Discovering the Soul of Education

Jeff Haanen

An old saying suggests that educators teach their pupils "reading, writing and 'rithmatic," but the work they do, in thousands of classrooms every day, has deeper implications for the hearts and minds of our nation’s students.

In addition to parents, teachers often serve as the strongest intellectual and moral influence in a young person’s life. The worldview and values they espouse shape students' perspectives--and as a result, culture at large--for years to come.

In 2106, Professor Mary Poplin joined Denver Institute for Faith & Work to discuss the ways educators' ideas about what is good, beautiful, and true affect classroom instruction and students' lives.

Spend a few minutes watching this video of Dr. Poplin's presentation and consider the following questions:

1) Which of the four worldviews described in the video seems most prevalent in your school or workplace? How does this perspective shape the daily life in this setting?

2) Scripture teaches that knowledge is tied to the mind, but understanding is tied to the heart. Whether you're an educator, influencer, or parent, how could you encourage learning at both a head and heart level?

3) Christianity invites us to pursue the good, beautiful, and true in our work. What practical steps could you take to emphasize these values — through your actions and the attitudes you embrace?


Jeff Haanen

Jeff Haanen is a writer and entrepreneur. He founded Denver Institute for Faith & Work, a community of conveners, teachers and learners offering experiences and educational resources on the gospel, work, and community renewal. He is the author of An Uncommon Guide to Retirement: Finding God’s Purpose for the Next Season of Life and an upcoming two-book series on spiritual formation, vocation, and the working class for Intervarsity Press. He lives with his wife and four daughters in Denver and attends Wellspring Church in Englewood, Colorado.