What does it mean to teach?

John 6:44-51. They shall all be taught by God

If insights are based more on one’s internal conditions and cognitive processes (and less about external stimuli, for the same set of clues can be apprehended by one and not by another), what does it mean to teach? What is the role of a “teacher”?

The foundations of our educational system are built on standardizing skills that one must know, which is mostly true in the primary levels. Basic reading, writing, scientific, and mathetical skills are taught. Simultaneously, we guide kids to learn about how to behave in society, teaching ethics and values.

But as we reach higher and vocational education, we are called to engage in highly technical, critical, and creative thinking skills. The challege is that compared to basic education, higher-order skills precisely tackle making sense of ambiguity and a seemingly indeterministic or at least a multiple-causality type of reality. In these situations, it would be hubris for a human teacher to claim absolute knowledge of what is right.

Thus, there is some comfort in a belief in God, the Higher Power, and the principles of Truth and Love. These are guideposts, meta-frameworks, under which we can derive our own context-specific frameworks for action.

Indeed, only God is perfect. But this does not mean that teachers and students cannot aspire to be excellent. And excellence, in this sense, is an iterative journey of harmony and accompaniment, built on feedback and dialogue, towards flourishing in Truth and Love.

[DAILY GOSPEL INSIGHTS AND REFLECTION FOR MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION 125: MAY 5, 2022]

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