Null Curriculum and Biblical Integration

The biggest decision a teacher makes concerning a class is: What do I leave out? Think about American History, for example. A complete American History would include everything that has happened in America. Obviously, that is too much for any one class, any sequence of classes, or any person. So, the teacher needs to decide what to leave out of the course. The teacher needs to decide what is not important enough to include. Every teacher has to determine the null curriculum.

This decision should be made thoughtfully and with intentionality. However, that does not always happen — especially concerning biblical integration.

Every subject/unit/idea is grounded in biblical truth. Everything that exists does so for God’s glory. Therefore, biblical integration should never be in the null curriculum. We should not run out of space for biblical integration. Why? Because the content exists for God’s glory. 

When we disintegrate — place biblical integration in the null curriculum — we are conveying the message that it is not as important as what is in the overt curriculum. When we don’t assess biblical integration, it shows students that it’s not worth remembering. When we don’t invest time and resources in biblical integration, it sends the message that other things are more valuable.

Now, please note that this is not an encouragement to replace academic content with biblical content. Instead, it is a challenge to ground  your academic content in, and aim it toward, God’s glory. I’ve said this before, but it makes the point well: We would not teach Macbeth without talking about Shakespeare, so why would we teach God’s creation without mentioning Him? Let’s be intentional about what we leave out. Let’s choose a proper null curriculum.

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