How to Teach Religion by George Herbert Betts


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Page 3


AUTHOR'S PREFACE

_Children can be brought to a religious character and experience through
right nurture and training in religion._ This is the fundamental
assumption on which the present volume rests, and it makes the religious
education of children the most strategic opportunity and greatest
responsibility of the church, standing out above all other obligations
whatever.

Further, the successful teaching of religion is based on the same laws
that apply to other forms of teaching; hence teachers in church schools
need and have a right to all the help that a scientific pedagogy
permeated by an evangelistic spirit can give them. They also have the
obligation to avail themselves of this help for the meeting of their
great task.

This book undertakes to deal in a concrete and practical way with the
underlying principles of religious instruction. The plan of the text is
simple. First comes the part _the teacher_ must play in training the
child in religion. Then the spiritual changes and growth to be effected
in _the child_ are set forth as the chief objective of instruction. Next
is a statement of the _great aims,_ or goals, to be striven for in the
child's expanding religious experience. These goals are: (1) fruitful
_religious knowledge_; (2) right _religious attitudes--interests,
ideals, feelings, loyalties_; (3) the _application of this knowledge and
these attitudes to daily life and conduct_.

Following the discussion of aims is the question of just _what subject
matter_ to choose in order to accomplish these ends, and _how best to
organize_ the chosen material for instruction. And finally, _how most
effectively to present_ the subject matter selected to make it serve
its purpose in stimulating and guiding the spiritual growth and
development of children.

The volume is intended as a textbook for teacher-training classes,
students of religious education, and for private study by church-school
teachers. It is also hoped that ministers may find some help in its
pages toward meeting their educational problems.

Northwestern University,
Evanston, Illinois.




CHAPTER I

THE TEACHER HIMSELF


It is easy enough to secure buildings and classrooms for our schools.
The expenditure of so many dollars will bring us the equipment we
require. Books and materials may be had almost for the asking. The great
problem is to secure _teachers_--real teachers, teachers of power and
devotion who are able to leave their impress on young lives. Without
such teachers all the rest is but as sounding brass or a tinkling
cymbal. And to be a real teacher is a very high achievement.

Bishop Vincent was giving a lecture on "That Boy." He himself was "that
boy," and in the course of describing his school days he fell into
meditation as follows: "That old school master of mine!--He is dead
now--_and I have forgiven him!_--And I am afraid that was the chronology
of the matter; for I never was able to forgive him while he lived." I,
as one of the listeners, smiled at the bitter wit of the speaker, but
was oppressed.

This somber view of the impression sometimes left by teachers on their
pupils received an antidote the following day, however, when a venerable
old man approached my desk bearing in his hands an ancient and dog-eared
copy of a text in grammar. He opened the book and proudly showed me
written across the fly leaf "Grover Cleveland, President." Then he told
me this story:

"I have been a teacher. In one of my first schools I had Grover
Cleveland as a pupil. He came without a textbook in grammar, and I
loaned him mine. Years passed, and Grover Cleveland was President of the
United States. One day I was one of many hundreds passing in line at a
public reception to grasp the President's hand. I carried this book with
me, and when it came my turn to meet the President, I presented the
volume and said, 'Mr. President, do you recognize this book, and do you
remember me?' In an instant the light of recognition had flashed in Mr.
Cleveland's eyes. Calling me by name, he grasped my hand and held it
while the crowd waited and while he recalled old times and thanked me
for what I had meant to him when I was his teacher. Then he took the old
book and autographed it for me."

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Fri 28th Feb 2020, 13:35