June 17, 2010

The Seven Laws

I am starting a book called the Seven laws of Teaching by John Milton Gregory. It is recommended to all the teachers that teach at the Logos School in Idaho. This is a Classical Christian School. I purchased the book last year but have just not gotten around to reading it until now. After completing one year of schooling it seems fitting to digest the ideas in the book and see what could be useful for next year. I think I will need a whole summer to chew on this little gem.
It comes with a study guide with essay questions and practical exercises to apply the cool nuggets of truth in the book. John Milton Gregory wrote the book some time around 1919 so he is an old writer with old style words but really timeless helpful hints on teaching. Honestly it is taking my mind a while to get into his style and vocabulary. I hope to be finished with the study guide/essay questions soon and then mull it over a bit before writing about it here. Anyone want to join me??
Just to tantilize you, here are the seven laws......naked and unexplained.
The Seven Laws of Teaching

1. A teacher must be one who knows the lesson or truth to be taught.  (Know thoroughly and familiarly the lesson you wish to teach; or in other words, teach with a full mind and a clear understanding.)

2. A learner is one who attends with interest to the lesson given.
(Gain and keep the attention and interest of the pupils upon the lesson. Refuse to teach without attention.)

3. The language used as a medium between teacher and learner must be common to both. (Use words understood by both the teacher and pupil in the same sense – language clear and vivid alike to both)

4. The lesson to be learned must be explicable in the terms of truth already known by the learner. (the unknown must be explained by the known.)

5. Teaching is arousing and using the pupil’s mind to form in it a desired conception or though. (Use the pupil’s own mind, exciting his self-activities. Keep his thoughts as much as possible ahead of your own, exciting his self-activities.)

6. Learning is thinking into one’s own understanding a new idea or truth. (Require the pupil to reproduce in thought the lesson he is learning – thinking it out in its parts, proofs, connections, and applications till he can express it in his own language.)

7. The test and proof of teaching done – the finishing and fastening process – must be a reviewing, rethinking, reknowing , and reproducing of the knowledge taught. (Review, review, review, reproducing correctly the old, deepening its impression with new thought, correcting false views, and completing the true.)


  1. Teaching is so hard and so fulfilling all at the same time. These 7 laws are a tall order (some of them taller than others). I'll be interested in reading your "Cliff Notes". I'm sorry I am not up to the challenge... at least not yet. I am such a student myself, and leading at the same time. Phew! I've appreciated some of your posts lately & your comment with the reminder of how small my role is in God's "movie".

  2. Thanks Kristi. Mothering all by itself is a tall order. Add teaching to that and it is a God sized job. I am thankful for His presence with us daily. Amazingly He is with you guys as well. When He spoke to me about this home schooling idea a few years back I can still feel the raw fear that took hold of me. I know myself and I knew I was not a good teacher. It has always been the one thing I shun if at all possible. I don't like to fail and I was sure that home schooling would be a daily failing. But I thought I would not be happy with my now husband...you know the story....but I am blissfully happy. When I said I would do home schooling, God promised me he would show me how. This little book is just another stop over in this journey I am on to learn to teach. I hope in this study I will be able to see how it is doable, because most things based upon natural laws are...though complicated at first pass, it may be simple in practice. God willing He will unlock this mystery and show me how to share it. His load is easy and His burden light.