Hallway Conversation Opens Reality of Hillcrest Experience

This week our network administrator visited principal Isaac’s office to update him on the school network. In the course of conversation the network administrator shared some of the conversations he’s had with students around Hillcrest. He later sent the link for the video below as the two shared how Hillcrest’s hallways are buzzing with important conversations and issues that students are tackling. The video link was sent as they talked about the counter-cultural environment at Hillcrest, where students aren’t saturated with screens, but engage ideas and people in the hallways.

The link to the video highlighted something in social science that we visit on regularly at Hillcrest. The concept is known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. In 1999 two social psychologists, David Dunning and Justin Kruger noticed that the less someone knows about a concept the more confident they are in their opinion. However, their study found that as a person gains more experience and knowledge in a concept their confidence level evens out until they become an expert in the concept. When a person is an expert through information and experience, their confidence level increases nearly to the point of confidence they had when they were ignorant on the topic. Their research shows that ignorance holds the most confidence, but experience and knowledge unveil complexities that humble and drive to deeper understanding.

This concept reflects a study by the Center for Bible Engagement (CBE) from 1999 that we reference at Hillcrest. The CBE study analyzed how consistent Bible engagement impacts people. They found “that a lack of scriptural engagement produces several consequences. Disengagement from God’s word has left American believers ignorant of basic Bible facts and truths, vulnerable to false teachings, and, in many cases, spiritually immature...those who read the Bible at least four times a week are less likely to engage in behaviors such as gambling, pornography, getting drunk, and sex outside marriage.”

For many teenagers the Dunning-Kruger effect is active. They believe they know how the world should operate. They are tempted to engage in destructive behaviors. At Hillcrest we see our role as adults as not only giving direction and guidance, but instruction on why destructive behaviors are not beneficial.

Students need to see a full picture of what life is designed for. In a holistic explanation of the world, starting with God’s specific and unique creation of the world and humankind, students see that life isn’t a series of random chances, but that their participation in the world has consequences. In studying Biblical history they begin to see the characteristics of those who devote themselves to building familiarity and personal relationship with God. As they read the Gospels they directly see the love of God displayed in his redeeming humankind from separation from Himself by sin. As students grow more experienced and knowledgeable in the design God has for them they grow from their juvenile confidence in the world to a purposed and well-reasoned life as they become experts in God’s design for the world.

Principal Isaac’s conversation with Hillcrest’s network administrator led to a prayerful appreciation of the place students learn and grow at Hillcrest. Sometimes it is easy to grow distracted by people not living rightly. However, our network administrator told principal Isaac that the conversations he’s been around in our cafeteria, in the Student Union, at Basketball games, and in his other interactions on campus have been filled with thoughtful and challenging topics and arguments. Our students really are working out their faith at Hillcrest, and they’re doing it in a setting that pushes them to daily Bible engagement.

Our students spend more than the minimum level of engagement recommended by the CBE. From seventh grade until graduation our students have nearly 7,000 hours of Bible engagement. Hillcrest is for many a capstone experience that completes 10,000 hours of Bible training students receive from birth to their graduation from Hillcrest. 10,000 hours has been referenced as a benchmark for expertise. Many families find that Hillcrest provides significant training for their young person to become an expert in a Biblical way of living. We are honored to so many families see Hillcrest as so much more than a diploma.

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