By Mary Kizior
The beauty of the culture of life is that it is a way of life and not just another set of principles and rules. As many teachers who have used the Culture of Life Studies Program are discovering, there is more than one way to teach the culture of life and spread the pro-life message to students. Finding the best learning technique is important. Below we provide suggestions for how to teach students with varied interests and learning styles.
Nothing satiates an inquisitive mind quite like a full explanation of the facts. Students are eager to know the truth, particularly in science. Fact-based learning pulls kids into the “wow” of God’s creation. When accompanied by pictures and other “evidence,” facts can be incredibly wonderful for cementing a firm foundation in respect for all human persons.
For example, in Life Is Precious, our unit study for kindergarten through second grade, parents and teachers focus on introducing students to the science of a preborn baby’s development. Children are delighted to learn about the different stages a growing preborn baby goes through in order to reach birth.
When taught from a purely scientific perspective, lessons on a preborn baby’s development inform students about the beauty of every human being’s life without injuring their innocence.
Show your students pictures, fetal models, and videos as you teach about the sacredness of human beings and the preciousness of every human person. Give them tangible evidence that they can see for themselves. This method is great for visual learners because the dignity of every person comes alive.
Learning pro-life facts and arguments are a large part of a pro-life education, but fact-based learning isn’t the only area that deserves attention in a culture-of-life classroom. Students must not only form their thoughts, they must also transform their actions in order to live out a culture of life. Active learning teaches students to be doers as well as thinkers.
Teachers with kinesthetic learners in their classroom can take advantage of hands-on projects to teach the pro-life message. Make your class more active by introducing structured team building activities into your lessons.
Have your students work together to organize a fundraiser for a pregnancy resource center, host a community service day where your students band together to help out at a local soup kitchen, or volunteer for a small construction project at the parish. Positive actions are a key part of building a culture of life. Students need to get in the habit of learning by doing. They can have fun and lend a helping hand at the same time.
Our forthcoming unit study entitled Defend Life uses team building activities to help students learn how to work together to solve problems and learn to respect each other’s talents. Even competing in simple relay races and building construction projects, students understand that the culture of life is not created by just one person. Rather, it takes all of us to end abortion and other threats against human beings.
Learning by example
Students need to see daily reminders of what the culture of life looks like. You can’t simply tell a high school student “Go live the culture of life” and expect him to know how to do that. We must be role models for our students to show them that protecting all human beings from creation until death is tangible and awe-inspiring.
The best way for students to learn about the culture of life is through examples. Euthanasia: An Introduction teaches the vocabulary and rhetoric behind physician-assisted suicide, but it also puts students in the shoes of someone contemplating euthanasia and teaches them how to protect the dignity of the human person in end-of-life issues.
In our upcoming supplement for middle school students entitled Life Is Sacred, we introduce students to pro-life activists and saints who lived as ambassadors of the culture of life in their own time (and within their unique vocations). Any way we can show students how to live the gospel of life helps them build a culture of life.
In all of our supplements and materials, we encourage students to see the culture of life in their own lives and to learn how they can evangelize the pro-life message. Not everyone learns information the same way. If our goal is to inspire students to build a culture of life and to become the next generation of pro-life leaders, we must teach them how to live the pro-life message in ways they can understand.
How do you make the culture of life memorable for your students?
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.