As Christian educators we are always on the lookout for authentic ways to make it more likely that our Christian faith will be integral to our teaching and learning. We want to avoid the bookends or the icing on the cake.
As one way to address that concern, I want to explore in this and future posts an approach described and illustrated on a site called ‘What if Learning.’ In a Powerpoint on the site, the authors use the image of “a triple chocolate cake” to illustrate “where Christianity influences the ethos, the content of the curriculum, AND the teaching and learning.” Check it out.
The site is intentionally built around concrete examples of elementary and secondary teachers connecting their Christian faith with their teaching using three great strands of Christian thought and action – faith, hope, and love (I Corinthians 13:13).
Each example includes:
- A brief commentary explaining how it connects with a Christian understanding of faith, hope and love.
- A brief explanation of how it connects with the ‘What If Learning’ approach.
- Suggestions for how you could create more examples like it.
- Hints for digging deeper into some Christian ideas that might illuminate the example.
A glance at a few of the titles of the examples (102 in all) gives you a glimpse of the ‘What if Learning’ approach:
The ‘What if Learning’ approach uses three steps in designing teaching and learning – seeing anew, choosing engagement, and reshaping practice. The intent of the steps is to underline a “concern with how teaching and learning happen, not just with what content gets taught and when certain Christian words and ideas feature in the curriculum.” These steps are meant to serve as aids in focusing on some key points of contact between Christianity and the way we teach. More on these ‘steps’ in future posts. In the meantime, I encourage to explore a few of the examples.
elaine brouwer, director of alta vista