Some people leave an imprint on us that stays with us forever. If I ask you to take a couple of minutes to identify a teacher who has marked your life, you may recall a teacher whom you remember fondly; or you may evoke the memory of a teacher who marked your life in a negative way. Herein lies the relevance of teaching: in the power we have to impact the lives of those we are educating. One way to impact our students’ lives is through educational supports, which can completely change the learning experience of our students.
Educational supports are the set of actions that teachers carry out as a way to attend to diversity and to the special educational needs of their students. Using educational supports helps them to achieve their learning objectives in a way that works for their cognitive, physical, and psychosocial reality. Thus, it is not surprising that the divine Master applied educational supports to positively impact the lives of His students.
Jesus used parables to attend to the special needs of his students, of whom He said, “Seeing they do not see and hearing they do not hear or understand” (Matthew 13:13), so that it was easier for them to understand his words.
He fostered meaningful learning experiences through reflective questions that directed the minds of the listeners to new and profound discoveries, such as on the occasion when He was asked about the way to inherit eternal life. After relating the parable of the Good Samaritan, He asked which of the three men had been the neighbor of the one who was wounded. His questions allowed them to understand the true meaning of compassion.
He also used more direct teaching. For example, when the doctors of the law questioned him about the payment of tribute, he took the coin and asked them, “Whose image and inscription is this?”, “Caesar’s,” they replied, and he said, “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s” (Mark 12:16-17).
There are many other examples of how Jesus impacted his students by providing educational supports, but the most relevant is that Jesus adapted his teachings to all audiences. As Ellen G. White wrote: “Using a variety of illustrations, He not only presented the truth in its different phases but spoke to the hearts of the various hearers…No one who listened to the Savior could feel neglected or forgotten.”
This is what educational support is all about: teaching as Jesus did so that we positively impact the lives of those to whom we have been assigned. It is about being an instrument of blessing for our students, keeping in mind, as Matthew 25:40 says, that whatever we do for them, it is as if we were doing it for Jesus, the Divine Teacher.