulary list with definitions on it?
- Learning what the Bible teaches is boring. Well, Bible class isn’t boring, but the way teachers teach about the Bible in other classes is boring. Mostly lecture–this doesn’t really help me understand a Biblical perspective of what I’m studying. I like discussing things. So do my friends.
- I need to think through answers for myself. I listen to teachers talk. They give good answers. But to really understand the answers, I need to think them through for myself. Maybe the teachers could ask more questions. Questions that have more than one right answer. One of my teachers asks us “Where do you belong?” all the time.
- I need time to think about what I’m learning. We don’t really do this in class, and I’ve got sports after school and homework at night. When am I supposed to find time to reflect? Could we do some journaling during class?
- To really get this, I need to connect the Bible with my life, not just with what I study in class. If my teachers would give me chances to connect the Bible with my life—my music, my relationships, my problems—I think I could get it. One of my homeschooler friends got to analyze a CD from a Biblical perspective. That sounds pretty cool.
- I need more chances to practice. It’s hard for me to get good at using a Biblical perspective when I don’t get enough practice. Using a Biblical perspective takes skill. I get repeated skill practice in math, and I’m good at it. Can I get more skill practice?
Question: So, what are your students’ learning needs?
Bottom line: Help your students better connect what they study and what the Bible teaches. Identify their learning needs. Today.