How We Teach
TEACHING FOR TRANSFORMATION
We believe that God created all things. Even after the fall, which indeed affects and infects all things, creation remains good. Christ's redemptive act touches all things, redirecting them to their God-designed purposes. Someday, all things will be fully restored, but the work of renewal begins now, and we are privileged to be coworkers with God in this process. That's where Teaching for Transformation comes in!
The TfT program, as developed by Prairie Centre for Christian Education and partner schools, provides a frame-work for the development of authentic and integral Christian learning experiences that are grounded in a transformational worldview with a focus on seeing and living out God's story. The TfT program's design practices and tools are being used by over 50 schools worldwide to develop prowerful Christian school learning experiences.
"The primary goal of Christian education is the formation of a peculiar people, a people who desire the Kingdom of God and thus undertake their life's expression of that desire." James K.A. Smith
Our Peculiar Teacher Promise: I can design formational learning experiences that...
- INVITE every student to explore their role in the Kingdom story.
- NURTURE every student to desire to be a peculiar person.
- EMPOWER every student to practice their life's expression.
Our Peculiar Teacher Promise: I can use the 3 W's to sharpen my teaching focus.
- WONDER: Invite students to see God's world with wonder and awe, evoking thankfulness and gratitude.
- WISDOM: Invite students to discover wisdom and a deeper understanding of God's plan and call.
- WORK: Invite students to respond to God's call to work in the world, with action in love to God and our neighbor.
CORE PRACTICE 01: STORYLINE
"And once you live a good story, you get a taste for that kind of meaning in life, and you can't go back to being normal; you can't go back to meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time. The more practiced stories I lived, the more I wanted an epic to climb inside of and see to its end." Donald Miller
Every Christian school classroom must have a powerful and compelling vision of the Kingdom that creates a longing and a desire within every student to play their part in God's unfolding story of creation - fall - redemption - restoration.
TfT believes that every unit and every learning experience tells a story. The TfT program tries, using the story discovered in each unit of study, to create a powerful and compelling image of God's story. The TfT program invites students to imagine his or her place in God's story now. The TfT program does this by connecting the story of each unit with opportunities to tangibly practice living in the grand narrative. Each student and teacher will begin to create a personal "storyline" and articulate how they see themselves living in God's epic drama. What a compelling story to be invited into!
CORE PRACTICE 02: BIBLICAL THROUGHLINES
Every Christian school classroom must have an articulate and inspiring student profile that invites every student to imagine how to play their part in God's story.
What a complex challenge to imagine what it is to be a "peculiar" person in God's story! TfT has identified 10 biblical throughlines to help us imagine who we are as peculiar people. When schools invite students to actively contribute to the formation of Christian culture, we need to challenge each student to develop Kingdom-building characteristics. These biblical throughlines help us all, teachers and students, to understand what our roles are, what our calling is. Throughlines shift the learning focus away from "what" the students need to know, to "who" the student is called to be.
- GOD WORSHIPPER: Students will understand that worshipping God is about celebrating who God is, what God has done and is doing, and what God has created.
- IDOLATRY DISCERNER: Students need to learn to "read" a worldview by asking questions about what is being portrayed in regard to culture, values, and belief systems.
- EARTH KEEPER: Students will respond to God's call to be stewards of all creation.
- BEAUTY CREATOR: Students will create beauty that praises God and enriches our world.
- JUSTICE SEEKER: Students will act as agents of restoration.
- CREATION ENJOYER: Students will celebrate God's beautiful handiwork and give testimony to the presence of God in creation.
- SERVANT WORKER: Students will work actively to heal brokenness and bring joy to individuals and to culture.
- COMMUNITY BUILDER: Students will be active pursuers and builders of community in their classrooms, in their neighborhoods, and in the global village.
- IMAGE REFLECTOR: Students bear the image of God in their daily lives. Being an image bearer isn't something we DO. Image bearer is who we ARE.
- ORDER DISCOVERER: Students see God's masterful planning and His fingerprints all over creation.
CORE PRACTICE 03: FLEX (Formational Learning Experiences)
"It is nothing but a pious wish and a grossly unwarrented hope that students trained to be passive and non-creative in school will suddenly, upon graduation, actively contribute to the formation of Christian culture." Nicholas Wolterstorff
Every Christian classroom must provide authentic (real work, real problem, real people) opportunities for students to practice living the Kingdom story. This practice becomes a habit, shaping who we are.
Wolterstorff suggests, strongly, that students must be given the opportunity to do God's work NOW - to be active and creative in God's story. Meanigful work creates a sense of purpose in their lives, and draws students more powerfully to God's story. As the name suggests, Formational Learning Experiences are designed to form the students' hearts and actions as well as their minds, equipping students to become people who live and breathe God's story. Research and experience suggest that formational learning best emerges from experiences that get at our gut and touch our heart.
James K. Smith writes in Desiring the Kingdom that "Education is not primarily...concerned with providing information; rather, education most fundamentally is a matter of formation, a task of shaping and creating a certain kind of people. These people are distinct because of what they love and desire - the kingdom of God."
For further information about the TfT program, please contact Gayle Monsma, firstname.lastname@example.org
Teaching for Transformation Christian Courier article: Christian Courier "Teaching for Transformation: See the Story, Live the Story"