Strategies for Seeing Anew #6

…towards being challenged and changed

An example from a Primary classroom
An example from a Secondary classroom

What does this mean?

Laying ourselves open to being challenged and changed by what we learn means making ourselves vulnerable. It is saying: ‘What has this to say to me and to my community?’ This way of viewing learning makes both knowledge and the learner active, drawing them into a relationship. In the Bible knowledge is linked to wisdom, which is practical learning for living well in God’s world, and that wisdom derives from an all-wise God (1 Kings 3:9). It calls for us to be challenged and changed not only in terms of intellectual curiosity, but also in terms of our wider way of life. When openness to change leads us through God's help to turn away from wrong choices and patterns and towards God's intentions for us, it becomes repentance.
Please make me [King Solomon] wise and teach me the difference between right and wrong. Then I will know how to rule your people. (1 Kings 3:9)
One way in which we resist vulnerability is through focusing only on mastery. ‘Mastering’ information makes us active while the information is passive. Information can become one more thing we consume and collect to see who has the most. This attitude can go with an unconscious position of superiority, and may leave us untouched by what we learn.
We are well-educated people who have been schooled in a way of knowing that treats the world as an object to be dissected and manipulated, a way of knowing that gives us power over the world. Parker Palmer
Learners can exercise restraint and humility rather than jumping to judgement, recognising that some information can change us and make us wiser (Proverbs 17:27; Proverbs 1:5) and that we need to grow in compassion, not just power and control.
Hasty conclusions are the mark of a fool; a wise man doubteth; a fool rageth and is confident; the novice saith, "I am sure that it is so"; the better learned answers, "Peradventure, it may be so; but, I pray thee, inquire". Jeremy Taylor
This section is about moving towards being challenged and changed. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from an attitude of mastery and superiority, or could it be a movement from a fear of being challenged and changed or a lack of engagement with learning?

What does this mean in school?

In school, teachers and students can cultivate an attitude that is not superior or consumerist or only about mastery. Strategies might include:
  • Looking at what we reward and examining the questions we ask – do they focus on the challenging elements of the lesson or only on recalling information?
  • Thinking carefully about how we introduce what we are studying.
  • Modelling being challenged and changed: ‘When I first read this poem it made me cross, then I thought about it…’
  • Allowing thinking time rather than immediately asking for students’ opinions, to let students gain appreciation before offering comments.
Younger students can create agreed ‘rituals’ that remind them to stop and consider before giving opinions. The sign language for humility could be used. Recognising that we can be challenged and changed by what we learn puts a duty on teachers to present material wisely and fairly.
 
Think of a time when learning changed you. It may have been a story, a poem, an art work, a piece of information or a learning experience. What caused the change? Think of a lesson where you think it is particularly important that students are open to being changed or challenged in some way. How could you introduce that material to communicate a different attitude?
 
More ways of seeing anew
Next way of seeing anew
1Solomon signed a treaty with the king of Egypt and married his daughter. She lived in the older part of Jerusalem until the palace, the Lord 's temple, and the wall around Jerusalem were completed. 2At that time, there was no temple for worshipping the Lord , and everyone offered sacrifices at the local shrines. 3Solomon loved the Lord and followed his father David's instructions, but Solomon also offered sacrifices and burnt incense at the shrines. 4The most important shrine was in Gibeon, and Solomon had offered more than a thousand sacrifices on that altar. 5One night while Solomon was in Gibeon, the Lord God appeared to him in a dream and said, Solomon, ask for anything you want, and I will give it to you. 6Solomon answered: My father David, your servant, was honest and did what you commanded. You were always loyal to him, and you gave him a son who is now king. 7Lord God, I'm your servant, and you've made me king in my father's place. But I'm very young and know so little about being a leader. 8And now I must rule your chosen people, even though there are too many of them to count. 9Please make me wise and teach me the difference between right and wrong. Then I will know how to rule your people. If you don't, there is no way I could rule this great nation of yours. 10God said: Solomon, I'm pleased that you asked for this. You could have asked to live a long time or to be rich. Or you could have asked for your enemies to be destroyed. Instead, you asked for wisdom to make right decisions. 12So I'll make you wiser than anyone who has ever lived or ever will live. 13I'll also give you what you didn't ask for. You'll be rich and respected as long as you live, and you'll be greater than any other king. 14If you obey me and follow my commands, as your father David did, I'll let you live a long time. 15Solomon woke up and realized that God had spoken to him in the dream. He went back to Jerusalem and stood in front of the sacred chest, where he offered sacrifices to please the Lord and sacrifices to ask his blessing. Then Solomon gave a feast for his officials. Solomon makes a difficult decision 16One day two women came to King Solomon, 17and one of them said: Your Majesty, this woman and I live in the same house. Not long ago my baby was born at home, 18and three days later her baby was born. Nobody else was there with us. 19One night while we were all asleep, she rolled over on her baby, and he died. 20Then while I was still asleep, she got up and took my son out of my bed. She put him in her bed, then she put her dead baby next to me. 21In the morning when I got up to feed my son, I saw that he was dead. But when I looked at him in the light, I knew he wasn't my son. 22No! the other woman shouted. He was your son. My baby is alive! The dead baby is yours, the first woman yelled. Mine is alive! They argued back and forth in front of Solomon, 23until finally he said, Both of you say this live baby is yours. 24Someone bring me a sword. A sword was brought, and Solomon ordered, 25Cut the baby in half! That way each of you can have part of him. 26Please don't kill my son, the baby's mother screamed. Your Majesty, I love him very much, but give him to her. Just don't kill him. The other woman shouted, Go ahead and cut him in half. Then neither of us will have the baby. 27Solomon said, Don't kill the baby. Then he pointed to the first woman, She is his real mother. Give the baby to her. 28Everyone in Israel was amazed when they heard how Solomon had made his decision. They realized that God had given him wisdom to judge fairly. Solomon's officials
1Solomon signed a treaty with the king of Egypt and married his daughter. She lived in the older part of Jerusalem until the palace, the Lord 's temple, and the wall around Jerusalem were completed. 2At that time, there was no temple for worshipping the Lord , and everyone offered sacrifices at the local shrines. 3Solomon loved the Lord and followed his father David's instructions, but Solomon also offered sacrifices and burnt incense at the shrines. 4The most important shrine was in Gibeon, and Solomon had offered more than a thousand sacrifices on that altar. 5One night while Solomon was in Gibeon, the Lord God appeared to him in a dream and said, Solomon, ask for anything you want, and I will give it to you. 6Solomon answered: My father David, your servant, was honest and did what you commanded. You were always loyal to him, and you gave him a son who is now king. 7Lord God, I'm your servant, and you've made me king in my father's place. But I'm very young and know so little about being a leader. 8And now I must rule your chosen people, even though there are too many of them to count. 9Please make me wise and teach me the difference between right and wrong. Then I will know how to rule your people. If you don't, there is no way I could rule this great nation of yours. 10God said: Solomon, I'm pleased that you asked for this. You could have asked to live a long time or to be rich. Or you could have asked for your enemies to be destroyed. Instead, you asked for wisdom to make right decisions. 12So I'll make you wiser than anyone who has ever lived or ever will live. 13I'll also give you what you didn't ask for. You'll be rich and respected as long as you live, and you'll be greater than any other king. 14If you obey me and follow my commands, as your father David did, I'll let you live a long time. 15Solomon woke up and realized that God had spoken to him in the dream. He went back to Jerusalem and stood in front of the sacred chest, where he offered sacrifices to please the Lord and sacrifices to ask his blessing. Then Solomon gave a feast for his officials. Solomon makes a difficult decision 16One day two women came to King Solomon, 17and one of them said: Your Majesty, this woman and I live in the same house. Not long ago my baby was born at home, 18and three days later her baby was born. Nobody else was there with us. 19One night while we were all asleep, she rolled over on her baby, and he died. 20Then while I was still asleep, she got up and took my son out of my bed. She put him in her bed, then she put her dead baby next to me. 21In the morning when I got up to feed my son, I saw that he was dead. But when I looked at him in the light, I knew he wasn't my son. 22No! the other woman shouted. He was your son. My baby is alive! The dead baby is yours, the first woman yelled. Mine is alive! They argued back and forth in front of Solomon, 23until finally he said, Both of you say this live baby is yours. 24Someone bring me a sword. A sword was brought, and Solomon ordered, 25Cut the baby in half! That way each of you can have part of him. 26Please don't kill my son, the baby's mother screamed. Your Majesty, I love him very much, but give him to her. Just don't kill him. The other woman shouted, Go ahead and cut him in half. Then neither of us will have the baby. 27Solomon said, Don't kill the baby. Then he pointed to the first woman, She is his real mother. Give the baby to her. 28Everyone in Israel was amazed when they heard how Solomon had made his decision. They realized that God had given him wisdom to judge fairly. Solomon's officials
1A dry crust of bread eaten in peace and quiet is better than a feast eaten where everyone argues. 2A hard-working slave will be placed in charge of a no-good child, and that slave will be given the same inheritance that each child receives. 3Silver and gold are tested by flames of fire; our thoughts are tested by the Lord . 4Troublemakers listen to troublemakers, and liars listen to liars. 5By insulting the poor, you insult your Creator. You will be punished if you make fun of someone in trouble. 6Grandparents are proud of their grandchildren, and children should be proud of their parents. 7It sounds strange for a fool to talk sensibly, but it's even worse for a ruler to tell lies. 8A bribe works miracles like a magic charm that brings good luck. 9You will keep your friends if you forgive them, but you will lose your friends if you keep talking about what they did wrong. 10A sensible person accepts correction, but you can't beat sense into a fool. 11Cruel people want to rebel, and so vicious attackers will be sent against them. 12A bear robbed of her cubs is far less dangerous than a stubborn fool. 13You will always have trouble if you are mean to those who are good to you. 14The start of an argument is like a water leak so stop it before real trouble breaks out. 15The Lord doesn't like those who defend the guilty or condemn the innocent. 16Why should fools have money for an education when they refuse to learn? 17A friend is always a friend, and relatives are born to share our troubles. 18It's stupid to guarantee someone else's loan. 19The wicked and the proud love trouble and keep begging to be hurt. 20Dishonesty does you no good, and telling lies will get you in trouble. 21It's never pleasant to be the parent of a fool and have nothing but pain. 22If you are cheerful, you feel good; if you are sad, you hurt all over. 23Crooks accept secret bribes to keep justice from being done. 24Anyone with wisdom knows what makes good sense, but fools can never make up their minds. 25Foolish children bring sorrow to their father and pain to their mother. 26It isn't fair to punish the innocent and those who do right. 27It makes a lot of sense to be a person of few words and to stay calm. 28Even fools seem clever when they are quiet. It's wrong to favour the guilty
1These are the proverbs of King Solomon of Israel, the son of David. 2Proverbs will teach you wisdom and self-control and how to understand sayings with deep meanings. 3You will learn what is right and honest and fair. 4From these, an ordinary person can learn to be clever, and young people can gain knowledge and good sense. 5If you are already wise, you will become even wiser. And if you are clever, you will learn to understand 6proverbs and sayings, as well as words of wisdom and all kinds of riddles. 7Respect and obey the Lord ! This is the beginning of knowledge. Only a fool rejects wisdom and good advice. Warnings against bad friends 8My child, obey the teachings of your parents, 9and wear their teachings as you would a lovely hat or a pretty necklace. 10Don't be tempted by sinners or listen 11when they say, Come on! Let's gang up and kill somebody, just for the fun of it! 12They're well and healthy now, but we'll finish them off once and for all. 13We'll take their valuables and fill our homes with stolen goods. 14If you join our gang, you'll get your share. 15Don't follow anyone like that or do what they do. 16They are in a big hurry to commit some crime, perhaps even murder. 17They are like a bird that sees the bait, but ignores the trap. 18They gang up to murder someone, but they are the victims. 19The wealth you get from crime robs you of your life. Wisdom speaks 20Wisdom shouts in the streets wherever crowds gather. 21She shouts in the market places and near the city gates as she says to the people, 22How much longer will you enjoy being stupid fools? Won't you ever stop sneering and laughing at knowledge? 23Listen as I correct you and tell you what I think. 24You completely ignored me and refused to listen; 25you rejected my advice and paid no attention when I warned you. 26So when you are struck by some terrible disaster, 27or when trouble and distress surround you like a whirlwind, I will laugh and make fun of you. 28You will ask for my help, but I won't listen; you will search, but you won't find me. 29No, you would not learn, and you refused to respect the Lord . 30You rejected my advice and paid no attention when I warned you. 31Now you will eat the fruit of what you have done, until you are stuffed full with your own schemes. 32Sin and self-satisfaction bring destruction and death to stupid fools. 33But if you listen to me, you will be safe and secure without fear of disaster. Wisdom and bad friends