Helping Students to Attain Self-control: The Role of the Christian Teacher

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Paul Buschenhofen


The Christian educator teaching in a Christian school has the goals of
reconciling fallen individuals to God and one another and restoring the image
of God in them (Knight, 1998:229). These goals have profound implications
for how these educators view their students, their own roles and the curriculum
they teach. Furthermore, central to this issue is the need for their students to
attain the self-discipline and self-control they need to consciously choose the
path of uniting their will with the will of their Saviour. This self-control cannot
be obtained merely in response to the word or will of their teacher. It is only
by teachers modelling, selecting and emphasising Bible-based techniques and
Christian values within the totality of their relationship with their students,
that they can best help them in developing the Christ-like character traits of
responsibility and self-discipline.
An important contribution to our understanding of the relationship between
teachers discipline techniques and student responsibility and self-discipline,
is the research of Ramon Lewis. Lewis found that more responsible classes
are associated with teachers who are less abusive and punishment oriented,
while teachers who use more punishment, more aggressive techniques such as
yelling in anger and class detentions, promote more misbehaviour and less
responsibility in their students. The findings of related research studies are
compatible with those of Ramon Lewis.
…These research outcomes find their ultimate meaning in the example of
Jesus, the Master Teacher, who, by building caring relationships with His
students , helped them discover both their personal needs and that better
way which can only be gained through self-discipline and responsibility based
on an internalisation of the principles, relationships and values of a God of
The Christian teacher is in the fortunate position of being able to draw on
the resources of current research as well as the exemplary teaching style of
Jesus, in developing his / her own techniques to assist students in the vital
goal of attaining a lifestyle (both inside and outside the classroom) of
responsible action and self-control.


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