By Mary Kizior
The culture of life is not an abstract concept. It’s a way of life directed by the deepest respect for the human person. The culture of life reminds society of the sacredness of every human being and seeks solutions to social problems in a way that honors God as the Author of Life.
As Saint John Paul II reminds us in Evangelium Vitae, educators play a special role in promoting a culture of life in society. But even though Evangelium Vitae was written over 20 years ago, there still has not been much progress in fulfilling the pope’s dream for a society educated in respect for every human person. Education in the culture of life is even more important now than it was when the pope wrote Evangelium Vitae. These are valuable lessons that students need to learn from a young age. But sometimes the culture of life can be hard to integrate into a classroom setting. Teachers often face four main obstacles in teaching the culture of life to their students:
1. Lack of resources
Pro-life education today—whether the sources are pro-life news sites or brochures—is geared toward adults. Beyond short courses on ethics and morality, students have little contact with the culture of life in a traditional school curriculum. Teachers are frustrated. Because of a lack of resources available to teach the gospel of life in an educational setting, teachers are left floundering. They often have to conduct their own research, or use more than one textbook, article, or educational series in order for students to have a thorough and up-to-date understanding of current threats against human beings, like euthanasia.
2. Extra lesson planning
Teachers are frustrated. Because of a lack of resources available to teach the gospel of life in an educational setting, teachers are left floundering. They often have to conduct their own research, or use more than one textbook, article, or educational series in order for students to have a thorough and up-to-date understanding of current threats against human beings, like euthanasia.
3. Demanding curriculum
Integrating the culture of life into an already hectic school schedule, such as in high school, can seem a daunting task. Students in the upper grades do not have time to add an extra subject like the Culture of Life to their schedules.
4. Lack of time
Many religious education programs and Catholic schools work hard to instill in children the precepts of our faith. But with so much to teach young children about the faith, the culture of life gets shoved to the back burner. Many times, class time is filled with very important goals like preparing children for their sacraments, and there just doesn’t seem to be time to add in lessons about the dignity of the human person and why it is so important to live the gospel of life.
The good news is that these four obstacles can easily be overcome with what the CLSP offers in its program. With the Culture of Life Studies Program, teachers can replace parts of their lessons with CLSP supplements so that students benefit from learning pro-life principles. The Culture of Life Studies Program is one of the only educational programs for students in kindergarten through 12th grade specifically designed to ground students in pro-life principles and encourage them to use their beliefs to change the world. From a young age, students are trained to speak out against threats to human beings and work diligently to care for the needy in their own communities. Teachers shouldn’t feel lost when it comes to teaching their students about the culture of life. The vision for CLSP is to teach the culture of life in every subject at every grade level.
This means that teachers won’t have to set aside extra time to teach the gospel of life to their students. They can teach culture-of-life principles in whatever class students are required to take—literature, history, science, religion, etc. The possibilities are endless.
Supplements from the Culture of Life Studies Program require minimal preparation from teachers because all of the material needed to teach the lesson is included in the supplement itself or on our online resource pages. In order to create supplements, we worked with top subject experts on issues like euthanasia, abortion law, and embryology in order to make the most current and crucial information available to students.
Each supplement package includes all teacher lecture notes, discussion questions and answers, and even optional quizzes and other assessment activities. The Culture of Life Studies Program makes it easy for teachers to start using our supplements immediately so that they can start changing the lives of their students. Our society desperately needs to be revitalized with the culture of life. If we have any hope of restoring respect for every human person in our society, we must take a proactive step to ensure that the next generation does not continue in ignorance. Education is one of the most important ways that you can combat the threats against life.
What is keeping you from teaching the culture of life in your classroom?
Mary Kizior is a content developer for American Life League’s Culture of Life Studies Program, which stresses the culture of life as an integral part of every academic discipline. CLSP is dedicated to helping students become effective communicators of the pro-life message. Sign up for our e-mail newsletter to see how we can help you foster a culture of life at home and in school.
image: Melinda Huntley via Flickr | CC-2.0