‘For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.’ (Colossians 1:16-17 NIV)
At Calvin Christian Schools, our teachers have the privilege of teaching students from K through 12 from a Christian perspective. This begins with the biblical truth that “all things belong to God”. In developing and preparing the curriculum to be taught, the task of the Christian teacher is to help expose God’s fingerprint in all things – Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, the Sciences, etc. Sharing about who God is and that he is the “God of all things” does not only happen in a Bible class, it should be reflected in all that is done within the school day.
God created all things. Even after man had fallen into sin, the creation remained and continues to remain ‘good’. Christ sacrifice on the cross redeemed humankind and God’s people are called on to restore the creation order to the way God had intended it to be.
Teaching for Transformation is a curricular framework that provides teachers with a template to develop a unit from a Christian perspective. The template begins with God’s Biblical Story, it then moves to a possible Through Line, or TL – more on that later, then into the Learning Outcomes – what is Essential, Important, and Worthwhile, next the Application of the learning, and finally it connects to Assessment.
The framework, although it appears very prescriptive, allows the teacher a significant level of freedom in the development of the unit.
Earlier I mentioned Through Lines. A TL can be thought of as a theme for a unit, it holds the unit together. A phrase that we like to use is that the TL becomes the “thematic velcro” that connects and organizes the many facts, skills, and experiences within a unit or subject area. At the end of a unit, a key component of the learning would include an answer to the question – “How then shall I live?” Having students reflect on how God intended the world to be (Creation), what went wrong (the Fall), and how can we then become a transforming force within the world that has been redeemed by Christ (Redemption), are key steps the teacher seeks to walk the students through.
There are 10 Biblical Through Lines that a teacher can select for a given unit:
1) God – Worshipping: Students understand that worshipping God is about celebrating who God is, what God has done and is doing, and what God has created. Students see worship as a way of life.
2) Idolatry – Discerning: Students will understand that when other “things” are more important to us than our relationship with God, they become idols. Students will be challenged to identify, understand and discern the idols of our time and to then respond prophetically.
3) Earth – Keeping: Students will respond to God’s call to be stewards of all of creation.
4) Beauty – Creating: Students will celebrate God as the #1 CREATOR and understand that when we create things we show that we are made in God’s image. We offer praise to God by creating beautiful things. Our creativity makes God smile!
5) Justice – Seeking: Students will act as agents of change by identifying and responding to injustices.
6) Creation – Enjoying: Students will celebrate God’s beautiful creation.
7) Servant – Working: Students will work actively to heal brokenness and bring joy.
8) Community – Building: Students will be active pursuers and builders of communal shalom.
9) Image – Reflecting: Students bear the image of God in their daily lives. All humans are image reflectors.
10) Order – Discovering: Students will find harmony and order in God’s creation.
The Teaching for Transformation framework was developed within the Christian Schools International region to which Calvin belongs, the Prairie Centre for Christian Education. As a school, we value our membership within this region as it has helped Calvin Christian Schools develop and maintain a high standard in providing quality Christian education to our students. For that we are most grateful. We acknowledge our thanks to the many teachers and administrators who have helped develop and author this teaching framework.
Hank Vande Kraats
Head of School