WISDOM AND CURRICULUM
Blomberg presents an interpretation of essentially Christian schooling that challenges the conventional wisdom of both its advocates and critics. In asserting that education should teach students to be discerning of the worldviews that are operative in their own education, he strikes an important blow for the kind of Christian schooling he advocates, as well as puncturing the oft-held position that secular education is in and of itself values-neutral. He proffers the view that schools bringing their own values and beliefs forward in an explicit manner is the only authentic and honest way of proceeding. At the heart of this position is his final dismantling of the validity of disjoining theory and practice.
From the Foreword
The current obsession with assessment, frequently reflecting a reductionistic view of knowledge as a medley of discrete factualities, further hammers students into a fragmentation mode. When this mentality takes over a Christian school, the inner tension between the standard curriculum on the one hand and, on the other, the calling to genuine discipleship, to walk in wisdom, and to make all things new, constricts and chokes authentic Christian education-a situation that literally cries out for redemption.
[This] book . . . leads us into greener and more promising pastures. To reach them requires the author to address difficult and controversial issues. Engaging both the recent and contemporary literature, Blomberg takes pains to carefully analyze and evaluate the compatibility, or lack thereof, of our Christian commitments with those of both modernism and the varieties of postmodernism. After all, the difficult and controversial issues do not stand alone or float in space. They are determined by underlying spirits. Blomberg . . . tackles the fundamental assumptions controlling the standard curriculum and wrestles them to the ground, in an attempt to reshape them into forms patterned after the biblical theme of wisdom. The curriculum as we now have it, he argues, preaches a false gospel, a modernistic, rationalistic story that bamboozles Christian schools into believing that all is well as long as our children achieve expected scores and acquire some Christian perspective in the process.
Blomberg provides us with a fresh understanding, primed by the biblical wisdom literature, of what it means to live and learn in God's presence in a world of wonder, ambiguity, mystery, and yet trustworthiness. He rekindles a vision of schools as places where, as he puts it, "our students are passionate in the pursuit of wisdom and not just possessors of packets of knowledge."
From the Introduction
I have entitled this work Wisdom and Curriculum. I am interested in teachers' way of being with their students. Though it might strike you as strange, I believe that it is this mode of relating that constitutes the curriculum. For many years I have advocated an "integral curriculum." As well as seeking to bring further clarity to this conception, I wish to consolidate a comprehensive rationale by grounding it in a biblical view of wisdom. I am persuaded that adopting wisdom as a goal (and also as a means) enables us to address at least two deficiencies in the current practice of schooling. These concern what we teach and whom we teach: the subjects of schooling, in a dual sense. But already implicit in my way of framing this dual concern is a third sense, a third set of subjects. When "we"-the teachers-are acknowledged, we have the makings of curriculum, a triadic relationship.
Doug Blomberg, Ph.D., Ed.D, is Senior Member in Philosophy of Education at the Institute for Christian Studies, Toronto, ON, Canada.