Life and Musings of Ed

Posts Tagged ‘Christian Education’

Brokenness in Education

In Christian Education, Life and living on 15 February 16 at 10:40 am

I am deeply troubled by my recent experiences teaching mathematics in a public high school.  Not only have the vast majority of students entering my classroom lost any wonder or desire to learn mathematics, they come in with a deep set disdain, even hatred of the subject and severely deficient proficiency.  Consider the following example from an integrated math 3 student [similar to algebra 2, for those used to a traditional high school course sequence].  The selected problems from a quiz follows the student’s opportunity to see examples in class and practice both by hand and with the assistance of a graphing calculator.  This is not an anomaly.

MyWorkContinues

Couple this with general class response of “yeah, we agree”  to the following quote from Mike Rowe [Dirty Jobs], and the anecdotal evidence is already very troubling!

MikeRowe_ChallengeToStudents_IsItTrue

There is no shortage of laments regarding the state of public education, and in particular, mathematics education , in the US, nor is it difficult to find any number of suggestions for “fixing” the problem.  One might hear buzz focused on “data driven” education, and “brain based learning”, etc. etc. , for example.

From my perspective, there is a serious world view clash and I will be laying out proposals and offerings for anyone interested in Christian Ed.  My heart is torn daily when exposed to brokenness in so many of my students.  The Good News is that there is Good News [the Gospel] and a real solution to this brokenness.

To start my online and public thinking process, here is a short paper about my philosophy of education, which I wrote for one of my Master’s courses at Concordia University :

Philosophy of Education

I believe the purpose of education is to transform students into the image of Christ, to equip them for every good work, and encourage them to live such that they will glorify God and enjoy Him forever.  As a teacher, I facilitate the development of a Christian worldview, guide students toward Truth and knowledge of God’s creation, love and edify them through trials and struggle, encourage perseverance and the development of Godly character, uphold hope, and foster their understanding of God’s call and will for their life.  By pointing students to Christ, I help them to understand excellence and beauty, their intrinsic worth and value, and principles for a joyous and fulfilling life — “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27  ESV).  

Because I believe that parents are ultimately responsible for the education of their children, I seek to partner with parents, to involve them as much as possible, and acknowledge their right to choose the best educational setting for their child.  Because I believe we are created as relational beings, incorporating collaborative learning experiences, promoting teamwork and citizenship are critical in my classroom.  Because the great narrative of humankind, the patterns of sin and redemption, of evil and heroism, of love, passion, tragedy, destruction and discovery are recorded, shared and best expressed through language, the written word, mathematics, and the fine arts, these disciplines are critical components of education.  As citizens of the United States of America, I believe we share a common heritage, that students should fully understand philosophies and ideas which led to the founding of our country, should be able to read and comprehend founding documents, the constitution, the history of our country, and the great sacrifices that have been made to establish the freedoms we enjoy.  They will come to understand that such freedom requires a moral, responsible and educated populace. To best understand America, students must be able to compare and contrast all aspects of the history and culture of the United States with the rich cultural diversity and history of other nations.  Because I believe God’s creation is worthy of study and that we are called to be stewards of His creation, the study of science, mathematics, technology, the history of their development and their effective use are critical components of education.   Because I believe all students are created in God’s image, have special gifts and talents, and a purpose or “calling”, I will do everything in my power to ensure equity in my classroom, school, and community.

Finally, the effective impartation of knowledge and wisdom in my chosen discipline of mathematics and science demands my diligence in professional development.  I will continue to stay abreast of research regarding best practices and effective pedagogy, of current understanding of the brain and implications for learning, of new technologies and their effective use, and of current discoveries in mathematics as I seek to deliver a coherent curriculum which engages students multiple intelligence, and is accessible to a diverse community of learners. I will adhere to the simple principle that students must be given a rich exposure to, a variety of ways to engage with, ample opportunities to process, and some choice in expressing mastery of new skills and their ability to use newly gained knowledge.  I will do whatever it takes to ensure every student is able to demonstrate proficiency of a common core of research based, internationally bench-marked standards.

 

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Carrots, Eggs and Coffee

In Christian Education, Life and living on 27 January 10 at 8:25 am

A sweet friend of mine sent the following story to me this morning and as a coffee lover, this resonated with me.

A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee…..You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again.

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up, She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word…

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, ‘ Tell me what you see.’

‘Carrots, eggs, and coffee,’ she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, ‘What does it mean, mother?’

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

‘Which are you?’ she asked her daughter. ‘When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.


When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Do you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can’t go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling.

Live your life so at the end, you’re the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.



May we all be COFFEE!!!!!!

The Manhatten Declaration

In Christian Education on 25 November 09 at 6:40 am

The Manhattan Declaration

Reframing Human History | Christianity Today

In Christian Education on 23 September 09 at 3:11 pm

This link takes you to a book review written by Kate Kirkpatrick.

The book:

Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies (Yale University Press)

by David Bentley Hart

Hart, a visiting professor of theology at Providence College, begins by looking at the New Atheist phenomenon, lambasting Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Daniel Dennett et al. for their carelessness with and rhetorical manipulation of philosophy, theology, and history. But that is quickly left behind; in the book’s second half, we begin to see the Orthodox theologian’s real intent: to offer a counter-narrative of religion’s role in human history.

Reframing Human History | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

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MyStudents Need to Know

In Christian Education, Technology on 18 August 09 at 11:50 am

Wolfram|Alpha vs  Google ?

No –> complementary tools

Wolfram|Alpha
Screenshot by HowStuffWorks.com
Wolfram|Alpha is a computational engine

Sometimes tech journalists will call a new service a Google killer even when it’s not a search engine. That’s the case with Wolfram|Alpha. It’s easy to confuse Wolfram|Alpha with a search engine. It has a field into which you type a query and it searches its database for answers. But that’s where the similarity ends.

Search engines provide users links to Web sites that presumably hold information the user wants. Wolfram|Alpha consults an enormous database to bring data directly to the user. You won’t receive a list of links when you execute a query on Wolfram|Alpha. Instead, you’ll be greeted with charts and graphs populated with data related to the keywords you entered.

This makes Wolfram|Alpha a very powerful research tool. Wolfram|Alpha employees vet all the information included in the database. They pull data from established and accepted resources. You can use Wolfram|Alpha to compare two subjects within the same category. Want to see if a Big Mac is healthier than a Whopper? Use Wolfram|Alpha to compare the nutritional information.

Because Wolfram|Alpha pulls back data rather than links, it’s not in direct competition with Google. You should use Wolfram|Alpha if you need to know information about a specific concept. You should use Google if you want to read the latest news on the subject, find a product review or just browse.

Pastor Mark Driscoll

In Christian Education, Life and living on 8 August 09 at 11:57 am

One of AMiA’s newest consecrated Bishops, Doc Loomis shared this video on Facebook and I just wanted to pass it along.  Members of my family have fallen prey to the “prosperity” gospel at times and Mark’s perspective is important.  So much of what Joel proclaims is Truth; we are children of an amazing God, our hope and faith in His power and authority and grace is well founded, He desires to bless us [though not in the way we might “want” or think we “deserve”], …   And yet Joel is wrong to equate “victory” with health, wealth and joyful relationships.  In fact, as Mark clearly points out, this definition of “victory with Christ” would paint a picture of Christ  Himself as a failure.  One other thought:  Another extreme and false position is also possible.  One can accept sin and pain and poverty as one’s “lot in life” and stop striving to live fully in God’s will, to develop His giftings and serve His people, allowing others to see the Christ alive and working within them.  Are wealth and prosperity and good health sinful in and of themselves?  Of course not!  But when they become idols or goals which are elevated to higher importance than following Christ, they hinder our walk with Him.  When they become a measure of our “victory”, they blind us to the real victory of  knowing and sharing the love of Christ.     Watch the video — and share your thoughts.

Life After High School

In Christian Education, Life and living on 7 August 09 at 8:57 am

As I get ready to send my son away to college, a wave of emotions floods over me.  I am excited for him and the opportunities he has for learning and growth.  I am slightly anxious concerning the parenting job I have done — have I really prepared him for this new independence?  We have talked together and I had him create a list of  stuff he still wants to know or do before heading off to school.  The list was eclectic and included a few things I can’t believe I have not shown him yet.  For example, changing a tire and a few other basic car maintenance tasks and maintianing financial records and a budget.   We have checked  much off the list and I will cover the following this weekend:   [ a bible study I glanced at from Christianity Today magazine provides the outline]

Overview

Are you or someone you know nearing the end of their high school career? If so, you know that there are many decisions right around the corner. Help them prepare with this Bible study course intended to focus on issues such as new friendships, spiritual growth, and a healthy lifestyle.

The following 7-session course will help you and your group discuss questions on how to prepare for life after high school such as:

  • What’s exciting about life after high school? What makes you nervous?
  • What would be the result of treating the Bible like a buffet from which you could pick and choose truths, versus accepting the whole as God’s Word?
  • Whom do you look to as a model of belief? Have you ever met or known a Christian who gave Christianity a bad reputation?

Session One

Rediscovering God
How to experience God the way he intended it.

Session Two

New Friendships
Experience life with frienships that matter.

Session Three

Romantic Relationships
How to receive and give love the way God intended.

Session Four

Tell Your Story
How to recognize and share your story effectively.

Session Five

A Healthy Body
Unlike a human gadget, your body was designed by God!

Session Six

Calling and Purpose
Living a life that points upward and beyond you.

Session Seven

Rest and Relaxation
Embrace God’s command to enjoy the Sabbath through fellowship and himself.

TED Talk – Why Cheat?

In Christian Education, Life and living on 29 April 09 at 1:33 pm

Having recently discovered how easy it is to put TED talks into this blog, I am likely to include more of them. This talk is about reasons for cheating. Dan Ariely uncovers and unpacks cheating psychology related to Enron and Stockmarket cheats. From my perspective this provides more evidence for Christian Education — consider Dan’s comments about the tests he does using the Ten Commandments.

Do Hard Things

In Christian Education, Life and living on 31 March 09 at 10:36 am
do_hard_things_study_guideDo Hard Things - The Rebelution

Do Hard Things - The Rebelution

I have been using this text as the basis for our High School Sunday School Class at All Saint’s Anglican Church in Newport/Morehead City, NC. The ideas resonant with me and I have plans to offer a modified version to our adults. Beware the Myth of Adolescence!

do_hard_things_study_guide1

Oh, How I Want to Carry a Positive Attitude!

In Christian Education, Life and living on 3 March 09 at 12:00 pm

I have had a difficult time of late.  Personally, some relationships are not where they should be.  I am troubled by the issues and news of the day and this has affected my desire to “blog”.   Generally, I always wish to convey a positive, solutions-oriented message.  The following article just broke my heart.  I was not a supporter of the Education Lottery in North Carolina, when it was debated and finally implemented.  The lottery has already suffered from corruption and scandal.  Now we see that the economic “crisis” is used as an excuse for newly elected Governor Beverly Perdue to redirect monies promised for education.  Shame!

Education lottery funds in jeopardy for local schools

Lenoir County Manager Mike Jarman fears proceeds could be reversed to help battle state’s deficit March 2, 2009 – 9:44 PM Chris Lavender Staff Writer

Lenoir County Schools’ portion of the North Carolina Education Lottery quarterly proceeds were recently reversed back to the state, a county official said Monday. The state’s current deficit crisis has forced officials to scramble for cash where they can find it, including local funds for public school capital construction. Lenoir County Manager Mike Jarman told the commissioners during a Monday meeting the state has diverted $300,000 from its school building capital fund to help decrease the state’s deficit. “The $300,000 is gone,” Jarman said. “(The state) doesn’t intend to pay it back.” Lenoir County Schools wasn’t alone in the recent reversion of lottery quarterly payouts. Jarman said the state decided not to distribute $43 million in lottery proceeds for school districts use this quarter. The state’s education lottery began on April 30, 2006 with instant scratch-off ticket sales at about 5,000 retail locations. While quarterly payouts will continue to be in jeopardy, Jarman said the state could decide March 22 to dip into every county’s education lottery savings account. The county manager said about $1.2 million is distributed from the state’s lottery to Lenoir County annually. Commissioner Chris Humphrey questioned Jarman if the state could legally request that lottery proceeds for Lenoir County be returned. “The people voted for the referendum (on the education lottery),” Humphrey said. “They didn’t expect the state to steal (the money) back.” According to Jarman, Gov. Bev Perdue has the discretion during times of economic crisis to use local funds however she sees fit to meet the state’s financial needs. Jarman said Lenoir County officials were willing to work with officials in Raleigh to try and reduce the deficit. “We want to be part of the solution,” Jarman said. But if the state decides to take more lottery proceeds away from Lenoir County’s account, Jarman said it will have a substantial impact on the county’s ability to pay its debt service for school construction. Jarman will travel to Raleigh on Thursday to meet with state officials to see what they plan to do. This year, the county will pay $5.9 million on the debt services for school construction, the county manager said. “We plan to give (the state) a couple of days to see where they go with this,” Jarman said. “It could have a serious impact.” Lenoir County Schools Superintendent Terry Cline said Monday afternoon he is concerned about the state’s seizure of lottery proceeds in February earmarked for school construction. “These funds are important to us,” Cline said. “They help us pay for the debt on the bond.”

Does it do any good to make comments like, “I told you so!”.   As for me — I get back to work — teaching young men and women about integrity and character and honor; about Christ and His love, and about math, physics and the proper use of God’s gifts.  The Rebelution and the stirrings of a Revolution swirl about me.   God help us!