Does Taught = Caught? (curriculum, classroom)

Are we implementing what we say we are doing in our mission statements in Christian schools? What do you think the results would be from your teachers if you asked them to provide you the following information about the implementation and integration of a Biblical perspective in a particular subject area? Michael Essenburg, coach at the Christian Academy of Japan, suggests the following short survey questions:

Take the following survey to make an initial assessment of how well your students understand and use a Biblical perspective of course content. Before taking the survey, select one subject you teach and respond to the survey based on the students in that subject.

(1) ___% of my students, when asked, can readily identify 3 or more Biblical principles and explain how each principle is related to the subject I teach.

(2) ___% of my students, when asked, can readily identify 3 or more Biblical values and explain how each value is related to the subject I teach.

(3) ____% of my students can readily give a 1-3 minute explanation of a biblical perspective of the subject I teach.

(4) ___% of my students when asked for an opinion regarding an issue will respond, “The Bible teaches…” (instead of “I think…”).

Based on your answers, what will you do to help your students?

Possible outcomes of this survey might be: the recognition that greater thought needs to given to how faith and learning are integrated, the setting of a school wide goal for teacher work on integration of faith and learning, or on an individual level the setting of a SMART (Specific and strategic, measurable, attainable, results-oriented, and time-bound) goal with their principal as part of their yearly professional growth plan.

More information on these type of student questions related to Biblical perspective can be found on Michael’s website:
http://closethegapnow.org

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2 Comments

Filed under Biblical worldview, curriculum, distinctively Christian, mission measurement, student assessments

2 responses to “Does Taught = Caught? (curriculum, classroom)

  1. Great thoughts!
    The longer that I am in this whole thing we call Christian education the more important an issue this is becoming to me.
    I see staff members and parents make so many assumptions related to this. My fear is that we assume that if I have said it in our classroom the students were taught it and they should believe it or even more tragically that just because we call ourselves a Christian school students all come out with a Christian perspective.
    We are not dealing with those students today. In fact I am not sure we ever did.
    However, with the cultural diversity and broad spectrum on faiths that are represented in our classrooms, we need to really be intentional and aware of what students are actually processing and making a part of their worldview.
    The world these young people are entering is more complex than ever. The neo-pagan culture surrounds us and is affecting us at every turn. The strength of understanding and determination of a young person to follow a Biblical path is proablay more difficult than ever before. Not knowing the why, and what effect the knowledge they acquire, has on their lives would be, and is, tragic.

  2. I really like this blog and the focus of the articles in this section.

    Your self-assessment questions are very interesting. As a Christian curriculum developer, one thing I have thought about a lot is how Christians can get on the same page regarding core “Biblical Principles” and “Biblical Values” (your terms above). Some schools have overarching principles and values they teach across subjects, others have them intra-subject, and others are simply in the Mission Statement of the school. My theory is that Christian adults can hold these principles and values in their minds and see the connections between different Christian schools’ articulation of them, but that young children cannot–they learn the principles and values their own school teaches almost religiously, like a Code of Conduct. The risk here is fragmentation in the Christian community as the kids grow and have to apply their education to real life. I certainly cherish the independence Christian schools have and would never want them to socialize education like the world has, but as a mass developer I also wish there was some way to centralize the key things we teach. (For example, can the idea of “Christian conscience” be standard for all Christian schools?)

    This seems to strike at the heart of whether there can/should be curriculum for principles and character development at all–a subject you take up elsewhere.

    Lastly, your question about what percent of children begin answers with “The Bible teaches” rather than “I think” is well-aimed but a little silly. Unless you specifically drill them to answer like that, it should probably be ok for them to begin “I think” as long as “the Bible teaches” is evident in the answer. It is simply a normal way to begin answering a question! Good point, though.

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