Aspire Scholar Academy is founded on the following ideas and principles:
We encourage all parents and mentors to study our foundational resources. See the list . . .
The Power of Principles
A principle is so valuable because it teaches truth. Truth can be applied to any part of your life. If you truly understand a principle, its application to yourself and its consequences, then you are in a place of true freedom to choose. This is a powerful tool to build all knowledge and application upon. If you can secure principles in your education and character then you will have a strong foundation based on God’s truth.
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Why is agency vital to education? The vision of Aspire Scholar Academy is based on the principle of Agency. Here you will ﬁnd a collection of quotes that explain the important role of agency in education and how ASA applies agency-based philosophy.
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Exposure to true principles in a variety of disciplines prepares us to ﬁnd truth in everything around us and we become life-long learners who are interested in truth wherever it is found.
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In his book Increase in Knowledge, Elder Bednar lays out the path from knowledge, to understanding, to intelligence for us. At ASA we are striving to provide an environment where students can travel along that path with support and friendship.
Read more . . .
The Power of Principles
Why Focus on Principles?
“It is worth great effort to organize the truth we gather to simple statements of principle.” –Richard G. Scott, Ensign 1993
“The most important [thing] you can do…is to immerse yourselves in the scriptures. Search them diligently…Master the principles.” –Ezra T. Benson, Ensign, Nov. 1986
A principle is so valuable because it teaches truth. truth can be applied to any part of your life. If you truly understand a principle, its application to yourself and its consequences, then you are in a place of true freedom to choose. This is a powerful tool to build all knowledge and application upon. If you can secure principles in your education and character then you will have a strong foundation based on God’s truth.
We want to not just obtain facts, information, and knowledge. We want to understand and apply truth. Seeking out, studying, and making connections to true principles is the true path to intelligence.
What Are Principles?
“Principles are concentrated truth, packaged for application to a wide variety of circumstances.” This means that a gospel principle usually suggests action as well as the consequences that follow. –Richard G. Scott, “Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge”, Ensign, Nov. 1993, 86
Characteristics of True Principles (Audrey Rindlisbacher)
- Foundational idea upon which behavior is based, it is not the application
- True for all people, all the time
- Creates greater freedom for the individual and society
- Enlightens the understanding, enlarges the soul, expands your mind, brings new connections and ideas.
- Empowers and gives hope
- Increases desire for good–in thoughts, behavior, environment, and relationships
- Generates growth, enlivens
- Increases health and wholeness
- Creates win / win situations
Principles are “guidelines for the righteous exercise of moral agency. Principles provide basic guidelines for behavior and action.” –David A. Bednar, Increase in Learning, p.155
A principle is an enduring truth or rule individuals can adopt to guide them in making decisions. They are universal and help people apply the doctrines of the gospel to everyday living. -Gospel Teaching and Learning handbook (section 2.5)
Examples of True Principles
- You reap what you sow, small and simple things bring about great things, preparation is vital.
- You have a purpose and individual mission in this life.
- Liberty is self-government in Christ
- Passion is suffering for what matters most, being a finisher, commitment, endure to the end.
- Proper Role of Government
- Humility leads to life-long learning.
- Act and not be acted upon.
Education “must be based on freedom – never force.” -Ezra Taft Benson
The vision of Aspire Scholar Academy is based on the principle of Agency. Here you will find a collection of quotes that explain the important role of agency in education and how ASA applies agency-based philosophy.
We must Act and not be Acted Upon in our Education
“As sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, we have been blessed with the gift of agency, the capacity and power of independent action… As learners, you and I are to act and be ‘doers of the word’ (James 1:22) and not simply hearers who are only acted upon. Are you and I truly agents who act and seek to learn, or are we waiting to be acted upon and relying exclusively on other people to teach us? To become and remain spiritually firm, steadfast, and immovable in the world that does now and will exist, we should exercise our moral agency in accordance with true principles and seek learning by patiently and persistently asking, seeking and knocking (see 3 Nephi 14:7).” – Elder Bednar, Increase in Learning, p. 3,4
How ASA applies agency:
Principle: Choosing an education blesses us with the Spirit and we will desire to gain more. The light and truth we gain will cleave unto the light and truth we have (see D&C 88:40). Force often creates resistance to this process. The light that others share encourages this process.
Method: We choose to become members of the scholar group at ASA when we are ready to challenge ourselves to get the education we need. Once we are in the group, we choose our level of engagement. By choosing to participate we agree to prepare for and attend classes.
Using Our Agency to Act Invites the Holy Spirit to Teach Us
Participation allows students to be taught by the Holy Ghost
“When you encourage students to raise their hand to respond to a question, they signify to the Holy Spirit their willingness to learn. That use of moral agency will allow the Spirit to motivate and give them more powerful guidance during your time together. Participation allows individuals to experience being led by the Spirit. They learn to recognize and feel what spiritual guidance is.” (Richard G. Scott, ‘Helping Others to Be Spiritually Led,’ Aug. 11, 1998)
“Parents and leaders should become guides who help young people learn how to find answers for themselves. Youth need to act as agents and properly exercise their agency in order to obtain and retain strong testimonies and to become converted… Ultimately, a learner needs to exercise agency in righteousness and thereby invite the truth into the heart – and thereby seek to obtain the spiritual gift of understanding” (Elder Bednar, Increase in Learning, p. 70)
This same principle applies to gaining knowledge and understanding in all areas.
Correct use of Agency leads to Freedom
Education is a fundamental component of the moral agency God has given to each of his children. “For behold, ye are free,” declared Samuel the Lamanite. “Ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given you a knowledge and he hath made you free” (Helaman 14:30) As we increase our intellectual capacity and learn “things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are abroad: (see D&C 88:79-80), we proportionally increase our ability and effectiveness as God’s agents on earth. Conversely, those who do not responsibly educate themselves, and who instead willingly remain in ignorance, subject themselves to being placed in bondage by others who know and are able to do more…An educated person is more free and able to “act” of his own accord, in contrast to the uneducated person who, more often that not, becomes “acted upon” by circumstances of his environment and whatever limited opportunities he can find. –Latter-day Responsibility, p. 151
From Websters 1828 Dictionary:
AGENCY, n. 1. The quality of moving or of exerting power; the state of being in action; action; operation; instrumentality; as, the agency of providence in the natural world.
EDUCATION, n. The bringing up, as of a child, instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties.
Four Lenses Approach to Learning
What are the four lenses? How do we apply them at ASA?
Principle: Exposure to true principles in a variety of disciplines prepares us to find truth in everything around us and we become life-long learners who are interested in truth wherever it is found. We should use our limited time and resources on the best books, media, and other sources, containing concentrated truth for our profit and learning of in varying disciplines. We also recognize the genius of our parents and youth in the different disciplines and encourage development of those talents and foster an environment where all of us can grow in our divine purposes and mission.
Method: We are exposed to four schools of thought through various classes that allow us to see the world through those different lenses and experience a holistic view of ourselves, others, God, and His creations.
These four lenses are:
- leadership and government
- history and geography
- imaginative literature, music, and art
- math and science
We use classics (books, people, art, nature, other media) to learn in these areas. All our classes teach one or more of these lenses, using classics, to connect principles into one great whole called “truth.”
Acquiring Knowledge, Acting in Understanding, and Becoming Intelligent
Education Is Collecting and Acting upon True Principles
To live higher, happier, more fulfilled lives, we first seek principles and evidence of their truth through our revelation, reasoning, experience, observation and experimentation, and that of others. We then obediently apply those principles to all areas of our lives. This is the true, never-ending cycle of education: seek and find true principles, apply in our lives, become more like God in character, start again. This is our purpose in education.
How Aspire Scholar Academy Applies These Principles
In his book Increase in Knowledge, Elder Bednar lays out the path from knowledge, to understanding, to intelligence for us. At ASA we are striving to provide an environment where students can travel along that path with support and friendship. We offer classes with the purpose of obtaining knowledge through Apprentice classes. Building upon that foundation of knowledge, students can take classes where they use their agency to act which leads to understanding with Journeyman classes. Master classes take the knowledge and understanding that students have gained and allow them to act in righteousness, becoming great in their God-given purposes and missions in life.
Basic learning of facts, information, and abilities obtained through diligent study and experience in all areas of learning. Gather and analyze facts, organize and interpret information, identify patterns and relationships. Obtaining, creating, communicating, and applying knowledge are the overarching objectives of education. p.63
Understanding is added unto knowledge and precedes intelligence. Using agency to act invites the Holy Spirit to teach through revelation. Knowledge certified as true by the Holly ghost yields understanding and produces an illumination, a comprehension, a perspective, and a depth of desire and commitment not obtainable through reason alone. p.68
The righteous application of knowledge and understanding in action and judgement in the development of Godlike character through faithful obedience. We use our moral agency to obtain and act in truth, to become agents who act, rather than objects that are acted upon; we become “doers of the word and not hearers only” (James 1:22). p.70-73
These true principles are from Elder Bendnar’s book, Increase in Learning, with pages noted above where applicable and notes from Vanguard Youth Training 2014, see vanguardnotes.blogspot.com.
- Latter-day Responsibility: Choosing Liberty through Personal Accountability by Connor Boyack (Chapter on Education)
- Increase in Learning – Spiritual Patterns for Obtaining Your Own Answers, by Elder David A. Bednar (Chapter 2: “Knowledge, Understanding, Intelligence”)
- BYU Idaho Learning Model
- “Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge,” by Richard G. Scott
- “A Reservoir of Living Water,” by David A. Bednar
- A Thomas Jefferson Education, by Oliver DeMille
- Vanguard Youth Founding Principles and Applications