BOOK: How We Learn A Christian Teachers Guide to Educational Psychology

How We Learn A Christian Teachers Guide to Educational Psychology

    Klaus Issler

Retail Price: $26.00
Length: 245 pages
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers (May 2002)
ISBN: 978-1-5791-0967-7


How We Learn has been written solely with the teacher in mind as a guide to help you improve your practice of teaching--whether you already are a teacher, church leader, or parent--or are studying to become a teacher or Christian educator. Specifically, the book clarifies much of the mystery surrounding the principles of learning that are foundational to the teaching-learning process. And, more significantly, a substantial biblical perspective undergirds the whole discussion. Thus, this book can help increase your understanding of why you do what you do as a teacher in education that is Christian.

Several ways of summarizing the content of learning theory are provided for ease of use in teaching. A five-part framework organizes the whole subject and is represented by the acrostic "LEARN" (pages 23, 24, and 189-190). The foundational explanatory guide and "engine" for teacher planning comes from a creative synthesis of the three major learning "families"--each with "contrasting" pairs of avenues, yielding a total of six avenues of learning (page 50), related age-appropriateness for each learning family (page 93), and a general framework to keep these six avenues in mind in lesson planning (page 192).

Other helpful syntheses of the subject include: four kinds of learning (page 30), habit formation processes (pages 42, 71-74), student "readiness" as composed of being willing and able (pages 101, 165; also four motivational patterns, page 156), three phases of moral development (page 147), four phases for nurturing faith in children (page 150), and four themes of Christian maturity offered as a general framework toward which we can teach (page 173). Each chapter includes some "Try It Out" exercises and ends with a list of key concepts and issues.

This book is the third collaborative writing project that Ron Habermas and I have completed. We met as doctoral students under Ted Ward at Michigan State University in the early 1980's and have enjoyed many fruitful years of friendship and cooperative writing ventures. About half of the content of How We Learn comes from material I originally developed for our co-authored book Teaching for Reconciliation: Foundations and Practices of Christian Educational Ministry (Baker, 1992). The second edition of that book is now available from Wipf & Stock Publishers (2001), as revised by Ron.

For How We Learn the material from Chapters 5-8 of Teaching for Reconciliation (1992) has been rearranged and substantially expanded to form the present eleven chapters. Then, Ron meticulously worked through the manuscript so that his insightful suggestions of refinement and clarification of concepts are evident throughout, significantly improving the presentation of the material (Ron also wrote the application section on teens, pages 86-91). Due to this unique form of collaboration, both our names appear on the cover, although I should take responsibility for limitations of and inaccuracies within the book.

For further information on teaching toward the central Christian maturity theme of "Communion with God" [page 173] see my Wasting Time With God: A Christian Spirituality of Friendship With God [InterVarsity Press, 2001]).

This book can be sampled at