Page 2 - Awakening the Fire Within: A Primer for Issue-Centered Education
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What Is Issue-Centered Education?
A wise educator once said that teachers spend most of their time and energy meeting students where they are not, in order to take them to where they do not want to go.
Issue-centered education is about doing it differently. The strategy is to meet the student where he or she is, then to support and equip the student to work where needed, in that moment and place, to find life. Therefore, “the student is the curriculum.”
The assumption is that beneath all the knowledge in the world—religious, scientific, psychological, political, historical, artistic, economic—is a predictable Wisdom of human patterning. Polarities (those tensions that pull us in opposite directions) need not be an enduring surprise. They serve as a beginning place and a touchstone, grounding all we mean by education.
Educare in the Latin means “to draw out of.” The task of issue-centered education is to enable the student to discover what he or she already knows about life and the patterning, to expand and deepen that knowing, and thus to bring to bear upon choices all the tradition, experience, and the erudition of the past. This type of education is called “maieutic”, from the Greek word for midwife.
Praise for Awakening the Fire Within
You did an excellent job of outlining your ideas regarding teaching people to understand and relate to religious texts, especially the Bible. Your ideas are unique and much-needed as an alternative to more traditional ways of teaching the Bible.
Your approach is student-centered as well as text-centered. You point out that effective learning requires the utilization of the imagination. This is an important point for our culture in general to understand, and especially so for learning the Bible, for the imagination is a tremendously powerful force in any creative endeavor. Especially with the Bible it is not enough to approach learning rationally and scientifically. To get to the soul of the Bible requires an imaginative approach.
At the same time, however, you respect the integrity of the biblical text. Here your extensive training and background in biblical theology and the Bible is of great help to you. Your approach to the learning the Bible is as a consequence able to hold together the scientific approach to the biblical text with the techniques you have developed, such as the use of the imagination, which help the reader make the message of the Bible his/her own.
Jack Sanford, Jungian Analyst and Pastoral Counselor (1929 – 2005)

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