William James

William James
We must get by on what truth we have today, and be willing to call it error tomorrow.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

On A Challenge Made To The "Self-appointed Advisors And Critics Of The Church's Curriculum Dept. And Leaders"

The comment was made:

"There appears to be no shortage of members and non-members alike who in various ways presume to know better than the Bretheren and the Church's curriculum department what ought to be included in the lesson material.

I am of the opinion that much of this comes by way of abject ignorance or a stiffling lack of mindfulness of effective instructional design and what all goes into formulating and implementing a superior educational system.

But, I could be wrong. To see if I am, I'm offering the following challenge to the self-appointed critics, advisors, and ark-steadiers:

Without appealing to current or past lesson material, design your own multi-year, comprehensive and coherent curriculum for the Church.

Your objective is to devise the best educational means possible for bringing people to Christ and enabling them to become like Christ, including fulfilment of the three-fold mission of the Church: 1) Perfect the saints; 2) Proclaim the gospel; 3) Redeem the dead.

Your instructional strategy. Since the objective is heavily character-based and action oriented, your instructional strategy should be both global and linear in approach, and entail building towards mastery of the principles, ordinances, and practices of the restored gospel as revealed by God through his prophets and leaders.

Your audience. To make the challenge somewhat easier for you, lets restrict your audience to adults ages 18 and above who have been in the Church at least a year. And, the lesson material needs to be written in such a way that most any adult member could teach it and any adult member could learn it, regardless of educational background, cultural influences, and level of development within the Church.

The courses. To also make this challenge easier for you, lets restrict the adult courses to Sunday School and Priesthood/Relief Society. Separate but coordinated curriculum, then, needs to be written for each. And, if you are so inclined, you can also design separate curriculum tailored respectively for priesthood and Relief Society.

Time frame The achievement of mastery of gospel principles and so forth, will consist of repeating the respecive coursework in 5-year blocks, with each year focusing on an individual portion of the LDS canon (Bible, Book of Mormon, D&C, Pearl of Great Price) and the teaching of latter-day prophets, with approximately 47 lesson per year, each to be taught in about 45 minutes.

Good luck with this!

Let us know when you have completed the challenge so we can test your design against what the educational professionals in the Church curriculum department, guided by inspired Church leaders, have produced, to determine which is superior and has the greatest chance of achieving the stated objective."

To which I responded:

There are two main reasons why I am not up to the challenge. First, I disagree with the stated objective, insofar as its goal is to perpetuate the doctrines, policies, and culture in the church which I perceive to be gravely erroneous. Second, I of course lack the resources (time, and compensation by the Church) to devote to rising to the challenge. Therefore, I do not consider my unwillingness to accept your challenge to in any way preclude me from criticizing the lesson manuals. While there may be a place for heirarchy in terms of the day-to-day management of the church, I can't imagine God intended for the members of his church to be silenced in voicing honest criticism and seeking open debate.

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