Bob Moore, principal at John Calvin Christian School in Guelph, Ontario follows up his post of 12/17 with some specific examples of the kinds of student outcomes we seek in Christian education. Thanks again, Bob, for sharing!
The best way of measuring how we are doing is to watch the students. As it happens we have chapel every other week, and one of the things we do at the end of each chapel is to report back to the students about which students we have seen implementing our theme “From head to heart to hands and feet.”
Some of the boys in grade 6 got us off to a good start by demonstrating in a chapel what it would look like if they only responded to an injured friend with their head, and then re-enacted the scene with the head and their heart, and then re-enacted it again with their head, and heart and hands and feet. While I was watching this, I realized that Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan was pretty much teaching us the same thing. The priests and Levites saw the suffering of the robbers’ victim, but they didn’t respond with mercy or justice. When the Good Samaritan came, he saw, and he responded with his heart, hands and feet.
Here are some of the reports we have given at chapel: During a grade 7 computer class, a number of students were having difficulty following the assignment. The teacher was quite busy trying to help this one and that one, but couldn’t possibly get to all of the students who needed help. One student, Brody, was already well into, and almost done, the assignment. When he heard his classmates getting more and more frustrated, he stopped his work and went to help them with theirs. He could have ignored them. He knew that as soon as his assignment was done, printed off and approved, that he was going to be able to have some free time on the computer, but he knew that his knowledge could be used to help others, and put his own immediate goals aside.
Another report that we gave concerned an event that took place in the hallway between grade 2 and grade 4. Matthew came struggling in with his book bag and his half-opened lunch bag and his hockey stick and, oops, he dropped his lunch bag. His recess and lunch goodies rolled all over the hallway. Some of the students probably felt bad for Matthew, but one actually came over and helped him pick stuff up. When Ms. Blydorp commended Jacob, he replied, “Isn’t this what we are supposed to do?”
One of the youngest boys to get caught doing something good is a student in grade one. One day, I stepped into the boys’ washroom to check up on some unnecessary noise. I noticed that some of the boys had changed for gym class and had left their clothes dangerously close to the toilets. The younger boys were easily stepping over and around them, as though they were used to it. I started picking up a few things to put them in a safer place. As I took an armful towards the coat hooks, Jared also picked up a pair of shoes and a T-shirt, and brought them over to shelf. He could have adapted in the same way as all of his classmates, but when he saw that I had a concern, he shared it, and responded in a helpful manner.
The most recent report followed a Scholastic Book Fair held at the school. All of the students were invited to put their names in a draw for a $25 gift certificate. Most of the students were eager to put their names in, and eager to see whose name was drawn. There were not only lots of fascinating books from which to choose, but also lots of colourful school supplies and knick-knacks that could be used to entertain oneself in class (Oops! Did I say that?) When Sam’s name was drawn, his first thought was not for all the books and toys. He responded by finding his brother and sister to ask them what they would like when he chose his prize. Obviously, Sam could have spent the prize on himself, but he knew better. It wasn’t enough that he knew better; he did better.
It really does make a difference when a Christian school sets biblical expectations for it students, and makes a point of honouring those students who are living up to the expectations of letting knowledge move from head to heart to hands and feet.