Slovakian Christian theologian Michal Valco shares how educators can impart Christian ethics in the education field.
Contributed By Gideon Foo Cechao
In today’s complex world, how can Christian educators best impart values and lessons to their students in a way that is compatible with biblical ethics while not coming across as overtly Christian? This question was addressed by Dr. Michal Valco at the Christian Ethics and Teaching seminar held at Bartley Christian Church on Jan. 22. Organized by Edunet in partnership with Singapore Campus Crusade For Christ, it was attended by 30 teachers from various institutions.
A Christian theologian from Slovakia who received Christ while studying in the States, Valco is a professor at the Faculty of Human Sciences in the University of Zilina. He has also set up a Lutheran Bible college in Slovakia.
“The society is putting a heavy demand on the students and they are often frustrated. We need to see students not only as people who we need to cram the most amount of knowledge into their heads, but as human beings who have their own personal struggles,” Valco explained.
He challenged the educators, “If we focus only on reading textbooks and we don’t focus on social values and interaction, or a question of larger purpose, are we really effective as educators? Can we give our students the best if we only focus on academic results?”
He believes that Christian teachers have a God-given opportunity to make a difference in their students’ lives by helping them get a glimpse of the beauty of His kingdom. “This can be done implicitly by the way you treat your students, when you can care for them above the care that they get from other secular teachers.”
Valco stressed that Christian ethics is applied Christian theology in the concrete context of human life in this world, which is not only theologically faithful but also contextually appropriate and relevant to our society. “We can help our students, both Christians and non-Christians, to perceive their education as an aspect that not only makes their parents happy, not only as a means to achieve a nice job and earn enough money, not only to become educated human beings, but to prepare them for a lifetime calling through their talents and abilities, so that they can be useful tools in God’s hands at their workplace.”
In order to implement Christian ethics, teachers need to be role models in the way they speak and behave, spend time with students, challenge and encourage them to seek out new horizons, forgive them when they make mistakes and teach them to forgive others as well.
“The challenge is not to be overtly Christian but to be biblically founded. We do that through life skills education, such as teaching students how to build relationships,” said Dr. Ng Tjoh Dju of Campus Crusade.
Ming Choo, 45, a primary school teacher added, “Students have to think about the purpose for going to school. It is our aim to let them know that they can be creative instruments. We teach them Christian ethics not through words, but through our actions.” Sharing her own approach, Catherine Goh, 54, a polytechnic adjunct lecturer, said, “I do not say ‘God says this and that,’ but in my teaching I will share with them basic values that make them better people.”