Pedagogy and the Christian Law of LoveJournal of Education & Christian Belief (2002)
LOVE IS FOUNDATIONAL for all teachers, who need a version of love that evades sentimentality and yet respects its recipients, that challenges students and yet mediates toughness with charity. The law of love expressed in the Judeo-Christian tradition helps teachers critique empty forms of love at the same time that it helps them employ productive forms of love in the classroom. We can choose love only if we humble ourselves sufficiently to look through, rather than at, the tricky lens of pride and passion and see love residing out there, beyond ego. The proper love between teachers and students, the love that Jesus commands us to most fundamentally, is neither eros nor philia but agape, which underwrites all other loves. This love offers three distinct advantages to teacherly practice: it enables us to distance ourselves from the entanglements of personality; it offers us a way of understanding the kinds of challenges we extend to our students; and it gives us a way of positioning our teaching in relation to other professional goals and activities. Teachers who rely on the energy of pedagogical passion sometimes mistakenly think that because agape operates on principle rather than on personality, it must be either cold or uninterested in individual students. However, agapic teaching can indeed be passionate, but its passions derives from a vision of the ends of good teaching and an understanding of human nature - of both teacher and student - because it stems from religious convictions that can be matched with specific Christian doctrines.
Citation InformationMarshall W Gregory. "Pedagogy and the Christian Law of Love" Journal of Education & Christian Belief Vol. 6 Iss. 1 (2002)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/marshall_gregory/21/