English 5 (3rd ed.) Biblical Worldview Scope

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Biblical Worldview Scope for English 5

Introduction: This document is an attempt to answer (in the form of a scope) the question, “What must a fifth-grade student comprehend and value in order to understand English language arts from a biblical worldview?” What follows is a list of the themes that we believe are essential for students to understand and internalize. We anticipate that early in the course students will be required to recall and explain these themes. However, as these themes recur, students will also evaluate ideas, formulate a Christian understanding, and apply what they have learned to real-life situations. High levels of internalization result when students apply their learning.

1. Personality

Creation: No two people are identical. By God’s design, each human being has a distinct personality, a slightly different way of reflecting God’s image in the context of interacting with other people. In writing, personality is how a person utilizes the conventions of language in ways that make his work distinct and recognizable to his readers. When done according to the creational pattern, a writer’s personality will reflect aspects of God’s character that are appropriate for that writer based on his experience, perspective, and gifting.

Fall: There are at least two ways that writers may fail to express their personality as God’s image bearers—by writing with a radical voice or by writing with an undeveloped voice. Writers with a radical voice make personal expression their highest goal, even celebrating their failings and inviting readers to do the same. They seek their own glory and abuse writing to gain attention. Writers with an undeveloped voice produce dull works. If no personality is evident, the text will be uninteresting and lifeless. Since we are all persons, it is hard to relate to a text without personality. Both a radical and an undeveloped voice from people made in God’s image bear false witness about God’s character.

Redemption: God’s Word provides each student with appropriate ways to freely express his personality. Specifically, the glory of God and the good of others are at the heart of appropriate expressions of personality. In doing this, each person provides a unique reflection of God like a single facet of a diamond. When these unique reflections are considered together, they hint at the unfathomable beauty of the Creator. It is good when writers express their own personalities in ways that reflect God’s truth, goodness, and beauty to those around them. In doing so, they honor God’s creative wisdom and show love to others.

Sample Objectives:

  • Identify textual elements that show writer personality (12.142.2).
  • Make inferences about a writer’s personality based on his or her writing (4.55.1).
  • Compare the writing process to the process of building a monument (11.139.1).
  • Revise the narrative to communicate writer personality (12.147–48.3).

2. Perception

Creation: Every person has his own perceptions, or understandings of concepts based on the limited information he has received. God created people with the capacity to perceive the world rightly. This right understanding can be attained by accepting His revelation as absolute truth. When Adam and Eve relied on God’s speech to them, they could perceive the trees of the garden accurately. Since perception depends on limited knowledge, people may have true perceptions that are different yet complementary to one another. All writing has the potential of being truthful without declaring everything that can be written about a subject. God’s revelation in nature and in Scripture provides the basis for a writer’s continued growth in perception.

Fall: While people still rightly perceive many things about the world, they are now prone to error. Satan, the Father of Lies (John 8:44), deceived Eve and continues to mislead people. Writers often express ideas and arguments that are contrary to objective reality. Some readers and writers dismiss objective reality altogether. Such people become lost within a world of subjective opinion without any fixed reference point. As they share their erroneous perception, they lead others astray.

Redemption: God’s Word provides students with the framework necessary to perceive objective reality. The Bible must be the starting point for all development in perspective. Students must learn to accept biblical truth over their own ideas when these sources conflict. A biblical worldview does not guarantee accurate perception in every case, but it does provide the standard by which students can grow in their skills of evaluating arguments and formulating their own. Further growth can be accomplished by studying nature from a biblical understanding. Students will improve in their writing as they learn to ground their subjective opinions in God’s truth. This will enable them to share truth with others and help promote true perception.

Sample Objectives:

  • Define the term perception (1.1.1).
  • Identify ways a character grows in perception (8.91.1).
  • Evaluate the life of the research report subject for influence on the writer (14.180.1).
  • Describe a personal example of growth in perception (8.102.1).

3. Precision

Creation: God exhibits perfectly precise communication. He always conveys exactly what He intends with exactly the right words. Genesis 1 recounts His creation of the world using precise communication, recorded using precise words in the Bible. Jesus repeatedly stresses the importance of every letter and even the tense of verbs in Scripture (Matthew 5:18; 22:31–32). Thus, God’s image bearers must write with the utmost precision to reflect their Maker. This is a necessary component of the Creation Mandate. Precise, effective communication is needed for humans to exercise dominion. By laboring for precision in writing, writers also show love for their neighbor—the reader.

Fall: Writers often make it difficult for the reader to understand their meaning, either through ambiguity or verbosity. Sometimes writers intentionally avoid precision because they are nefariously hiding truth. Sometimes a text is difficult to understand because the writer was lazy in crafting that text. These choices can cause harm to readers or mislead them into believing falsehood. Choosing the most fitting words and carefully arranging them is hard work, a responsibility that is often ignored or avoided in a fallen world.

Redemption: Writers must work hard to present information in a way that is accurate and useful to readers. Because Christians are people of the Word, they are especially equipped to craft precise communication. Wherever Christianity has spread, so has literacy. And with literacy, precision in writing has flourished. Love for the truth, love for people, and a desire to fulfill the Creation Mandate provide Christian writers with motivations to strive for precision. Precision can make writing more effective for the glory of God and for the good of others.

Sample Objectives:

  • Describe a task that requires precision (3.40.1).
  • Identify precise words in a mentor text (6.67.1).
  • Formulate a plan for handling research precisely (13.165.1).
  • Write a precise list of safety tips (6.79.1).

4. Pleasure

Creation: God created the world for His own pleasure as well as for the pleasure of humans. Throughout the Creation week God repeatedly said His creation was good, which is a statement of pleasure. The sabbath rest in Genesis 2 also illustrates the importance God places on finding pleasure in His finished work. This is the proper model for human work as well, including the work of producing writing. Writers reflect their Creator when they write with pleasure and for the pleasure of their readers. The hard work of clarifying and composing one’s thoughts on paper is satisfying because it is an act of creating. The writer’s thoughts are now outside the writer, fixed on a printed or digital page where others can enjoy and benefit from them.

Fall: God’s curse following man’s sin turned satisfying work into painful toil. Pleasure in writing has been distorted in at least four ways. One is the inability to find pleasure in writing; some students find writing assignments boring and unfulfilling. Another is the frustration that comes with the hard work of clarifying and composing one’s thoughts on paper. Third, some writers seek their own pleasure without regard for their readers. And finally, writers often pursue pleasure in the wrong things—or even in good things—in a sinful way.

Redemption: The ability to find pleasure in writing can grow with practice. A biblical view of this present world reminds Christians that frustrations and pleasure are not mutually exclusive. Despite difficulty, there is still beauty to be celebrated, and satisfaction to be found in accomplishment. As students realize and accept this, they will be better equipped to push through the frustrations of writing and experience pleasure in their work. And as they focus more on the pleasure of their readers by using engaging and clear language, that too will enhance their own pleasure.They will find pleasure in having brought pleasure to others.

Sample Objectives:

  • List obstacles to enjoyment in the writing process (7.80.1).
  • Compare and contrast two paragraphs for reader interest (9.106.1).
  • Formulate a plan for finding pleasure in writing (7.90.1).
  • Describe a favorite geographic place in a way that will bring pleasure to others (9.117.1).
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