April 17

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THE Most Important Thing to Teach

By Tresta Neil

Called to Learn, Principles, Teaching

Have you ever had something like this happen?
You’re in the bedroom and you hear a very loud screeching sound. You run to the kitchen to find the refrigerator open, milk jug on the floor with spilled milk all around and leading to the porch where you see your son hold his new kitten upside down. One hand holding its neck and the other one of his back paws. He dips the cat into the bowl of milk. The kitten scratches the boy and he drops it into the milk and the cat scrambles away leaving the boy crying.
What was missing? all the elements of success were there: a hungry kitten, the milk, the love for the kitten, etc. PRINCIPLES were missing!
Principles teach us why things work, they teach us the relationship between two things and provide an understanding of how things happen and why they happen the way they do. 8 Reasons WHY Principles are THE Most Important Things to Teach:

  1. Discovered NOT Invented

8 Reasons WHY Principles are THE Most Important Things to Teach:

  1. Discovered NOT Invented

Three Elements of Learning
Concept
  – represents the knowledge of things. A group of things which have something in common. Arbitrary groupings which are invented by people. “The concept of money.”
Procedure – Represents the knowledge of changes. A set of steps you use to perform a skill. Procedures are invented by people. A recipe is an example of a procedure.
Principle – Represents the knowledge of changes. They teach us how to understand and provide guidance as to how to perform each step or guidance as to when to use which procedure.

​   8 Reasons WHY Principles are THE Most Important Things to Teach:
Discovered NOT Invented
Three Elements of Learning
Concept
  – represents the knowledge of things. A group of things which have something in common. Arbitrary groupings which are invented by people. “The concept of money.”
Procedure – Represents the knowledge of changes. A set of steps you use to perform a skill. Procedures are invented by people. A recipe is an example of a procedure.
Principle – Represents the knowledge of changes. They teach us how to understand and provide guidance as to how to perform each step or guidance as to when to use which procedure.

8 Reasons WHY Principles are THE Most Important Things to Teach:

  1. Discovered NOT Invented
  2. an understanding of how things happen 
  3. an understanding of why they happen the way they do

Example: Making No-Bake Cookies

No-Bake Cookies
Concept: making cookies, grouping ingredients.
​​Procedure: boil milk, sugar, and butter to a certain temperature then add oatmeal, cocoa, vanilla. Spoon on wax paper.

Principles:  
1. If you heat it up too high the cookies are crumbly
2. If you heat it up too low the cookies will be too sticky. 8 Reasons WHY Principles are THE Most Important Things to Teach:

  1. Discovered NOT Invented
  2. an understanding of how things happen 
  3. an understanding of why they happen the way they do
  4. guidance as to how to perform each step​
  5. guidance as to when to use which procedure
Picture

Example: The kitten story
The story had all the right elements (concepts) for success and the procedure was followed. Yet, the desired result did not happen. Why? The principles were not yet discovered by the boy.


He didn’t know:

  • how to perform each step
  • forcing a kitten to drink milk will cause resistances from the kitten
  • holding a kitten upside down causes anxiety and usually ends in violence

8 Reasons WHY Principles are THE Most Important Things to Teach:

  1. Discovered NOT Invented
  2. an understanding of how things happen 
  3. an understanding of why they happen the way they do
  4. guidance as to how to perform each step​
  5. guidance as to when to use which procedure
  6. only kind of content which represents “truth”​ in any significant way 
  7. held accountable for the application of principles
  8. leads to conversion

Example: STORY of David and Goliath
concepts: war going on, two nations were fighting procedure: a hero from each side will fight to the death principle: “with God, all things are possible”, “through small things great things come about”

Conclusion: 

  • Principles are the most important kind of content for us to teach. 
  • It is essential that we know how to teach them well.  
    • How to identify (discover) principles
    • How to apply the principles to new situations and in personal life.

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