Last school year, educators were forced to pivot on the fly from in-person instruction to online planning and teaching, while still trying to get students to the end of the term and seniors to graduation. As this school year begins, they face the daunting task of communicating ever-changing plans and guidelines to students and families. To call it challenging is an understatement.
Christian educators, whether homeschool parents or teachers and administrators at private, classical, or charter schools, must navigate these challenges while still fulfilling their unique mission. T. S. Eliot maintained that this mission was training students “to think in Christian categories,” equipping them to see all of life through the lens of a Christin worldview, connecting the eternal truths of Scripture to the key issues and questions of a culture that seems to be morphing and devolving at incredible speed.
To be clear, truly Christian education is not just education with long skirts and short hair. It’s not just education with more rules. Or with chapel, or with Bible verses. It’s not, again to quote Eliot, the task of helping students learn to be pious. Christian education is a fundamentally different enterprise, educating students for eternity not for employment.
Of course, students must develop job skills, but Christian education begins with Christian assumptions about life and the world, aims for Christian goals, and is governed by Christian methodologies. In both their personal beliefs and their public lives, we hope to help students love God with heart, mind, soul and strength, and love their neighbors as themselves. It’s an enormous task. Like all of us, Christian educators need ongoing training and tailored professional development to serve the unique challenges of their vocation.
To serve this incredibly important calling, the Colson Center has partnered with the Association of Christian Schools International and the International Alliance for Christian Education, two leading Christian education organizations, to offer a free, online, professional development program for schools and homeschool parents called “Worldviews and Cultural Fluency.”
The Association of Christian Schools International, the largest accrediting organization for K-12 Christian schools in the world, serves tens of thousands of schools in America and worldwide. The newly formed International Alliance for Christian Education connects Christian educational institutions, leaders, and teachers at every level of education, K-12 through seminary.
The Worldview and Cultural Fluency professional development program offers five modules for Christian educators in any context. Module 1 is “Worldviews for This Cultural Moment,” and equips teachers to address the most significant worldviews that have emerged in our world
The second module deals with the “The Imago Dei,” an essential Christian foundation for learning, especially in light of the challenges of our current culture. This module lays the groundwork for a completely different understanding of who we are, and especially who our students are as made in the image of God.
Building on this foundation, the third module addresses the “Cultural Flashpoints” of race, sex, gender, and technology. The fourth module, “Cultivating Christian Commitments in Students,” provides insights on worldview formation, offering the essential ingredients for forming students into confident and courageous followers of Christ.
The fifth module I find especially important: “Worldview Equipping for Elementary Students.” It’s critical that Christian educators who work with elementary age students learn to cultivate a strong Christian vision of the world in their students at the earliest ages. Two stellar educators, Elizabeth Urbanowicz and Dr. Kathy Koch, lead this module.
In fact, every speaker in the Worldviews and Cultural Fluency program are world-class Christian thinkers and educators, including Dr. John Lennox on science and faith, Os Guinness on cultural trajectories, and Dr. Bill Brown on worldview integration and formation.
Christian education is vital to the future of the Church, and the health of our students and our nation. The Worldviews and Cultural Fluency program is designed for in-service training for entire school faculty and staff to go through together, or for home educators to go through on their own. All participants also receive an incredible toolkit of teaching resources to supplement each session and each module.
The Worldviews and Culture Fluency professional development program is available, at no cost. You can find it at educators.ColsonCenter.org. Please, let the Christian educators in your community know about it.