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 view of people as whole beings—body, soul, and spirit, intricately connected—might change the way we teach physical education and include the effect of exercise on our bodies, minds, emotions, and spirits. The overview of seeing anew here will give you examples of a Christian way of viewing life.
For example, in history you might teach the abolition of the slave trade and want to see it in terms of campaigning Christian communities, where people supported each other and depended on each other, rather than lone reformers. This reflects the biblical emphasis on Christian communities acting as a body.
Choosing engagement is about what the students do. It concerns how we engage them with the subject in light of a new way of seeing a lesson, and how we encourage them to engage with us, one another, and the wider world. 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 will give you a range of ways in which students can engage with a new way of seeing a lesson.
For example, students can engage with a range of activities to help them focus on the new emphasis of campaigning communities when studying the abolition of the slave trade. They could research a grass-roots movement, looking at the roles of different social groups, and create a pyramid diagram in groups. They could work together to produce a final presentation with different groups focusing on different aspects of the movement.
Step 3: Reshaping Practice
Reshaping practice is about what the teacher does. It is concerned with bringing classroom habits or practices 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, the way 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 you teach abolition as an example of campaigning Christian communities, you will need to check your questions, tasks, resources, and displays. Do they reflect the new perspective, or do they still focus on lone reformers? Think about what you include and what you leave out. Think about the interaction you could plan for students: Could it reflect a little of the community aspect of the subject matter? Could they collaborate on a single piece of work?
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 other two strategy lists to stimulate your thinking about what you could do to change your practice and how you could engage your students.