The School of Education within the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences (CoEBS) at HBU teaches, researches, and models those activities that not only imitate, but even implement a Christian and biblical worldview.
Story of the Bible
The story of Scripture is at the heart of a Christian worldview. This story includes the account of God’s good creation, the commissioning of human beings (made in God’s image for the purpose of cultivating and extending God’s rule), the Fall (the prideful rebellion of humans as they tried to elevate their stewardship above the rule of God), God’s plan of rescue through the offspring of Abraham, and the continuation of his promises to Abraham through the people of Israel – a story which was initially fulfilled in Jesus the Messiah (especially his announcement of the kingdom of God, which in turn led to his death and resurrection) and will be finally culminated at his coming again to raise the dead, judge all the earth, and establish his Father’s sovereign rule over a restored and renewed creation.
The beginning, the inauguration of this new creation, according to the New Testament, begins with the coming of Jesus. It is specifically his announcement of God’s dawning empire (the kingdom of God), accompanied by signs, wonders, and various miracles, that leads to his death, followed by God’s miraculous raising of him from the dead.
In this blog, Jesus’ announcement of the kingdom of God specifically attracts our attention when it comes to thinking about the School of Education at HBU (this will be the first of two blogs about this College since I want to limit my comments here to education and write about behavioral sciences in the next blog).
The New Testament repeatedly tells us that the kingdom of God was announced through the acts of preaching and teaching. In fact, in many contexts, it’s very difficult to distinguish “preaching” from “teaching.” They both refer to the practice of oral communication for the sake of delivering content.
The message that Jesus brought his audience not only informed them, but was also connected to the longer history of their hopes and expectations: especially the hope that their long story of exile and subjugation was coming to an end, that their centuries-long aching for God’s rescue of them from various successive empires that have dominated them was now being fulfilled. The kingdom (reign) of God is Jesus’ announcement that their long days of exile and oppression were in fact finally over – that their God, Yahweh the one true creator and living God, who had earlier brought them up out of the land of Egypt, was now once again asserting his kingship. The Lord God was finally becoming king over all the earth. This is the meaning of the message of Jesus when he says, “The kingdom of God is at hand.”
It Is Teaching
This life-changing message is delivered through teaching. It is teaching that for the audiences of Jesus and the apostles in the New Testament brings the new insights that change perspectives and transform the lives of the hearers. That is what our professors in the School of Education seek to do when they research the best practices of teaching and then also model for their students what great teaching is all about.
Teaching involves and works for a dynamic moment of interaction between the teacher and the students, that moment of transformation where not only information is conveyed, but the minds and hearts of the hearers are opened, new insights are gained, behavior is changed, and a longing to know more is kindled.
There are at least 100 explicit references in the Gospels to Jesus either being referred to as a “teacher” or to his activities being characterized as “teaching.” Sometimes Jesus scolds, sometimes he uses surprising illustrations, oftentimes he is amazed at the stubbornness or ignorance of his hearers, but always he continues to teach. The message he delivers is so important that with different modalities, in groups large and small, while he walks, while he is in a boat or standing in the temple, and even (or especially) at meal times, he teaches. And he does so with courage. Whether with close friends, interested onlookers, or controversial and even enraged opponents, he teaches.
The Refusal to Learn
It is tragic today that in many venues – even on college campuses – there are those who do not want to listen or be taught. In such places students are being encouraged to refuse to listen to points of view that are contrary to their own. They have even used violence to stop the voices of certain speakers. Such practices are not only alien to a democratic way of life, but they are pridefully rooted in the rebellion that still grips the human heart – a stubbornness which doesn’t want to listen, learn, or change. A refusal to change is a refusal to learn and is the antithesis of what a true university is about.
HBU exemplifies and protects an environment where the freedom to teach controversial subjects, civility in listening, and good faith practices of debate and disagreement are honored.
All of life offers teachable moments. When HBU faculty teach, across all the disciplines, they are creating potentially transformative moments for themselves and especially for their students. Their work as teachers and professors conveys with rigor the truths connected to their disciplines – but they do more than that. However large with respect to concepts or small with respect to specific details and technicalities, our teachers communicate the truths that change the minds, hearts, and behavior of students.
Put another way, they are sharing information that is based upon God’s massively interconnected world and embedded in the Creator’s divinely established networks of reality that are physical, social, and even cognitive in nature. And all of these interconnected realities reflect God himself – and do so even more clearly than ever since the Fall, now that the new creation has begun to dawn with the coming of Jesus.
The School of Education in the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences at Houston Baptist University
The College of Education and Behavioral Sciences at HBU was the first college to offer a doctoral degree, the Doctor of Education (EdD) in Executive Educational Leadership. The school also recently received the ¡Project ADELANTE! grant for programs dealing with English as a second language (ESL). The School of Education has multiple off-site locations throughout the Houston area for the ease of teachers who want to pursue Master’s degrees, and several fully online programs will be expanding this fall. Many districts welcome students for field experience, internships, and clinical teaching, including Aldine ISD, Ft. Bend ISD, Houston ISD, Cypress Fairbanks ISD, Deer Park ISD, Alief ISD, Katy ISD, Lamar Consolidated ISD, Spring ISD, Spring Branch ISD, and more. The school also offers a Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Certification program (PBC).
The education programs at HBU are approved by the Texas Education Agency; in fact, the CoEBS programs received a perfect score at the most recent accreditation review. HBU graduates go on to jobs in Early Childhood through 6th grade settings, Special Education settings, and Bilingual education settings; they also serve as reading specialists, technology specialists, assistant principals, principals, school counselors, diagnosticians, and much more. Learn more about the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences at HBU.edu/CoEBS.
I have been writing a young adult fantasy book series and have discovered that many parents are at a loss when it comes to helping their children enjoy reading books. That’s why I put together this short list of “5 Tips to Help Your Child Enjoy Reading.” You can download a free copy of this list here.
Edited by Joannah Buffington