The approach consists of three steps or phrases that together support a Christian framework for teaching and learning.
Step 1: Seeing Anew
Seeing anew involves seeing or imagining what we teach from a Christian perspective. It entails asking ourselves how a Christian way of viewing life might change our teaching and learning. For example, Christians emphasize different types of riches: riches of friendships, riches of faith, riches of good deeds, riches of a relationship with God. This could lead to a different way of exploring people of the past and other cultures in geography and history. A biblical view of riches frees us to see the riches of many cultures and the poverty of our own culture in some areas. A Christian focus on the world as God’s, with humanity as “earth keepers” on God’s behalf, can change the perspective of an environmental unit from “our world” to “God’s world” The overview of seeing anew here will give you examples of a Christian way of viewing life.
For example, you might see a math lesson in terms of giving rather than getting. Elementary-level modern languages could be about welcoming a new person from another country rather than shopping or being a tourist. These small changes put teaching and learning in a different framework.
Step 2: Choosing Engagement
Choosing engagement is about what the students do. It concerns how we engage students with the subject in light of a new way of seeing a lesson. This stage is about the opportunities students have to participate and includes the experiences and activities they encounter, the ideas they are asked to reflect on, and the issues they are led to wrestle with. It involves ideas they discuss, connections they make between faith and life, and opportunities for practicing what they have learned. The overview of choosing engagement here will give you a range of ways in which students can engage with a new way of seeing a lesson.
For example, if a math lesson moves the emphasis from getting to giving, then activities will be needed that engage students in thinking about giving and generosity; that could be the questions they are asked to consider, the role play they engage in, or the stories of giving they are led to focus on. It could include the opportunities students have in your math class to think and talk about giving, and whether there are any ways for them to connect this with their own choices outside the classroom.
Step 3: Reshaping Practice
Reshaping practice is about what the teacher does. It is concerned with bringing classroom habits or practice into line with Christian beliefs and values, guided by a new way of seeing a lesson. It includes concrete choices such as the questions we ask, how we arrange the layout of the room, what we test, and what we show is important by our behavior. The overview of reshaping practice here will give you examples of ways in which practices can be adjusted.
For example, if a math lesson focuses on giving rather than getting, the teacher needs to adjust the displays and resources such as worksheets. Giving might become part of an outcome at the planning stage and part of the evaluation. Old assessment sheets will need checking in case they revert to questions based on getting.
Take a lesson you already teach but would like to change. Think about a way of seeing that lesson from a Christian perspective. Click here for a source of ideas for this. Use the strategy lists from the two other steps above to stimulate your thinking about what you could do to change your practice and how you could engage your students.