Teaching The Old Fashioned Way

And that is why I love teaching the old way, the way that is driven by a metaphysical conviction about the world and about truth. For me, this kind of teaching is an act of rebellion in this present age—an attempt in some small way to convey the idea that the world is given, not constructed, and that meaning is to be found, not created. A good teacher must always be driven by conviction—that the world is and that it has meaning, and that it is so much bigger than any one person can ever apprehend.

Teaching—true teaching, not the mere imparting of techniques or earning potential—is perhaps the most delightful calling and privilege in the world. It has its challenges, but it brings incomparable joys. The second greatest joy I have as teacher is seeing that flash of light in a student’s eyes when a previously unknown or misunderstood concept suddenly becomes clear because of something I have said. And the greatest joy (albeit a rarer one) is the one I experience when a student writes or says something that indicates they have gone far beyond that which I, as a teacher, have been able to teach them. When they become greater, I delight that I become less. For such is the proper order of things, if teaching is truly about truth and not about power or making disciples. Yet neither joy is possible where there is no truth to discover and where the world is simply whatever the loudest and most aggressive among us care to claim that it is. Good teaching is a matter of metaphysics.

—Carl Trueman, Teaching As Joyful Rebellion

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9 comments

  1. I wonder if Westminster had a policy in laptop use during lectures. They can be useful but also distracting. I went back to my old college and one of the old time profs. said, “We only have their attention about half the time now.”

  2. The entire article is well worth the read! Trueman has articulated what I believe every true teacher knows in his heart. Thank you for this link!

  3. When my peers ask me why I think the humanities are dying, I tell them that we spend far too much time convincing our students that all things are subjective and ultimately meaningless to ask to be compensated in return.

  4. The only problem is that he is using “they” for a generic singular man. This destroys the language.

    • om Dictionary.com…

      They
      Usage alert
      Long before the use of generic he was condemned as sexist, the pronouns they, their, and them were used in educated speech and in all but the most formal writing to refer to singular indefinite pronouns or singular nouns of general personal reference (which are often not felt to be exclusively singular): If anyone calls, tell them I’ll be back soon. A parent should read to their child. Such use is not a recent development, nor is it a mark of ignorance. Shakespeare, Swift, Shelley, Scott, and Dickens, as well as many other English and American writers, have used they and its related case forms to refer to singular antecedents. Already widespread in the language (though still rejected as ungrammatical by some), this use of they, their, and them is increasing in all but the most conservatively edited American English. This increased use is at least partly impelled by the desire to avoid generic he or the awkward he/she and he or she when the antecedent’s gender is not known or when the referent is of mixed gender: The victim had money and jewelry taken from them. It’s hard to move an aging mother or father from their long-term home.
      However, while use of they and its forms after singular indefinite pronouns or singular nouns of general personal reference or indefinite gender is common and generally acceptable, their use to refer to a single clearly specified, known, or named person is uncommon and likely to be noticed and criticized, as in this example: My hair stylist had their car stolen. Even so, use of they, their, and them is increasingly found in contexts where the antecedent is a gender-nonconforming individual or one who does not identify as male or female: Tyler indicated their preferences on their application.
      And although they may be used as a singular pronoun, they still takes a plural verb, analogous to the use of “you are” to refer to one person: The student brought in a note to show why they were absent.

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