Cavalier Feature: Going the Distance

Whether distance teaching or teaching while students are physically distanced, our staff has continued to take up the mantle and mission of CVC: to equip and inspire hearts and minds to transform the world for Christ. Check out some examples of excellent education that have recently been executed!

Mrs. Kornelis and the Cave of Wonders

For this lesson, we went back a few millennia to explore Plato’s Cave Allegory found in Book VII of Republic. Students entered a dimly-lit room with a fire blazing in the distance. They found their way to an individual, COVID guidelines-friendly cave facing a blank wall. Finding their way to the cave was a challenge with their eyes being used to the light, but gradually they adjusted to the darkness. They began to identify shadows flickering on the wall as they learned about life in the cave. Students were to imagine that they had been born in this cave and were prisoners shackled to the walls so they could only face forward. Before them shadows would pass by that would display various figures and objects. Their task would be to identify the shadows, and they learned to love them since this was all they knew. One day a prisoner’s chains fell off and they were able to make it out of the cave. When the prisoner makes his way outside, the light is blinding and painful. He is dazed and can only see the shadowy areas well. Then, gradually, his eyes adjust and he learns that his life in the cave was severely lacking. He now experiences color, texture, depth, and the beauty of the outside world and desires to show his fellow prisoners the truth of the real world. But when he returns to the cave, his eyes are no longer used to the darkness so the prisoners think he has returned blind. He tries to convince them to come outside, but they don’t believe him and choose to stay with the shadows that they know and love.

Students were at first disoriented and uneasy stepping into the darkness, but the experience allowed them to see the reality that sin distorts the truth and distracts us from the light. Students later reflected on the story and identified areas in their lives where they are distracted by shadows rather than the truth. 

We then discussed the ways that this story relates to the nature of sin that can chain us up and distort things. We often look at creations and love them rather than our Creator. When we step into the light, which is God’s truth, we see things as God would have us see them, in color and beauty and truth. We pledged that we would engage this world and discern the places where we are loving shadows and seek to live “The Good Life” by choosing to live in the light of Christ. C.S. Lewis sums up the point well when he writes, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it but because by it, I see everything else.”

This was a lesson I have been thinking about for about a year when I created my deep hope “that we engage language and literature in order to discern and live “The Good Life” that God calls us to.” My class theme is “The Good Life,” and we take every opportunity to discern whether the content we are looking at are true representations of things the way God would have us see them or if they are merely shadows of things that have been distorted by sin. I wasn’t initially planning on creating individual caves, but it turned out well, and the smaller class size was actually ideal. Since this lesson, our conversations have been richer and deeper having the language and symbolism of this story to utilize. 

Others might not want to join us because they are accustomed to the shadows, but we know that it is worth the struggle to adjust to the light. Are you willing to step out of the cave with us?

deep hope: a Teaching for Transformation term that helps teachers identify what they ultimately want to give their students through their lessons. It builds the framework and becomes a guiding principle through which a teacher measures their methods. Learn more about this Christian school curriculum method at teachingfortransformation.org


Do you wish your teachers cared for your students in the same way that you do? Do you have a deep hope to partner with a school to bring the joy of Christ to your children? Apply today!

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