by Tonya Erickson, Student Support Services
Like many schools, Veritas has a set of virtues that guide our education. According to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, education encompasses all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit for usefulness in their future stations. Therefore, Veritas believes that a good education must go beyond the academics and must include instruction into the virtues that make us good human beings. One of the virtues we seek to instill in our students is ownership. Taking ownership is vital to student growth physically, spiritually and emotionally.
To take ownership in education, students must see the value in what they are learning. For instance, we believe there is great value in learning about American History. To inspire students to value this subject, we help them understand that knowing our roots is imperative to understanding our Constitution. But, should we assume that students even care about the Constitution? A lesson in understand how our Founding Fathers cared about the rights of all Americas, including children can help students begin to appreciate the value of the Constitution. And as they understand the historical context of the laws that govern us today, they can develop an appreciation of American history, grow in understanding of how history protects our leaders from repeating the mistakes made by those who have gone before us, and begin to see value in looking back.
Ownership leads to responsibility. We want students to take responsibility for their decisions. When students take ownership of their studies, they can identify the choices set before them. They own a failed grade on a test rather than blaming someone or something else. For example, Mary fails her spelling test because she chose to be on her phone most of the night and she didn’t look at her spelling list more than once. She could own this and take complete ownership, or she could make excuses and blame others. Our desire is that Mary would own her part in that failed grade and not make excuses.
Our overall goal is that students will develop a love for learning. Without this they will view education as something to be endured. As G. K. Chesterton said, education is not a subject, and it does not deal in subjects. It is instead the transfer of a way of life.
Finally, we must trust God to help them. Proverbs 2:1-12a puts this i perspective:
My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, delivering you from the way of evil…