Is the picture in balance?

Do your teachers know Piaget, Kohlberg, and Erikson better than Cavaletti, Stonehouse, Fowler, and Dean? Are your teachers as equipped to nurture student faith as they are to help students reach academic success? Do your teachers possess a common foundation in distinctively Christian philosophy and classroom practices that nurture faith? Do you believe that a high quality faith-integrated, truth-revealing curriculum is the highest need in schools that bear the name Christian?

Do you have a plan to equip your teachers to nurture faith? Perhaps a start is take 5 minutes at your next faculty meeting, ask them how they have been equipped in the two ways shown below, and then discuss the results.

Equipping for Academic Instruction -List the top 5 ways your teachers have been equipped to help students reach academic success. young-male-teacher

Equipping for Faith Nurture  – List the top 5 ways your teachers have been equipped to encourage student faith development.



Filed under distinctively Christian, leadership, mission measurement, staff development

19 responses to “Is the picture in balance?

  1. pete post

    Thank you for another stimulating article. Working with pre-service teachers at a Christian college this is a challenge for our faculty as well. I am going to ask my students in SPED 216 – Introduction to Special Education to consider what they are learning right now and try to list their own top 5 by reflecting on what they have already studied or even HOPE to learn in their college experience. I look forward to reading their responses to this blog suggestion.
    Prof Pete Post
    Trinity Christian College

    • I believe that in order for me to succeed to my highest expectations, I need devoted teachers willing to help me. I want my professors to have the same passion I wish to have when I become an educator. If I really feel that passion and dedication from them, it will most definitely rub off onto me! Positive people reflect onto others well being. While taking classes at Trinity, I hope to have professors who have a deep love for the subject and content matter in which they are teaching. Real life examples in class are crucial for me to really understand and believe what I am trying to learn. Also, which is something new to me as a transfer student from a community college, is opening class with a prayer. Words of great wisdom is a really great way to start off class. I am thankful for this.

    • Jami Stinson

      I have to admit that although I am in a teacher education program at a Christian College, I don’t know who Cavaletti, Stonehouse, Fowler, and Dean are but I know Piaget, Kohlberg, and Erikson quite well. I am deluged with information on helping my future students succeed academically, socially, psychologically – but not spiritually. Since I plan on working in a public school when I graduate, I hadn’t even noticed the hole in my education until your article brought my attention to it.

      At the same time, the comments from fellow students remind me that even though a topic is not overtly taught, we can and do learn from watching our teachers’ examples. As they nurture our faith through prayer and Christian perspectives on issues, we can learn through imitation to do the same for our students.

      My Top 5 Academic:
      1. Recognizing that each child is unique.
      2. Methods & materials for reaching different types of learners.
      3. Knowledge of content to be taught.
      4. Providing an encouraging and equitable environment for learning.
      5. Experience in the classroom (teacher-aiding).

      Top 5 Spiritual:
      1. Biblical content
      2. Philosophy class (surprisingly relevant and helpful to my own spiritual and academic growth)
      3. Don’t you think we ought to have some kind of methods for teaching Bible somewhere in here? I remember Sunday School and I’ve aided in a Christian School and they did not make learning about God interesting or relevant.
      4. What about a discussion in one of our teacher ed classes about how to encourage a child spiritually or how to handle discussions of religion when you happen to teach in a public school? What is allowed or not allowed?
      5. ??

  2. Sarah Lau

    I believe this is a good idea but at the same time why don’t we integrate the questions together. For example, After asking the question “what are we equipped with academically and with Christian faith?”, why not ask “How are you working toward the furtherance of academic success and Christian faith in the classroom?” By asking first what we have and then how do we use it, we open windows of opportunity. These two areas of knowledge should never be separated, they belong together and they help each other, God created them to be this way. When we separate them it is like separating church and state and we have seen throughout history why that wasn’t good.

  3. Becky Norgard

    This is my first year at Trinity Christian, I am a transfer for a community college.
    All my professors are pretty different in the way they teach. I like how some of them start class off by asking if anyone has any prayer requests, and then open in a word of prayer. I find it wonderful when a teacher takes time out of the craziness of the day to thank the Lord for all He has given to us!

    I am finding that all my professors seem to have a lot of expereience in the field that they teach. Not only in the classroom, but “field” expereience also. I find that to be very interesting, and helpful as they share past experience with us students.

    I think it is important for professors to remind students that they aren’t just teaching on some subject that they dont really care about, but they are teaching about something that they love, and live for… and I can see that through the professors here at Trinity.

    My Top 5 accademic =

    1. Expereience
    2. Love for the subject
    3. Dedication
    4. Don’t just read something, learn it!
    5. Don’t rush through something just to get it done.

    My Top 5 Faith Nurture:
    1. Prayer
    2. Asking for prayer requests
    3. Starting class with a short devotion
    4. How they talk in the classroom
    5. Personal stories that they share with class.

    • Ashley Miedema

      While at Trinity Christian College, I am being equipped to teach my future students academics and nurture their faith. I am learning how to teach them academics by watching my professors and following their example. I am learning from them, and if I follow some of the same approaches, I will be able to teach my future students. I am also learning how to teach academics by researching, listening to lectures, and interacting with others. All three of these experiences are building up my supply of resources that I will be using when I teach. Student teaching will also allow me to observe teachers and interact with children. That experience will equip me for my profession of teaching. If I am equipped to become a great teacher, I will be able to help my students achieve academic success.
      I am also learning how to nurture my future students’ faith in some of the same ways. One of the main ways again is through observing my professors and the things that they do to nurture my faith. Their daily actions, such as praying in class and sharing their Christian opinion, nurture my faith and show me that their lives are centered on Christ. I also am learning how to nurture my students’ faith by listening to how my professors tie faith issues into the lessons and by writing papers that require me to apply my faith to what I am learning. By attending a Christian college, I am able to observe people and attend events that focus on Christ. Both of these things cause me to think about my life and the fact that I will be an example to my future students. Teachers need to set a good example of a Christian life since they are molding the minds of the future generations. In order to teach my students that Christ needs to be the center of their lives, I need to make that a priority in my life and classroom. Being at a Christian college has taught me this and has nurtured my faith so that I am equipped to nurture the faith of others.

      • Kevin Kenealy

        So far, I would say that my teachers have a good combination of academic and spiritual instruction. With the exception of attending Lutheran Sunday school, I have been instructed in public school all of my life; so I am still getting used to this Christian education.

        I think there needs to be a good balance between the academic and the spiritual and so far, I have somewhat enjoyed what I have experienced. The subjects are taught without too much emphasis on seeing the topics through a Christian lens but at the same time, instructors show the importance of a Christian education by taking the time out for prayer.

        That being said,

        Top 5 ways teachers have been equipped to help me reach academic success
        1) Experienced
        2) Passionate
        3) Pro active
        4) Patient
        5) Enthusiastic

        Top 3 ways teachers have encouraged faith development
        1) three out of my four teachers have conducted prayer in the classroom
        2) one of the other teachers has made parallels to the lesson plan with Bible scripture
        3) they encourage you to go to chapel

        Remember I said I somewhat enjoyed it. I think teachers here could relate material a little bit more to Christianity. I don’t think it should be overwhelming, but I think it would be nice if a professor stopped here and there in a lesson and asked how this can be seen from a Christian perspective. That’s all though; overall, I’m content with the approach here.

  4. Dave Byma

    I believe that this would be a good idea to do. While I am attending Trinity Christan College I am being equipped to help my future students succeed. While I am being taught this through lectures and different activities I am also observing my Professors to see how they respond to the class and how they interact with the class. I have noticed their passion for the subject they teach, the love for the class and how they are willing to help whenever they are needed, and how they will continue to explain a topic if people are struggling to understand it even if it puts the class a little behind schedule.
    I have been in a Christian school my whole life and no matter what grade I was in the teachers always integrated their faith into the class and helped up to expand and develop our own faith. Even now I am being challenged to grow and develop my faith, which is still young, and to learn how to use my faith and experience to encourage me future students and hopefully teach them as much as I learn from them.

    • Abigael Suarez

      I was educated in a public school from kindergarten through high school. So when I arrived at Trinity Christian College, teachers integrating their faith I’m the classroom, was a new thing for me. Learning from the examples I’m given by my professors I’ve learned that what you do in the classroom and the way you show your faith is very important to students. As teachers we are role models for our students. My professors make me feel that I’m just as important to them as they are to me. My professors have helped me grow spiritually and as a teacher I hope to help my students do the same thing.

      The top 5 ways I have been equipped to help students reach academic success.

      1. When I become a teacher I will be highly knowledgeable in my field of teaching.
      2. I have learned how to best educate a variety of students.
      3. I have learned how to be creative in the way I teach, this will help to engage my students in learning.
      4. When I am done with my schooling I will have had six semesters worth of teaching experience.
      5. I have learned how to set appropriate goals for my students and how to help my students reach these goals.

      The top 5 ways I have been equipped to encourage student faith development.

      1. I will be able to share my stories about my faith with my classroom.
      2. If my students have a question about something in the bible I will be able to help them.
      3. I relies the importance of prayer and devotion in a classroom.
      4. I understand that not everybody is at the same place in their development of faith and should be taught accordingly.
      5. I know that God is in control and I need to depend on him when it comes to not only my students faith development, but my own.

      • Mellody Avila

        I also have been educated in public schooling since Pre-School. I was very excited to be entering a school where my faith is part of the curriculum. I believe that the teachers teaching at christian schools should hold a foundation of the christian faith, and I do believe it is a very important part of the schooling. I think as teachers you should be equipped with the ability to understand a student, be patient with your students,and be caring with your students because in some cases you may be the only person who truly cares. As far as in the classroom, the teachers connect different parts of the lessons with the bible. Some teachers at Trinity open up the class in prayer, which I think is nice. I believe that when someone is truly saved, you can see God working in their life. So through some of the teachers I have, a student can tell that God has really done something for them. I believe seeing your teacher with great faith sometimes pushes you to want the same.

  5. Allison Stoub

    Throughout my 16 years of schooling, I have never been without a Christian education. I believe that my teachers as I was growing up were well equipped in nuturing their students in the Christian faith. Everything we did academically in the classroom was somehow integrated with our Christian faith. When we have Christian written in our school name, I fully agree that there is a great need for a high quality faith-integrated, truth-revealing curriculum. People who come to our schools can tell that there is a different atmosphere throughout the students and faculty. Every teacher has a different way of integrating the Christian faith throughout the academics. Not only do they have their own ways, but their principal above them also has ways to train their teachers. I don’t believe that I can pinpoint 5 ways that my teachers were trained to help out the students academically or through faith. Academically is pretty obvious though. They know what it is like to go through school. They make themselves available for any special help that the students might need. Helping students to grow spiritually in their faith is on a personal level from the teacher. I think that students have to have enough respect for the teacher in order to take anything they say from them seriously. When you are talking about faith you have to have a very personal comfortable relationship with the teacher. The last main point of training the teacher in faith development depends on their own personal relationship with God. How are they supposed to help the students grow in their faith if their faith is only 1 layer deep.

  6. Tom Clason

    Coming from a community college to TCC I believe the teachers that share their faith make a bigger impact on students. Starting off the class with the word of God makes the day run smoothly. I have come from a small public school setting and a local community college, and it wasn’t until I came to this Christian School that I felt part of a community. I believe the more a teacher can share with students the better the education will be.

    4.Bringing Excitement to the class
    5.Recent Topics

    Faith Development
    1.Showing Faith in Lessons
    3.Asking for Personal Prayers
    4.Sharing Stories
    5.Backing With Scripture

  7. Ashley Wheeler

    As I was growing up, I went to public school as well as private school. When I first started attending the private school, I found that the teachers were well prepared to integrate religion into our everyday school subjects. As a student, I enjoyed seeing all of the different ways that they could integrate the Bible into our studies. Throughout the time that I am at Trinity, I am learning how to integrate many things into teaching, but one of the major things I am learning is how to integrate scripture and the Christian belief into learning. This can be used in both public and private schools. As I was doing some reading for a different class, it talked about how without talking about God, you can have students appreciated the world around them. By doing this, you are teaching them to love the World that has been created for us. Of course this is easier to do in the private school setting, because that is part of the curriculum but if you are teaching in the public school, you can still learn how to show the beauty of everything.

    5 ways my teachers have been equipped to help students reach academic success.

    1. Confidence in the subject
    2. Love of the subject
    3. Enthusiasm
    4. Dedication
    5. Patience

    5 ways my teachers have encouraged student faith development.

    1. Prayer
    2. Scripture Reading
    3. Living out their faith
    4. Encouraging me everyday in my Walk with the Lord
    5. How they relate their own lives to the Bible

  8. For me, coming to Trinity for Special Education as already brought so many great things for me now and for the future. For one thing it has to do with our Professors. For me to be able to succeed as a teaching I need to be taught by Professors who have these five qualities in mind: They need to have an experience for me to be able to follow their example, their dedication not only to the subject matter but also to do the very best they can for each student, for patience and understanding, enthusiasm, and lastly creativity to set them apart from others. I believe that God has blessed us with those Professors here at Trinity and I think that by learning through their example that one day that I can have the same qualities and share that with my students.
    I also believe that they encourage student faith development. Because of my Professors faith shared in the classroom, I hope one day that I can share my faith with my students. I hope to have prayer and devotions to start the morning because I feel like it is a great thing to start the day off with. I also want to ask for prayer requests because I feel that as a classroom we will learn understand this way and also build a community with one another. I also felt it was great when my past teachers related bible stories into my lesson because it showed that God was not only in church or in devotions but in everything that we do. Lastly I would like to share my own story of faith because then my students can see how faith works in lives and also understand me as a person clearer.

    5 ways my teachers have been equipped to help students reach academic success.

    5 ways my teachers have encouraged student faith development.
    -Prayer Requests
    -Relating Bible stories to lesson plans
    -Sharing my own story of Faith.

  9. Erika Huizenga

    From preschool and all the way to college, I have been blessed to have had the opportunity of receiving an education from a Christian school. It wasn’t until my freshman year in college, at a public college, that I realized how much I loved having my faith interweaved in all of my courses.
    As a future teacher, I would really love to be a Christian school elementary art teacher. This is my goal and my dream, but I would also love to be a Christian school elementary teacher.
    Here are the top 5 ways I want to have been equipped with to help future students reach academic success:
    1. Knowing what is being taught
    2. Equity
    3. Showing my love for the subject
    4. Getting students interested
    5. Patience
    Not only is being equipped with ways to help students reach academic success important, but encouraging student faith is as well, even in public schools. In public schools, you can encourage student faith by studying different types of religion.
    If I am in a Christian school, my top 5 ways I want to have been equipped with to encourage student faith development:
    1. Daily devotions with the students every morning.
    2. Share my love of God’s creations with the students.
    3. Show God’s love through my actions and be a positive role model for my students.
    4. Ask the students what God is doing in their lives or what they have seen in there day that shows that God is real.
    5. Know that God is in control and that you can’t make someone believe in him but that you can pray for them.

  10. Kristina Patrick

    As a sophomore student at Trinity Christian College, I have been able to experience varying teaching styles. Some professors are more inquisitive towards the opinion of the student. While others are more laid back and waiting for the opinion to come out in a paper or project. The one consistent characteristic between all of the professors is that they will passionately encourage a student. Are they equipped to nurture a student? Yes in every way possible whether it is academically or spiritually. They are always willing to bend and stretch to accommodate a problem, or help search for a solution. This teaching style is also beginning to rub off on me; being an elementary ed major it reminds me of things that I can remember to do for my future students.

    Equipping for Academic Instruction:
    1-Past Experience

    Equipped for Faith Nurturing:
    4-Hope for the future

  11. Jamie King

    I feel that faith has a huge importance here at Trinity. I grew up in a public education system, and there talking about faith was taboo. It was all about academics, nothing else. Now that I am enrolled at Trinity, I feel that our faith, and glorifying God through our grades is more important. Throughout the curriculum, our faith and how we go about our academics is just as important as our academic achievements. I feel that as a teacher our students might not remember what we teach them, but they will definately remember how we teach them. I think faith is crucial in academics because we need to realize that it is not all about jsut getting good grades, but our main focus is to follow God and go where He is leading us. If we are too focused on ourselves and what we want, we will lose sight of this

  12. Jessica Jager

    I appreciate this article. I believe that faith should be an important part of teaching in a Christian school and is something that should be included daily. As a student at Trinity Christian College I am thankful for my teachers that take the time to pray and take prayer request and genuinely demonstrate a deep rooted faith in the manner that they teach. They are not only great examples for me as I learn how to become a teacher, but they make an impact on my life outside of the classroom. When I am a teacher, I would like to take on the same role in my classroom. By showing my students the importance of faith in my life it will hopefully encourage them to make it a priority in their own life. Also, I believe that demonstrating faith shows love. Often students feel more comfortable in a classroom where Christ’s love in shown. I will strive to create a classroom, whether in a private or public school, that demonstrates God’s love.

  13. Rob Dominguez

    I am coming from a community college. Now that i am at TCC i see a whole new type of teaching and learning. When the lord is in your hearts while presenting any kind of information to your students, i feel there is much more too it. I feel a much greater passion than i ever have before and i can honestly say its because i see how helpful and caring the professors are here at TCC.

    My Top 5 Academic

    1 Remembering that every student is unique and different

    2 Staying patient

    3 Understanding my lesson content

    4 keeping my lessons lively and full of humor!!

    5 Keeping the lord in my heart every single day!!!

    5 ways my teachers have encouraged student faith development

    1 Bringing prayer to the classroom

    2 Reading scripture during class

    3 Using biblical references in real life situations

    4 encouraging us to go to chapel

    5 living out a christian life in the classroom

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