The Three Instruments of Education: Atmosphere • Discipline • Living Ideas

At Veritas Christi, we believe that because we are made in the image of God, we are designed to naturally love learning. Our minds, bodies, and souls are designed to find joy in growing in knowledge, wisdom and virtue, and to love true, good, and beautiful ideas. Therefore, we make use of three instruments of education to help us grow in these areas – atmosphere, discipline, and living ideas. In the next few blog posts, we’ll talk about each of these three instruments.

Instrument 1: Atmosphere

When we speak of atmosphere, we are talking about both the physical and spiritual environment. The physical environment is important to help direct the hearts and minds of our students toward higher things. We aim to create an inspirational atmosphere, a calm, orderly environment that rests the soul. In medieval times, communities were built around the Christian cathedral. The cathedral was designed to reflect God’s beauty and glory. When community members walked through the doors, their souls and imaginations were directed toward heavenly things. Our classrooms are spaces which are intentionally designed to reflect God’s glory. We don’t have a lot of things on our walls. And our shelves are neat and tidy. The items in the room are visual reminders of the ideas we are studying during the year. When students enter the classroom, they can tell that this is a place for study.

But the physical environment is only one part of atmosphere. Equally important, if not more so, is the presence of the teacher in the classroom. In ancient times, students would choose a master teacher to study under. A student will become like his teacher, just like a child will become like his parents. Therefore, the spiritual, and intellectual life of the teacher must be clearly seen by the students. The ideas and virtues that the teacher values, will be valued by the students. Sanctification being worked out in the teacher will be on display for the students. Our teachers must hold in their minds at all time, that they are the atmosphere. We read in scripture Jesus admonishing his disciples to follow him. The apostle Paul also writes in his letters to the churches for the saints to imitate him. Our job as teachers is to point students toward God and reflect his glory in our own lives.

As Christians, we would do well to think about the atmosphere we are creating for others. Are we living in a way that inspires others to look toward heavenly things? In our next newsletter, we’ll discuss the second instrument of education: Discipline.

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