Christ Centered Learning
We believe that God is the omnipotent, unchanging creator, sustainer, and lawgiver. We believe that the Bible is God’s word and that it is inspired, authentic, and authoritative. We believe that God created man in his own image and that God desires a relationship with man. We believe that all have sinned against the Creator and that he has provided redemption and restoration through his son Jesus whom we affirm as the resurrected Lord and through whose Spirit we are empowered for holy living.
The Purpose of Education at Harding
The primary responsibility for rearing and educating children rests with their parents, who are the first and most important educators in a child’s life. Harding Academy exists to help parents accomplish this God-given responsibility.
The most essential purpose of education is the development of the student in the image of God. Every student should grow in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and man. Christian education provides a context within which the desires of our hearts and the pursuits of our minds are integrated into a whole. Furthermore, Christian education involves moral education and the foundation of biblical faith for all of the disciplines in a manner enabling students to view themselves, all persons, and the world through the eyes of Christian faith.
Our goal is, through precept and example, to inculcate in every student the mind of Christ. Realizing that all people are children of God, students will be taught that all people should be valued—that they should be viewed as Jesus would view them and treated as Jesus would treat them.
We desire to inspire and equip students to view learning as an interesting, valuable, satisfying pursuit and to see learning as a lifelong process. Students will also be led to respect and care for their minds and bodies as God’s creation and to regard physical and mental wellness as a lifetime endeavor. Because “it is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:24), students should be expected to put forth their best efforts in all endeavors. In every subject and at every level, students are expected to adopt a posture of submission to authority while also being led toward growing independence, able to apply godly wisdom in making choices and willing to take responsibility for themselves.
Christian education rests upon the recognition that all truth is of God and that truth is absolute. Therefore, the Scriptures possess a privileged status at the center of the curriculum, for they are the primary means of conveying the knowledge of God. Students are led to a knowledge of God that is both factual (knowing about God) and personal (knowing God). Though the Word of God is the main source of the knowledge of God, both factual and personal, the works of God are also an important part of the curriculum. Especially is God revealed in his rational creation, man, who having been created in the image of God is the highest of God’s works on earth.
It is for this reason that the Christian school gives emphasis to the humanities: the study of man’s language, his literature, his artistic achievements, the record of his history, the logic of his mathematical reasoning, and other forms of his personal and cultural expression. In addition, the curriculum includes astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, and related subjects because they provide a knowledge of God’s nature and his work in this world. Students will learn skills in oral and written communication which will be applied across the curriculum. Likewise, opportunities for participation in the visual and performing arts not only serve as necessary outlets for creative expression but represent a vital and integral part of the academic curriculum. In contrast to curricula in secular schools, the glorification of God is the purpose and chief component of all Harding curricula.
The established course of study should be general, not specialized; liberal, not vocational. Because the body of what is considered “essential knowledge” is subject to change, students should be equipped to think deeply, analytically, flexibly, and imaginatively and to communicate clearly, concisely, fluently, and effectively. In addition, they will learn to locate, evaluate, and use resources for finding information and to carry out a cycle of learning that involves thinking, planning, acting, reviewing, and revising.
Methods and Model of Education
Effective teaching and learning are largely dependent on well-qualified, experienced, godly teachers who are underpinned by the respect and support of a caring administration. Classrooms are directed by the teacher who is a lifelong learner, who loves children and who serves as a godly role model for the students. The most successful teachers will employ a variety of teaching methods, considering the needs of both individuals and groups, and will actively organize and direct the instructional process for optimum student learning.
Because of the natural sequence in the maturation process of children, all learning should be sequential, designed to move the student in stages from the concrete (memorization) to the abstract (critical analysis). Students need to understand why they are studying what they are studying and how one concept connects to another as well as how one subject connects to another, all within a Christian worldview.
Education requires effort on the part of the student, and an emphasis is given to the student’s taking responsibility for his own learning. The program should be academically rigorous for both slow and fast learners.