Seven Laws of Teaching

seven laws of teachingOne work that has received significant attention in classical Christian schools is The Seven Laws of Teaching by John Milton Gregory.[1] In this work, Gregory lays out seven laws and explains why they are helpful guidelines for teaching effectively. The work, first published in 1886, predates modern ideas of education and therefore serves as a helpful “return” to what classical Christian educators believe is a more effective style of teaching. We highly recommend the work for those interested in understanding these laws more fully, and I hope to explore each of these laws in more detail in a series on this book this fall. But for now, below is a brief summary of the law and its principle as outlined in the book, as well as some questions to which we would love to hear your answers.

  1. The Law of the Teacher: The teacher must know that which he would teach.
  2. The Law of the Learner: The learner must attend with interest to the fact or truth to be learned.
  3. The Law of Language: The language used in teaching must be common to teacher and learner.
  4. The Law of the Lesson: The truth to be taught must be learned through truth already known.
  5. The Law of the Teaching Process: Excite and direct the self-activities of the learner, and tell him nothing that he can learn himself.
  6. The Law of the Learning Process: The learner must reproduce in his own mind the truth to be acquired.
  7. The Law of Review: The completion, test, and confirmation of teaching must be made by reviews.

What are some examples of how you have put these into practice or seen others do so effectively? Do you have any stories to share? How do you work on improving in these areas?

Check out a related article by Josh Dyson on these seven laws and Psalm 78.

[1]John Milton Gregory, The Seven Laws of Teaching (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2014).

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