Whitefield Academy Blog
Why Are We Learning This?
Membranous, scaled, leather-like, and horny. These are the four types of wings found in the insect world, and it is actually fascinating! This fact makes the following so shocking.
In the middle of my engaging lecture on different types of wings, a hand shoots up. As a teacher, we always hope and assume that students are completely riveted by our subject matter. It is with this assumption that I call on this Biology student.
“Why do I have to learn this?” she questions.
As maybe not the most studious high school student myself, I asked and wondered that same question countless times. My math teachers always reasoned to me that I had to know my math facts because I wouldn’t always have a calculator.
I always have a calculator. It’s on my cell phone. That I always have.
I had to learn about outer space in case I became an astronaut. Spoiler alert: I am not an astronaut.
I answered this student’s question in the most unclassical and unsatisfying way possible: “Because in Biology we start in the microscopic world and work our way to the macroscopic, and that’s where we are now.”
“But why do I as a Biology student at Whitefield have to learn about wings? How will I use this later in life?” was her response.
What happened next was the most incredible thing that I have witnessed in the classroom. Her entire class jumped in and began answering her.
“Because learning these things makes us better people.”
“Because when we push our minds to categorize this world we are understanding God better.”
“Because learning as a whole is building our character.”
“Because we are learning virtue as we learn about the things God created.”
“Because this is teaching us how to think.”
It was the best commercial for a Classical education I had ever seen. I knew all those answers, but in the mundaneness of the morning, I had lost sight of our ultimate purpose.
I needed to learn to find that angle in Geometry not so that I could shoot pool more efficiently but so that I could begin to understand that our God is a God of consistency. I needed to learn how to organize an essay, so that I could better understand the God who makes order out of chaos. And I needed to learn about outer space so that I could see his handiwork and majesty better.
As we approach a new school year let us remember that our purpose is not to impart facts but to form virtue. The goal of our classes is far more than just getting a good grade to get into a good college; the goal is to help us know God aright.