Effect of Axiology on Education
The values introduced by Islam are natural. In other words, these values are not a predetermined set entitled religion which were to be imposed upon men, rather the wise God with complete encompass on the cognition of man’s nature and the values that man’s nature requires, has confirmed those values in the frame of religion.
Since the absolute and constant values that Islam has introduced to men are consistent with man’s unchangeable Divine nature, therefore the more man can try in the purification of his soul and remain his Divine nature pure and immaculate, the more and the better he will understand the value of the Divine and Spiritual values, i.e. the nature values.
Therefore, one of the most important tasks of the teacher and educator is the arrangement and contrivance for the purification of the students’ souls. Love and reverence for the teacher are generated within the heart if the teacher is ‘good’ both in thought and feelings. It is a common sense reality that whenever and wherever a person sees the ‘good’ in the form of selfless love, charity, righteousness, truthfulness, sincerity, justice, mercy and care for all creation, balanced and impractical judgment, humility, then his or her heart is immediately attracted towards that manifestation, and love and reverence are generated within the heart for the person whose behavior reflects those qualities.
To be moral is to be a whole human being who lives and acts in the world and in whom the head and the heart work in coordination and love for the good is manifest through good deeds. The Islamic ethic is thus intimately related to a practical manifestation (Ashraf; cited from Ashraf & Hirst, 1994).
Islamic education is the process through which human beings are trained and prepared in a concerted way to do their Creator’s bidding in this life, to be rewarded in the life after death (Sarwar; quoted in Muslim education Trust, 1996).
Beauty is an objective truth, and is not a mere function of the individuals’ minds and preferences (Motahhari, 1996). Thus the minds and thoughts of the persons should be nurtured in such a manner that they see the beautiful affairs as beautiful and the ugly affairs as ugly.
The education can achieve man to a position in which man truly loves virtue and goodness, enjoy the rational beauty, lives in real happiness, and become delivered from every undue grief.
The hardships and misfortunes that God ordains for His bondmen according to His knowledge and wisdom, will be nothing else save beauty, therefore the interpretation of His real bondmen will be nothing else save happiness. Such bondmen will become happy from hardships and misfortunes as much as the bounties, because these two are the same.
The humans, in such a position, have a very high knowledge regarding the values, acquire a very good attitudes concerning those values, and their actions confirm their knowledge and attitudes. Therefore, the teacher and educator’s duty is to give his students a very high knowledge about the values which will lead them to a very deep and comprehensive awareness and will cause a very firm and confirm attitudes in them so that they may really become interested in those values and believe in them.
Such attitude will lead them to act according to those values and finally they become a manifestation the accepted values. As it is seen, the teachers avoid, imposing their values upon their students, rather they formulated his behavior and teaching methods in such a manner that their students will have a very good knowledge and attitudes about the values and good actions based on their values.
The text and its study not only make children aware of moral and religious truth, they also have an instrumental dimension, namely, that they could lead to moral/ religious practice (Ashraf; quoted in Ashraf & Hirst, 1994).
There are five areas where religious and in juxtaposition, and both groups of educations are in agreement: Values education is intentional; Values education is on open – ended system; Teachers are facilitators in value education; Teachers are arrangers of the learning environments; “Theory” is important (Barber, 1984).
The list of values which are thought in the religious domain in moral education includes justice, fairness, cooperation, responsibility, good decision making, and other instrumental values, faith, hope and love to God, one’s neighbor, and one’s self. Loving God by implication involves terminal values.
Loving one’s self involves personal and competency values. It is not possible to teach faith, hope, and love without teaching values. One can teach “about” religion without teaching values. But religious educators hope to teach religion as a living faith.
They must teach values (Barber, 1984). Religious truth must be so taught that it will express itself in action. Children must be told not only what prayer is: they must be taught to pray. They must be told not only what Sin is, and what the Commandments of God are: they must be taught to avoid Sin and to keep the Commandments.
And the aim of all this teaching is to produce not so much the well introduced Christian as the fervent practicing Christian – the man or woman whose daily conduct is ruled and regulated by the principle of faith: the man or woman of character (Cronin, 1952). To be religious is to have certain patterns of behavior.
Religious people probably have such attitudes because they have learned them. They have developed them as a result of certain experiences, including their experiences of other people (Astley; cited from Astley, Francis & Crowder, 1996).
Thus, the students should follow their teachers as a good example: “It is enough for students to be like their teacher, and servants like their master” (Matthew 10: 25).
It is also necessary for the listeners and students to act according to the good things they say and they hear: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what is say” (James 1: 22).
“I will show you my faith by what I do” (James 2: 19). It is up to all of the religious preachers and teachers to pay attention to this fact that: “I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize” (Corinthians 9:27).
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace – loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (James 3:13 & 17). Then it is possible to reach this position teaching others what to do:
“I will help both of you speak and will teach what to do” (Exodus 4: 15). Christian theism takes a moral agent, at the very east to be a person who makes moral judgments and performs morally significant actions (Peterson, 1986).
It is also necessary that teacher not only pay attention to the good students to be better, but also to the bad students to become better; “Jesus said, ‘It is not healthy who need a doctor, but those who are ill. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9: 12-13).
Therefore, it can be said that the main task of the teacher is guidance and leading students to the right way: “I will teach you the way that is good and right” (1Samuel 12:23). “That thou teach them the good way” (1Kings 6: 36).
Such an instruction is divine and spiritual and its aim is pleasing God, i.e. one of the goals of man’s creations: “We instructed you how to live in order to please God” (1Thessalonians 4:1).
And if the teachers act contrary to this, they will not be considered as real teachers, but false teachers: “There were false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you” (2Peter 2: 1).
Christian teachers will be concerned not with delivering the truth from within the learner but with encouraging students to see the interconnectedness of things, to relish the interwoven complexity and irrepressible richness of the universe and thus to contribute, not to an individualistic divisiveness and competition within the academy, but to a renewed, collaborative discovery and appreciation of the universe in all its divinely bestowed unity and coherence.
The teacher is thus called upon to become a witness, to become one whose own existence testifies both to the involvement of God in our learning, and to the transformative nature of education (Rae, 2004).
In such an education, learning can be viewed as a religious activity. Learning about the world, and much learning about human society, may be understood in tradition terms as thinking God’s thoughts after him, in the sense of uncovering the created laws of physical, biological and social instruction.
Learning in the humanities is located at only one remove from this: it is thinking the thoughts of God’s rational creatures, and/ or using my God – given wit to think my own thoughts. But beyond this, learning, scholarship and research should themselves be embraced by the Christians as vocations of high value – of true virtue – and thus as proper expressions of Christianity and another from of love.
The learner, too, is a servant, here subservient to the truth, and must therefore exhibit a proper submissiveness. “Christianity at its best teaches people that they stand not at the center of reality, but on the periphery along with everyone else” (Marsden, 1997, p.100), there true scholar should be concerned with the truth alone, and hang the glory (Astley, 2004).
In his heavily autobiographical book, Spirituality, Ethics, Religion and Teaching, Robert Nash has written on the importance of passionate teaching and passionate learning in higher education (Nash, 2002, pp.9-10,198).
He characterizes this as ‘something akin to a lustful enthusiasm’ which is fuelled by Eros: the ‘unapologetic love’ of truth, beauty and relationship, ‘the primordial human energy that attracts us to each other and binds us together in affection and generosity’. The other – regarding giving of one’s self, the unconditioned love that seeks no reward.
This, of course, is the agape of the new Testament Psychologically we function better when we enjoy it, and, in any case, striving to purge myself of self – satisfying feelings can itself be a form of spiritual Pride. To ‘forget myself’ adequately I need to concentrate on others, not on my self – forgetting.
We will not enjoy, we need to structure and direct our actions to their proper end, which is the good of others and the pursuit of truth, rather than our own good and our own pursuits. Teaching, learning and loving are all activities that can greatly fulfill us, but fulfillment cannot be their objective (Astley, 2004).
The friendship ‘that binds subject and teacher’ is one that the teacher wants to share with his or her students, for the true teacher is not possessive about such friendships. This is not just ‘a person for the subject’; it is also a passion for others to know the subject (Astley, 2004). The teacher, who knows the subject well, must introduce it to a student in the way one would introduce a friend.
The students must know why the teacher values the subject, how the subject has transformed the teacher’s life. By the same token, the teacher must value the students as potential friends, be vulnerable to the ways students may the teacher’s relationship with the subject as well as be transformed. If I am invited into a valued friendship between two people, I will not enter in unless I feel that I am valued as well (Palmer, 1993, p. 104; cited in Bailey, 2005).
Therefore, the idea of the secular university has come damaging and misguided. The time has come to replace the dull uniformity of the business hotel with attractive, well organized centers of study where the spiritual is celebrated and God can be truly recognized. There are four features of the ‘Christian university’.
First, it is ideologically honest: it challenges the myth that institutions can be value – free and recognizes the ‘tradition – constituted’ nature of us all. Second, the mission of a Christian university recognizes that there is an attempt to inculcate certain ‘faith – based’ values. True education must include training in the virtues.
The third feature of a Christian university will be the location and significance of metaphysics in the curriculum. Every student in every subject should reflect on the metaphysical underpinning of his or her discipline. The fourth and final feature of a Christian University is the celebration of ‘rationality’ and ‘conversation’ in the quest for the truth (Markham, 2004).