What’s the difference between teachers? (classroom)

What is it that teachers in Christian schools do in the classroom that is distinctively different than their public school counterpart down the street? In fall 2003, after spending time with our staff focusing on ways of increasing the integration of faith perspective into their discipline areas, I wondered how the rest of what they did with students could be categorized, described, and made transparent to others. How could we reflect as a staff on this “stuff” so that we could become more aware of, and work to continually improve, what our practice is with our students? (I know I am not the first to raise this question, and hope to hear from you how you have articulated it or what book or Christian education philosopher has aided in your thinking about this question.)

Beyond curriculum (integration of faith perspective by discipline) and community (public, communal acts such as chapel, prayer, Bible reading, etc.) we consider the critical realm of the classroom. (See the post below from January 6 – Describing What is Distinctively Christian about Christian Education to see what I mean by curriculum, classroom, and community) How do the methods, strategies, areas of focus and personal witness employed by the teacher and/or the school encourage the faith of a student? I have developed a model that identifies at least 12 Faith Enhancing Practices that I believe are parts of a distinctively Christian classroom. I hope to begin to explain one or two practices each time I post on this blog in upcoming weeks and months. If you would like more information on the Faith Enhancing Practices model and how to use this model for self-reflection with your staff you can access this information in the Member Community Center under the Curriculum area or send me an email.

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1 Comment

Filed under classroom, distinctively Christian

One response to “What’s the difference between teachers? (classroom)

  1. Donald Oppewal

    Dan: Let me suggest that the language of “distinctively different” from public schools will not get us what we want, in part because much of what teachers do in both systems is alike. If we stress that what we do is “distinctly different” we will then mean that the clarity of how we derive our commitments (from our faith)will make us different, even if given practices (like cooperative learning) would be the same as public school teachers. It what we derive our practices from that makes us different and even distinctive, but not measured by what public school teachers do.
    I think this is more than playing with the language of distinctive and distinctively. What do you think?

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