Monday, September 5, 2011

Observation, Imitation, Proof

Last week I finished reading a book entitled “Renaissance Engineers – From Brunelleschi to Leonardo da Vinci,” written by Paolo Galluzzi.  The main theme of the book is that during the Renaissance there were many engineers who built upon each other’s work.  The magnificent gains in architecture and mechanical engineering were the result of many people, not just one man working in isolation. 

The author describes the exchange of ideas in a mentoring fashion as “a transcription-assimilation process.”  Each engineer kept a journal in which he copied the work of others, and made changes or improvements based on his own knowledge and insights.  The process steps included:  Observation, Imitation, and Proof. 

The first step, Observation, included copying the work of another engineer and studying the design.  Imitation involved taking the design and applying it to your own project.  And, finally, you would work to either prove or disprove the integrity of the design.

This description of this process made think about modern education.  How many times are students taught the facts, and then just told to repeat the information on the tests?  It seems that standardized tests are, by nature, limited to the Observation phase of learning.

Then I started wondering about our Christian education.  How many times do we go to church and listen to a sermon, and then go home and forget everything that was said?  How hard do we work at progressing to the Imitation stage of taking what we learn and applying it in our own lives?  And, what about Proof?  Are we committed to our Christian education enough that we take time to validate what we are taught by searching the scriptures?  Do we test what we are taught by both investigation and implementation?