Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Learning Targets

As a teacher, I have to plan my lessons beginning with the end in mind. I know the kids are going to ask, "Why do we have to do this?"  I need to have an answer ready. Our district has adopted "Learning Targets," which is just a fancy term for the objectives of the lesson, or what we intend the outcome to be for our kids. The learning targets are often a topic of derision among the students, and sometimes the teachers, too. While the kids don't  always  pay attention to the targets, they really do point exactly to the intended outcome of the lesson. Students don't always see the connection, or the relevance.

I confess that I am not unlike my students. I often question God. "What exactly do you want me to learn from this? Do I really have to go through all this? Can't I just read the Cliff Notes version of it??" Sometimes I'm a spiritual wimp. An unruly child.

I recognize this as a weakness and I am working to overcome it. I'm praying daily for discernment. I try really hard to look for the lesson in the things I encounter. If only the Learning Targets were written somewhere!! Oh, wait....they are....

There is much wisdom to be gained in the scriptures, but sometimes reading them is a difficult task in itself. Again, I pray that God will help me learn the lessons I need to learn. A great scripture that I've been considering lately is in Psalm 119. The whole psalm is about learning the ways of the Lord and living a holy life. Verse 125 is David's specific request for insight, "I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes." My favorite part follows:

129Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them.

130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.

131 I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands.

132 Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name.

133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.

134 Redeem me from human oppression, that I may obey your precepts.

135 Make your face shine on your servant and teach me your decrees.


If we ask God to help us learn His ways, He will open our eyes and teach us so that we can learn and follow Him more closely. It is with that hope that I press on and continue to study the Bible, asking myself and God what I can learn and how I can apply it.

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