Secular scientists consistently try to reduce man to his body alone, leaving out any mention of soul, spirit or heart. We do what we do, they say, because the chemicals in our bodies tell us to, not because we have any free will in the matter. Education theorists have taken their cue from these attitudes, and reduce learning to behavior-control, viewing children as organisms that can be manipulated however the educator wants.
Ruth Beechick has studied these secular ideas and, as a Christian, rejects them. Human beings are not simply collections of nerve-endings, nor are they controlled by their brains alone—each person has an important attribute left out by the materialist theories, and that is a heart. One of the reason homeschool students perform consistently better academically than those in public school, she suggests, is that their parents naturally use a heart-to-heart approach when teaching them.
Heart & Mind, originally titled Biblical Psychology of Learning, was written before Beechick was well-known for her espousal of homeschooling. She had taken a Ph.D. in education from a secular university, and the constant insistence on determinism and materialism she encountered, especially as it related to the education of children, led her to write this book. In some ways a Christian counter to secular arguments, Heart & Mindis also a positive formulation of a biblical education model.
Examining a variety of secular education theories, Beechick compares them to biblical teaching, particularly those passages relating to the existence and function of the immaterial heart. She insists that for Christians science must be subservient to the Bible, and uses biblical stories and specific references to compare man's wisdom with God's. In the final chapter she points to the formation of good character as one of the principle aims of education, and the need for heart to heart instruction to achieve this.
Easily the most theoretical of Dr. Beechick's works, Heart & Mind is probably the most practical, too. It explains her distrust of education theory, and posits in its place a truly Christian and biblical model for the education of children. Extensively researched and referenced, and with an appendix showing all the uses of "heart" in the Bible, she makes a compelling case that the mind must be ruled by the heart, and therefore both must be addressed in education. A must read for every kind of educator.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
Table of Contents:
Introduction to the First Edition (Biblical Psychology of Learning)
Introduction to the Second Edition
- The Body-Soul Question
- The Body, Soul, and Learning Theory
- The Immaterial Heart
- A Model of Learning
- The Science-Bible Question
- Creativity, Level 3
- Higher Thinking, Level 2
- Memory, Level 1 and 2
- The Heart Side
Appendix A, Bible Uses of Heart
Appendix B, Annotated Bibliography
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here
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