Those who have been part of Illawarra Christian School for a while now will have heard me speak about a biblical worldview, and how nothing in education is neutral.
What does it mean to teach from a Christian perspective?
At enrolment interviews I frequently explain how as a school we seek to teach from a Christian perspective. I may have shared with you examples of this: how war is a result of sin in our world; how in Geography we explore the responsibility we have to be caretakers of God’s earth; how language is a powerful tool God has given us to communicate with, and how it can so easily be used for evil. As a Christian school we seek to understand all content and areas of the curriculum from a Christian perspective, but just as the content we teach is not neutral, neither are the methods we use.
What is taught, the way it is is taught, and the school and classroom climate will shape and form children. The very methods we use to teach children highlight what is and isn’t valued. These in turn subtly (and sometimes not so subtly!) shape the worldview of children as they take on the value and beliefs that underpin what we are doing or practicing. For this reason, an effective Christian school will look beyond just the curriculum and consider seriously the methodologies used by its staff.
The importance of teachers who love to learn
At Illawarra Christian School we acknowledge that excellent teaching is the key to positive student learning. The school is committed to providing high-quality professional learning opportunities for all teachers to support their ongoing development and to build a vibrant learning community. There is a strong learning culture among the staff, who partner with each other as they continually grow to be more effective in their teaching practices.
All teachers observe lessons taught by other staff members, critically reviewing them in order to identify opportunities for growth. All members of staff also participate in the school’s video program, with a lesson filmed to provide opportunity for self-reflection with the support of a facilitator. Students provide feedback to each teacher in surveys designed to assist teachers to understand their strengths and areas for growth.
Throughout 2018 and 2019 all our teaching staff will complete the Certificate of Christian Education – Deliver. This course explores many of the modern and latest educational teaching and learning trends and encourages staff to reflect on them from a biblical perspective. Our teachers need to be critical thinkers as they reflect on all aspects of the educational task from the basis of their understanding of God’s word.