“The primary goal of Christian education is the formation of a peculiar people – a people who desire the kingdom of God and thus undertake their life’s expression of that desire.”
James K.A. Smith
TEACHING FOR TRANSFORMATION
By: Darren Lewis - Lead Principal
Several months ago I attended a workshop in which the opening question was: "Why Christian Education?".
At Kelowna Christian we ask parents each year what factors lead them to Kelowna Christian School. I find it encouraging that each year parents affirm through this question that they want a "Christian education" for their child. Sometimes I wonder what a "Christian education" looks like. When I speak with parents it's clear that some of them think it means an education just like the one that occurs down the street at the public school - but with some sort of moral (Christian) foundation. Others think it means that instruction is overtly different, perhaps a math classroom where children are challenged to consider "If five disciples start walking up a hill to meet Jesus - but three of them fall by the wayside, how many disciples meet their Lord?". Truthfully there is Christian curriculum that is this overt.
Getting back to the workshop, ultimately the presenter quoted James K. Smith (a Canadian-American philosopher at Calvin College) who has written several books on the nature of Christian education. I believe (apparently along with both the workshop presenter and Smith) that ultimately we seek something truly unique or peculiar in the Christian school. We aren't seeking simply well educated students who try to live moral lives (although that sounds like a pretty admirable goal), we desire graduates who are truly different - who are peculiar. People who see and respond to the world differently. People who see God's handiwork all around them and desire to accomplish His purposes. Ultimately we want teaching and education that is transformational.
While I was considering how to better accomplish this task, I became aware of a group of Christian educators in Edmonton who were struggling with the same challenge. They wanted to move beyond Christian education that merely affirmed God to one that transformed the student (in a way that built upon the former). To do this they sought to cluster educational experiences around ten "throughlines" - themes that would find expression across both grade and subject.
THE TEN THROUGHLINES
This year (2015-16), we've committed to having ten staff take six days of Teaching for Transformation (TFT) training. This has been one of the benefits we've enjoyed by joining the Society of Christian Schools in British Columbia (SCSBC). A series of training events that would have cost thousands of dollars is now included with our membership. During the coming school year we plan on expanding the cohort of involved teachers, as well as having conversations on how this fits with the new BC Education Plan. Given that they both start with 'big questions', I'm pretty sure there's room for some great stuff there!
As KCS continues to move forward, it's my hope that the Teaching for Transformation initiative will assist us in our mission to form truly "peculiar" students.
KCS in India 2016
“God is sovereign and Jesus Christ is Lord over all things! That is the Biblical truth that must gently whisper and boldly resound in every part, every thread of a Christian school’s curriculum. It must serve as the core curriculum in every Christian school classroom”
Teaching for Transformation Manual