Biblical Worldview will be a the focus of professional development at Southside Christian School, EE-12, during the 2016-2017 school year. We launched this effort with a workshop on Monday-Tuesday, July 25-26, 2016. The workshop facilitator was Joe Neff, former administrator at Little Rock Christian and author of The Three Loves. If you are interested in my summary of the workshop, please read on. . . .
“The Three Loves”
By Joe Neff
Southside Christian School
Simpsonville, South Carolina
Summary Notes of and Editorializing by Dr. Bob Stouffer, Upper School Principal, Southside Christian School, Simpsonville, South Carolina
Monday, July 25, 2016
I have heard incredible things about Southside Christian.
I’m impressed by what God has done here.
I watched Dr. Barfell’s website video with his vision, and that content excited me.
I’ve enjoyed trying to work through a lengthier presentation to help you infuse The Three Loves into your lives and your students’ lives.
One of my big goals is to actually do biblical worldview with you, as I am teaching about biblical worldview to you.
Today is about catching the idea. Tomorrow is about application and what your needs are.
When I talk about biblical worldview, the definition can be messy. The Gospel, for instance, has been defined in multiple ways. Such is true of biblical worldview as well.
What is biblical worldview?
Please write a definition.
Bob Stouffer’s definition: “Filtering issues through a biblical lens”
Most schools put biblical worldview integration in their mission statements or vision statements, but they’re not doing it.
Southside Christian is actually doing biblical worldview integration.
The general public or public school teachers may think biblical worldview instruction is “narrow-minded.”
Biblical worldview is sensitive to the direction and work of the Holy Spirit.
Some teachers may think this is something extra on top of all of the other responsibilities of teaching. But it’s not something extra.
Some think devotions and prayer time satisfy biblical worldview instruction.
Let’s look at my proposed agenda for today and tomorrow.
8:30-9:50, “Why Biblical Worldview?”
10:10-11:30, “What Works? What Doesn’t?”
12:30-1:50, “How Does It Work?”
2:10-3:00, “Where Are We?”
8:30-9:50, “How to Get and Grow People”
10:10-11:30, “How to Create the Culture?”
12:30-1:50, “What Practices Sustain Biblical Worldview”
2:10-3:00, “What’s Next for Southside?”
Today and tomorrow, I’ll be a trail guide leading you, but the best trips include members of the company doing some of the leading and guiding as well. I’ve been on this journey. Many of you have been along these trails.
Let me know if you have any questions, as we go along.
Why Biblical Worldview?
Look at these pictures. [Joe projected photographs of a dead tree, a small bonsai tree, and a huge oak tree.]
What is the advantage and disadvantage of each tree? What’s it take to create each of these trees?
What’s this all about?
People. It’s what happens in students. We are talking about “products” AND processes.
We’ve got to keep the end in mind. Why do we do what we do? The reason you’re here is because of the schoolchildren and what happens with them. You invest in students and their families.
Each student presents his or her own advantages and disadvantages in learning contexts. Students appear to be alive while they are in school; they say and do all of the “right” things, but, when they leave the school, they could actually be dead spiritually.
Some schools are attempting to create manageable bonsai students. We don’t allow for growth, and the “trees” are not healthy. We should be growing students who bear fruit and yield additional trees. You can’t “control” an oak tree; it takes a lot of feed, water, and time; but, once that tree takes off, it is not, nor should it be, controllable.
Growing students requires constant watering and nourishment.
Neglect can kill trees. Disease and drought can kill. Too much fertilizer can kill. We can contain and control our students, so they do not flourish as much as possible. Growth takes time. We want kids with deep roots — strong trees, that bear fruit, and provide shade.
Are we trimming all of the time? Are we feeding? Are we watering?
[Colin Urbanick, Director of Discipleship/Campus Pastor, shared with me what he is learning from the book, THE VINE AND THE TRELLIS. Schools can have excellent structures with under-nourished fruit. Or we can have lush fruit with poor structures which do not support the fruit.]
Begin with the end in mind. Moses did this before Stephen Covey!
Keep a definition of biblical worldview simple and short.
I have a prize for the most concise and focused definition.
Bob Stouffer’s short definition: “truth lens”
Deb Ryker-Benson has written a book, GRACIOUSLY APOLOGETIC. Schools are too dominated by governance and fear. Something’s not quite working. We’re not analyzing the spiritual culture as we should. We should be wrestling with spiritual issues. It’s too much about what to “do,” rather than what we should “be.”
Dr. Stephen Real wrote the book, CLEAR FOCUS. Our focus should be, first and foremost, on Jesus Christ, His character, and the direction He gives our lives.
Our schools are about Jesus and students. Biblical worldview integration is about “doing,” but, as importantly, or more importantly, we must study the “being” of students.
We’ve got to take the time to understand the “being” of Christian schools. And that takes time. Who are we? Why do we do what we do?
Colin and I chose Colin’s definition: “Gospel intentional lifestyle”.
Other definitions in contention for the prize (three Band-aids):
“God’s purpose revealed”
“Maneuvering through life in light of what Scripture says”
“Interpretation of reality in accordance with what God reveals about reality”
“Living life through the filter of God’s Word”
Questions About Definition
Is “view” a noun or a verb? It makes a difference.
What do we mean by “biblical worldview” (compared to “Christian worldview”)?
Is integration more like a mixture or a compound? Integration is more about a mixture and being able to pull ideas apart again. Ingredients in a compound cannot be pulled apart.
Is this about faith or learning? This should be about faith AND learning. The compound creates powerful and deep learning contexts.
Is biblical worldview a process or a product?
How is biblical worldview different than Bible class? Students should be developing a biblical worldview in every class and all times.
Do we use Bloom’s taxonomy? There are actually three realms of the taxonomy: cognitive, which is certainly important, the psychomotor realm, and the affective realm. We school people can get too hung-up-on the cognitive realm. Teachers appealing to the affective realm can deepen learning.
How do we acclimate new Southside students who have not been grounded in a biblical worldview during their public school experiences?
A “stunted” tree can be re-planted in good soil and take off. Sometimes, however, the damage cannot be undone.
What is the “being” and “doing” of biblical worldview?
I [Joe Neff] think we “do” biblical worldview. I love the intellectual. Students can understand biblical truth, but they later dump that truth and don’t live the truth. Biblical worldview is more than content. It’s teachers living God’s truth before students and exciting them about living God’s truth. I know teachers who are incredible about content and theology and who work really hard for students to know those things. But some/many students don’t like those teachers, and students won’t grow under that instruction. Teachers who may not be as adept doctrinally, but who love kids, are influencing students to live the truth. We’ve got to engage students in learning that is alive.
We can go too quickly to the content of biblical worldview. It becomes too much about head knowledge and specific “truths.” We have to drive them into a life of God, pursuing His truth.
“View” is a noun, in that there is content to understand, but, as important, if not more importantly, “view” is a verb, because students need to know how to live-out the truth.
A resource: The National [Australian] Institute for Christian Education (http://www.nice.edu.au). The NICE Mission Statement: “Equipping lens shapers through professional development.” One NICE advertisement reads, “Are our students seeing the big picture? Some lenses distort the true view of the world.”
Edify (http://www.edify.org) works to sustain Christian schools in underdeveloped areas of the world. I spent several days with Edify people in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and they are wrestling with the same issues as American and Australian schools, with no money and no books to assist with the development of biblical worldview.
[A $10,000 Question: How can Christian schools help students develop a biblical worldview when, according to a Barna study, only a small fraction of the American population truly have a biblical worldview?]
Prominent Christian Educators on Biblical Worldview:
Glen Schultz: “Finally, we must learn how to plan, implement, and evaluate true biblical worldview integration into any lesson we might teach. We cannot leave this all important aspect of Christian education merely to chance. . . .”
Mark Eckel: “The goal of biblical integration is to help students to think biblically and critically about every subject. Further, the goal is for students to think biblically and critically about every aspect of her lives. Ideally, students should seek to see each subject the way God sees it.”
Anonymous: “Claiming — as every Christian school’s website does — to offer their education within the framework of a biblical worldview and then not doing so — as is invariably the case — amounts to educational fraud in my book.”
Frank Gaebelein: “We have had a great deal to say about God-centered, Christ-oriented, Bible-based education. But in actual practice we are not doing nearly enough of it. . . There remains much land to be taken.” (The Pattern of God’s Truth, 1952)
Dr. Stephen Reel: Focus on Jesus in Christian education. Invest in discipleship and the next generation. Don’t allow the “what” to replace the “who.”
Biblical worldview is about content AND HOW WE TEACH. Biblical worldview development occurs in classrooms, athletic contests, and recess.
Southside Christian Website: “Remaining true to our spiritual heritage, we are committed to cultivating a biblical worldview within our students, enabling them to live effective and productive lives in service to our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Unfortunately, too many parents in U.S. Christian schools are saying, “My kid is in a Christian school, but the school isn’t very Christian.” People need to see Jesus and His truth alive in our Christian schools. We need to be different than the public school down the street. Give children a living, breathing, exciting biblical worldview — which is an attractive value proposition for families.
Benefits of Biblical Worldview Development:
Points to Jesus, the Creator Who holds everything together Makes the Bible foundational Pursues truth Draws people to God when they see a biblical worldview lived-out Excites learning Brings unity Asks and answers questions
Classrooms can be “stinky” (not organized or effective). Classrooms can be “pleasant” (well organized and effective). But let’s cultivate classrooms which are “overflowing” (with love and excitement and learning and truth and discipling).
The teacher makes all the difference. And a teacher is not a technician. In public schools, truth is shallow, and teachers are technicians. Christian school teachers need to be technically sound, but teaching in a Christian school is about real people and real truth (which is deep and impactful on students).
What works and what doesn’t?
Would you rather have a teacher who knows what s/he’s doing without the right tools, or a teacher who doesn’t have a clue but has all of the right tools?
Who the teacher is and how the teacher lives is a critical element of biblical worldview integration.
“. . .the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12, English Standard Version)
A teacher can cause harm to students. Good teachers properly and healthily use God’s truth to help students grow as followers of Jesus Christ.
Let me tell you about two teachers. A guest teacher came to Little Rock from Texas. He had taught for 35 years. He was great. He talked about the stars and new discoveries about God.
A couple days after observing this teacher, I observed a new teacher talking about cleansing impure water and how amazing God was in helping to develop these chemical processing.
I had seen a master teacher approach biblical worldview, but the first year teacher loves God with a passion, she loves ALL of her students, and she loves her subject (the truth she gives them). She is driven by her loves. She is always talking about God. God is her life. It’s the pattern of Deuteronomy 6. God loved the Israelites. God cared for His people. If the people wanted their children to live well in the land — if they were to be trees who flourished — then the people should love God with their entire being. This teacher is not perfect, but she loves God. Let these words of God be in your heart. Talk all the time about God. Put signs up that God is important and real and alive in the school. Obedience to God’s Word and to being a changed person are at the heart of effective Christian education. That love will overflow with love. Children are loved, and truth is loved. Technical learning goes through the teacher who loves, a teacher who loves her students will do the very best for those students. When a teacher loves her students, the students catch that passion and want to learn.
I was visiting Greenville Christian School outside of Dallas, Texas, and great things were going on there. It’s a small Christian school. A teacher told me, “Biblical worldview is who we are. It’s who I am.” It spills out.
Loving God, loving students, and loving students creates a special culture of learning. My student surveys indicated the highest ratings of teachers who love God, their students, and their subjects.
Biblical worldview development is about content (sharing the truth of God’s Word), and it’s about loving truth and God themselves.
The story of Mary and Martha is an excellent story for teachers. Martha was literally serving Jesus. She worked so hard. She got frustrated that Mary wasn’t helping. Jesus said, “Martha, Martha, Mary has chosen the better.” He wasn’t saying that preparing and serving food wasn’t wrong, but devotion to Jesus first is the better part. Don’t lose the “who.” Jesus is the “who.” Our students are the “who.” [This is Dr. Reel’s point as well: Don’t lose focus on the “who” because of the “what.”]
There is power in love. Love sounds smooshy and sweet. Love is too often associated with human sexuality and lust. Love is used in so many different ways. But, when teachers love God, their students, and their subjects, there is power in love. (See Revelation 2:2, 4, 6; Galatians 5:6-7; Galatians 5:13-14; and 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.) Love is such a big deal to God. Teachers grow through their love. Students grow through their teachers’ love. The Word of God often equates love with action and obedience. We are noisy gongs and clanging cymbals without love.
I have no doubt that your teachers love kids. I hope they love God and love teaching. We need to help each other to better love God, students, and subjects. Teachers can tell the truth, but if students don’t sense their love, the impact of learning will not be as great.
How does it work?
We all know teaching is over 40 hours a week. Effective teachers bring their whole lives to the classroom. They bring themselves. The teacher prepares. The teacher prays for God to give him/her truth and ways of inspiring students. The teacher is prepared, but the teacher thirsts for the Holy Spirit’s direction in the teaching and learning activities. There is a joy in this approach.
The percentages of people who have a biblical worldview is very low. Who decided that? What questions did they use? Southside Christian should decide the foundational truth all students should know after they leave the school.
I surveyed my teachers a few years back. We had a great staff. I loved every teacher. They loved God and kids and their teaching. But it was frightening to learn that their knowledge of the Word was so shallow. Their level of engagement in a local body of Christ was also low. A lot of Christians know Jesus Christ, but they don’t know His Word. They may know what someone else tells them about Jesus Christ; there is a lack of first-hand engagement with the active, living Word of God. This is a reason that there is a lack of biblical worldview among the staff members in the school. If we want biblical worldview to be a distinctive of the school, WE HAVE TO KNOW THE WORD OF GOD. The teachers who don’t teach Bible may believe they do not know enough to bring a biblical worldview to their teaching. You don’t have to know “everything” about the Bible to nurture a biblical worldview.
We all sang “Rudulph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
This is one of the most anti-biblical love songs ever. Kids made fun of Rudolph because of his chief physical attribute. Eventually, they loved him, but only because he earned their love. God’s love is unconditional. Our culture is horrible with earned love. How many kids feel love unconditionally in our Christian schools? Parents shouldn’t ask about grades. They should ask about what their kids learned and how they positively impacted the student community on any given day.
Love God, students, and subjects in God’s way — unconditionally and sacrificially.
There’s not a whole lot to like about the world today. Why does God love the world? God loves the world in spite of the garbage in the world today. Unconditional love changes lives. You may treat a misbehaving or unloving student differently, but you love all students equally, sacrificially, and unconditionally.
A simple way of showing love to a student is to lean into the student. Lean into love.
When you love God’s way, you want to know more about God and about your students. Loving God’s way is a commitment and choice. [Love does.] It should be harder to say, “I like you” than “I love you.” Your love of students should be unconditional. Love is a commitment based on choice. We grow in our love of God and students, which allows us to grow in our ability to communicate truth to our students. [We should “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18)]
Teachers who continue to grow in their knowledge, because of love, always have a fresh appreciation for learning and for students.
When you love God’s way, you have a commitment to the best for students, and your humility and passion grow.
Where you invest is where your feeling goes. Invest with passion in your relationship with God and others — and with passion for your teaching. Want the best for each child. Help students know the truth from God’s Word, so the students gain knowledge about how life really works. We will not have sustainable learning in a classroom unless a teacher has a sincere passion for God, students, and subjects. This love deepens the learning, especially the learning about God.
Living is a matter of the heart. We are loved — by God. We love because He first loved us. People who know they are loved will take calculated risks, loving others. Our hearts must be changed before we change into the likeness of Jesus.
We don’t just show kids the answers. We show them ways to the answers. “Be” a biblical worldview that students will “follow.” A student should become like his teacher.
If a teacher loves God and his subject, but doesn’t love students, that person is a SCHOLAR.
If a teacher loves kids and his subject, but doesn’t love God, that person is SECULAR.
If a teacher loves God and loves students, but doesn’t love the subject, that person is shallow. Students are supposed to learn certain things and learn those things well. The youth pastor of the church needs to love students and love God, and he can flourish even without a profound love for “subject.” [I’m not sure I fully agree. The youth pastor must still love and know and apply and live the Word of God.]
Be strong and courageous. A lot of kids leave our Christian schools, but they do not follow Jesus, and they do not pursue biblical truth. “The Three Loves” can help. Let kids see the joy you have for learning, Christ, and truth. Help students to be strong and courageous. Give kids strength in school by teaching them, so they learn truth and strategies for learning; then, they can be courageous. Teachers must also believe they are strong and courageous in their own learning. Students should see the staff loving and risking and learning and passionate about their lives. David was courageous when he faced Goliath, because he loved the Lord, and he had faith in God’s ability to fight through him. David said, “. . .the battle is the LORD’s and He will give you [Goliath] into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17:47). Teachers must want students to speak boldly about God.
Where are we? What are your questions? What actions should you take?
Do we behave as we believe, generally? Every person has a worldview. Most people don’t realize what their worldview is. Their worldviews affect how they behave. None of us sees ourselves in a totally accurate view. We need to help students see their true selves and reality, in accordance with the Bible.
Is worldview more caught or taught? Love has power in learning. We learn better from those we know care about us. We’ll go deeper with the people we trust. It’s both taught and caught. Love which drives content deepens learning. Students follow those who are consistently living-out their worldviews. There is power in both love and example.
Isn’t the end goal of biblical worldview to not be able to separate the worldview from living and learning? And God cannot be separated from me or the learning? Growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ IS the biblical worldview. That’s the “why”! We need to help students fall in love of God and truth (the subject). Learning is not just about giving answers.
Students can reject truth and life transformation. Is that an indictment of us? No. God has blessed me so much, but I am so self-centered. That’s true about all of us, to a degree. God loves unconditionally. Jesus sacrificed His life. He is truth! People reject God and Jesus all of the time. Jesus “came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.” (John 1:11, ESV). We plant. We water well. We fertilize well. We want to to our best. God handles the increase. The Holy Spirit does the work of transformation. I [Joe Neff] used to teach Marriage and Family class, and I was often scared, because I knew the enemy would come after me and my family; our fight is not with flesh and blood.
STRENGTHS OF SOUTHSIDE BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW DEVELOPMENT:
We teach from a reality of the work with God.
Students know, at least intellectually, they are loved by God.
Leadership encourages biblical worldview development in all venues.
Bible CEUs are given for faculty meeting involvement, and the learning is relevant.
Personnel have genuine relationships with the Lord.
We major in the majors.
Our culture is a culture of excellence, including “The Three Loves.”
There is commitment to God and students.
There is no competition among teachers, and we’re willing to be held accountable for growth.
The teachers have a strong knowledge of the Scriptures.
There is a growing culture of student discipleship, particularly among the Upper School student body.
Intentionality: We’re working on it. This is a lesson plan item. Teachers are purposeful with students inside and outside the classroom.
We understand that devotionals and verses sprinkled in is not in-depth biblical worldview development.
Skill development is a way of increasing a student’s “strength.” God can use those skills (keyboarding). “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17, ESV)
We keep each other straight; if I’m down, another staff member will encourage me with truth and wisdom. As a faculty, we care for each other and hold each other accountable. We’re not doing everything perfectly, but we strive to do so. Non-Christians know we are Christians “by the love we have for one another.” The most important thing we can teach students is that we should love one another. The teachers here love each other, and students are aware of that; the students see that love.
In this environment, students feel safe, which allows them to be more open and transparent with others. We’re not perfect, but the current environment facilitates greater transparency.
STEPS TO TAKE US TO THE NEXT LEVEL:
We must personally work on our own biblical worldview.
We must continue to be transparent with students about our walk with the Lord.
We can better help students pray and put feet to their learning.
How can we help the kids themselves integrate biblical truth in their projects?
How do we help students saturate their learning with God and biblical truth, not allowing ourselves to compartmentalize our days or lives as somethings “spiritual” and other things “secular”?
How can we raise the bar and get students more excited about memorizing key Bible passages?
Is this about biblical worldview development or development into the character of Christ? (God’s word was made flesh in Jesus!). All truth should point to Jesus.
How can we help students to live-out their lives consistent with biblical truth (as opposed to the hypocrisy characterizing so many Christians today, adults included)?
A Resource: The Great Tradition of Christian Thinking, by David C. Cook (from the Reclaiming the Christian. . . . Series)
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Biblical love is a choice. Showing up for things like this workshop reflects biblical love, a sacrificial choice for you to better understand how you can influence, if not “infect,” students.
We continue on the “trail” of our journey today. You have the hard work to do after I leave. If you attempt to climb a a 14,000-foot mountain, you might not make it, but you will have learned much along the way. The beauty of school is being able to “start over” after you have not gotten to the peak, and you can attempt again to reach the summit again.
You all are amazing. You know so much. You are so kind.
We’re going to focus on application today.
Could I name some schools which are nailing biblical worldview, in my opinion, from my worldview? My quick, harsh answer is no. There are schools who are doing some really good work. My expectations are high. I will not be satisfied until EVERY CHILD in EVERY CLASSROOM has a biblical worldview.
Dr. Barfell reported data which was 13 years old, but he doesn’t believe the data has improved all that much since 2003:
3% claim a non-Christian faith
4% call themselves agnostics or atheists
90% of the American population say they are Christians; 59% are “notional” Christians (with no discernible commitment to Jesus Christ); 34% are born again, with a personal relationship to Christ; 4% fit the category of “evangelicals,” who say they are Christians, claim a personal relationship with Jesus, AND live their lives according to their belief systems
There is an incredible need and opportunity for Christian school teachers to live with a biblical worldview.
At a convention several years ago, Ken Gangel said Christian schools are “our last hope.” Such was not to diminish the church or the family. He’s a big believer in both. What you are doing is very important.
Let’s start with a weird quiz. At your table, take a minute to write down one quiz question you would ask this group.
Colin: Is biblical worldview a noun or a verb?
Bob: Fill in the blank: The student should be like _______________________ . HIS TEACHER
Paul: If you just love God and your subject, then you are a. . . . SCHOLAR.
Gambrel: Is biblical worldview a(n) noun, verb, both, neither? BOTH.
Sarah: Draw which tree shows no understanding of biblical worldview. DEAD TREE.
Kim: Hold the number of fingers in the air representing the realms of Bloom’s Taxonomy. THREE: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor.
Don: How is teaching both an art and a science? There are scientifically-verifiable strategies for effective student achievement, and the Christian school teacher relies on the Holy Spirit to guide him/her to/through teachable moments.
Joe: Did we talk about this yesterday? Yes, Don and I talked about this in the room after you left yesterday.
How does the Holy Spirit influence teaching and learning activities?
Danielson’s Grid of 4 Domains of Teaching and Learning is very scientific, but the student might not reach the depth of learning apart from the Holy Spirit.
Are teachers born or made?
We can all get better.
Some people have “with-it-ness.” Some people are aware and can make adjustments in the teaching and learning activities.
A couple of years ago, I was visiting a middle school principal at a well-known and well-off Christian school, in our exploration of moving to a block schedule, and he told me the block schedule was best for students, but it is only best if you have great teachers, but “I can’t do it. You know how it is,” he said. This principal was, sadly, accepting a lack of quality in his teachers. That conversation still really bothers me still today. Would any of us accept less than the best from our schools? We’ve got to help each other grow and change, when necessary.
Students should become like their teachers. (Luke 6:40)
Teachers must be diligent in their planning. Teachers are held to a stricter judgment. (James 3:1)
Discuss the following question for 5 minutes:
What are the top qualities, strengths, knowledge, skills, or attitudes teachers need to teach biblical worldview in their classrooms day after day?
Our Group / Related Comments from Other Groups:
Start with your vibrant relationship with Christ / deep, evident love for Jesus Thirst for righteousness and the Word Knowledge and application of the Word / biblically literate Led by and submissive to the Holy Spirit / leaning on the Spirit An attitude of love and compassion for students. (In step with an African concept, “I see you,” the teacher “says” through his/her words, attitude, tone, eye contact, and awareness.) An awareness (with-it-ness) of opportunities and willingness to take advantage of teachable moments / ability to adjust on-the-fly Intentionality in planning for biblical worldview development / being accountable for the responsibility to do so Speaking truth through relationship Authenticity and transparency (no facades or “image control”), “real” people A teacher who lets students know him/her as a person Humility, brokenness, repentant hearts — a willingness to accept the leading of the Spirit
Distinct Ideas from the Other Groups:
Building redemptive relationships with students Passing all courses through the grid of Scripture Auto-didactic / life-long learner Awareness of goals, avoiding rabbit trails, but willing to deviate with unplanned activities which will still take you to the goals Kingdom-minded, God-first attitude Truth-seekers Cultural awareness and being able to relate to young people (Pokemon Go) Accepting responsibility for mentoring and discipling students; the bigger the school gets, the more intentional that school staff needs to be in this regard.
A clear calling
Patience / perseverance
A deep knowledge and understanding of God’s forgiveness, so we can extend grace to others
You have to know Scripture to help students develop a biblical worldview. Too large a percentage of ACSI teachers pushed back against the requirement of 6 credits for ACSI certification, according to Dr. Barfell.
The objectives should be clear. There are different ways of getting to those objectives.
When things are going well in a school, we would do well to acknowledge God as the source of those blessings. We must humble ourselves at all times, especially in the good times.
Students are going to ask you what this all means. And you need to be ready to give a response at these teachable moments. You may have to wait for years to learn of the epiphanies of these students.
Teachers must keep growing. Christian schools seek people who are life-long learners who want to be used by God to positively influence students.
I see in this room people who “get it” and are humble about getting it. Be careful that you are not so humble that you don’t share your gift of biblical worldview awareness. Help each other. Promote each others’ gifts and abilities. Advance the positive culture of Southside Christian School.
All truth is God’s truth. All truth should be filtered through the Bible.
Teachers need to get their hearts right with God before they can be prepared for a new school year.
What practices help teachers grow in these areas — short-term and long-term?
[We created short skits to illustrate the following practices.]
Jesus took His disciples through a progression: “Come and see. Come and follow. Come and be with me. Come and die with me.”
I do; you watch. I do; you help. You do; I help. You do, I watch.
Schedule other teachers to observe master teaching. Hire substitute teachers for participation in TESA (Teacher Expectations for Student Achievement) and GESA (Gender Expectations for Student Achievement).
“I see you.”
Time and attention and availability to others
Establish trust, so relationships work. Building positive culture in a school requires a very high degree of trust.
Teachers need to know that administrators are supportive and not judging during observations. Other sets of eyes provide different perspectives and valuable feedback. That tone should be set before visits are made to classrooms. Teachers shouldn’t be compelled to “put on a show” for the person who is observing.
Growth is personal. We must be in relationship to help others grow.
Teachers are susceptible to criticism; a teacher will notice 1 negative even when 99 positives have been given.
Sharing ideas; getting heads together; praying together; getting to know each other; striving for unity
Love is foundational to the understanding, growth, unity, and trust of a school.
There are so many people and so many tasks. How do we prioritize the most important interactions and task completion to build biblical worldview in a school culture (and the MANY other priorities of Southside).
Joe: Growing people is what we’re in the business of.
Colleagues and administrators should point out the strengths of teachers and work with those teachers to set realistic goals. Teachers should have input for their own goals.
Accountability needs to be a part of the process, or busy people may neglect the goals. We all have blind spots and get sucked into the day-to-day “stuff” of life. Even quick periodic check-ins are effective.
Adult learners like choice. They like to be empowered to pursue goals. Motivation should be intrinsic.
Professional development should be differentiated for teachers in the same way we differentiate for students.
Teachers will engage in an inner struggle between wanting to get to know and understand students and, at the same time, trying to “cover” curriculum. Reality confounds our energies and schedules.
We also want teachers to talk about themselves, their struggles, and what the Lord is doing in their lives.
Even if the teacher feels unprepared, s/he should know the goals and lead students toward those goals.
What happens when a teacher no longer senses a calling to teaching and/or the school? In a loving way, other teachers need to come alongside that person; supervisors need to speak the truth in love; all should coach the person to discover whether they can muster the passion to continue in that calling, or whether the person should decide to make his/her own life better — and the lives of colleagues, supervisors, students, and parents more enjoyable — by pursuing a different calling.
Joe: One teacher, at the end of each class period, would enthusiastically (and sincerely) proclaim to all of the students, “I love you.”
Periodically eat lunch with a group of students or a single student.
Go to a student’s athletic contest, music concert, or dramatic production.
Suggestions for Culture Change:
Lead by example! “Do” biblical worldview. “Be” the biblical worldview; be the living curriculum.
Clarify expectations. Evaluate for biblical worldview development. Have resolve to make a difference in this arena.
Applaud those who are doing biblical worldview development well, and give courage to those who need it. “. . .admonish the idle, encourage the faint hearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14)
Engage in small and big ways. Make biblical worldview part of the daily conversation. Ask questions when you are confused, concerned, uncertain, and frustrated.
Embed biblical worldview development in the culture of the school. Lean into biblical worldview development. Do the heavy lifting.
Build trust, and leverage people. Distribute leadership among the staff. Empower formal and informal leaders to champion positive movement with biblical worldview development.
Give permission. Strongly! State expectations.
Neutralize toxicity. Even one teacher can undermine positive change efforts.
Let’s talk about specific ways of developing biblical worldview in all classrooms. The teacher who loves like God loves, who knows the Bible, who is excited about biblical worldview development, and who is continuing to learn will naturally help students develop biblical worldview.
All teachers can benefit from additional Bible learning.
All teachers can benefit from having a better understanding of their subjects.
All teachers can benefit from better understanding and loving their students.
All teachers can benefit from a better love for and understanding of God.
How can the teacher show truth from God’s Word in your teaching and student learning?
Does the subject point to God and draw students to Him?
What do you know about God, people, world, and salvation?
Use other truth and ideas than the Bible as the beginning point.
Ask questions to invite deeper thought: How do the concept of wave collapse in quantum physics relate to the themes of Les Miserables (hope) and Jim Dine’s painting, “Ten Formal Fingers” (hopelessness)?
Know biblical themes to integrate in learning.
Can we use the subject for God’s purposes in life?
What are God’s desires? Justice. Mercy. Humility. Salvation. Healing. Abundance.
Look at Scripture yourself — to better understand truth.
Every day, every teacher, should ask every one of these questions:
How will my students know I love God today?
How will my students know I love them today?
How will my students know I love the subject, the truth, I give them today?
Help each other. The teacher who has experience with and passion for biblical worldview development should be helping teachers who are uncomfortable or not secure about such teaching and learning activities.
Create a biblical worldview library.
We divided into Lower School and Upper School groups to brainstorm questions and possible strategies.
Vivian, Colin, Jess, Martha, and I worked together as a group.
Every teacher should read THE THREE LOVES.
Make biblical worldview development the basis of regular ongoing professional development activities.
Break down the qualities of teachers effective with biblical worldview development for deeper discussions of those traits during teacher meetings (resulting in CEUs). Use skits, as Joe used skits, to provide an even higher level of engagement and enjoyment in the training.
Department heads should work with their respective teachers to create goals for 2016-2017, including 1 goal for biblical worldview development.
With teachers, discuss biblical worldview development early in the school year.
Ask the department heads to ask the 4 questions on a quarterly basis for the sake of accountability:
(1) How are you demonstrating life with God in the classroom and outside the classroom?
(2) Does the Bible say anything about your subject?
(3) Does the subject point to God and draw students to Him?
(4) Can you use the subject to apply a biblical truth or reach a biblical goal?
Laminate the 4 questions for all teachers. Include “The Three Loves” sweet spot, the model for biblical worldview (p. 47 and p. 51).
Observers should give feedback about and celebrate biblical worldview development in teaching and learning activities. Increase rapport with all teachers. We should out-do ourselves in encouraging others and uplifting the staff.
PRAY for the Holy Spirit’s guidance with biblical worldview development.
Lower School Ideas:
Build relationships intentionally with students, even BEFORE they come to school.
Build relationships intentionally among teachers and among students. Model the sense of family.
Think intentionally about content and biblical worldview “compounding.”
Each of the staff members must intentionally grow in their relationship with the Lord. Love and truth are gifts the teachers give to the students.
Another Upper School Group’s Ideas:
Engage in personal study.
Indicate to each other when devotions and verses are NOT biblical worldview development.
Study sermon notes and how they relate to teaching and learning activities.
Take secular textbook content captive to biblical truth.
Be patient and encouraging with each other. Manage expectations.
Contrast other worldviews with the biblical worldview. Ask what conclusions all worldviews draw about particular ideas.
Upper School Math and Bob Jones Group:
You don’t want to force biblical integration. (For instance, math is from God because math has order.)
Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading; such will be digested so much better than forced application. God’s Word is the living Word. You can expect that understanding and applying God’s Word will bring great results.
Joe: At Culver’s, during lunch today, I asked one of the workers at the counter, Vivian, a rising senior, “What do you like about Southside?” She answered, “Our teachers are so supportive.” I then asked her, if she had the chance, what would she say to the teachers? “Tell them not to feel so bad when students are not inspired and encouraged. But we are inspired and encouraged.” She was so thoughtful giving a response like that at the counter of the Culver’s!
What’s next for Southside? Your plans are good. You are in a good place. Keep planning. Keep dreaming. I’d like to challenge your school. Your school is poised to be a leader in creating and sustaining biblical worldview development. You have stability. You have leaders who have desires with this distinctive. You could be THE leader in the country. Somebody’s got to do this. Why not you? Trust God. God will give the ministry of the Spirit to make us adequate. It’s always Him. It’s always Him anyway. Prepare. Then pray. To see how God will shape teaching and learning at Southside Christian School. There is nothing that will help you more to prepare you for the next school year than to pray. Sit in each seat and pray for each student.
I’m excited for you. How can God use this is big ways.
Teachers are more adequate than they think they are. However, if a teacher has never considered biblical worldview development will need resources to assist them.
Resources are available:
Think Biblically! By John MacArthur
Chris Brown of Wheaton Academy in Chicago
ACSI has published an encyclopedia on biblical worldview. I don’t agree with everything in the book, but it’s a good tool overall.
I have asked the principals to make biblical worldview integration a key emphasis of our professional development in 2016-2017.
Vivian found an excellent conference on biblical worldview integration and discipleship. We had a group which was going to attend. The conference got cancelled in June.
That’s why we asked Joe to spend these days with us. Thank you, Joe, for these 2 good days.
I have been on a journey. At Liberty Christian School, God grew our enrollment while we were learning how to do biblical worldview integration. That was our passion. I just assumed EVERY Christian school did that well. Then, God called us to Blackhawk Christian School; Jen and I were dumbfounded that the educators in that school didn’t have a firm foundation of biblical worldview development, so we rolled up our sleeves and worked on bringing biblical worldview development a distinctive of the school. With ACSI, I observed that not too many Christian schools understand biblical worldview development. When we sought a school, we looked for a school which understood this. And Southside was just such a school.
Mark Eckel did his doctoral research on the effectiveness of biblical worldview integration. He found that it didn’t matter whether a teacher graduated from a Christian or secular university. He found that leaders who encourage, train, and encourage teachers to engage in biblical worldview development was the key factor in making this happen positively in schools. Transformation happens in the context of relationships. Teaching from a biblical worldview is absolutely critical to what we do, because this is a distinctive of our school. It’s our value proposition. It’s why I can sleep at night after we charge $12,400 for each student at the Upper School. What makes us unique and distinct? It’s this piece right here. I call it “biblio-centric.” Everything we teach is from a biblio-centric perspective. We have to do this well. Yesterday and today was the launching of our plan for emphasizing biblical worldview development.
Thank you for coming yesterday and today. Your motivation was for CEUs, but that was not your primary motivation. You care about your craft.
We’re also going to have Milt Uecker (formerly from Columbia International University) work with us during in-service in August. He’ll do 60 minutes with Early Education, 60 minutes with Lower School, and 60 minutes with Upper School — to meet the unique needs of each group. During professional development in October and February, part of that training will emphasize biblical worldview development. I believe that training will be transformative.
We also want to provide the resources for you. We purchased CurriculumTrak, an online curriculum tracking tool. This summer, curriculum guides have been imported to CurriculumTrak. Don’t be concerned. We’ll ease into this. Once we get used to CurriculumTrak as our curriculum mapping tool, we’ll be able to do our lesson planning on CurriculumTrak. Dr. Mark Eckel has embedded biblical worldview standards in CurriculumTrak.
Those are thoughts of pointing us in our direction.
Let’s pray about the school year about helping students to develop a biblical worldview.
[We prayed for several minutes to close the workshop.]