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Friday, September 22, 2017

Seeing Snails In Context


Last week I wrote about the problem of secularized education. What exactly does secularized education look like?

It looks like a biology class that never discusses God's purpose for living things, or how plants and animals fit into God's plan for humans to govern over creation, or how living things fit into our calling to love people, and what responsibilities (under God) we have with respect to plants and animals, or what plants and animals reveal about the character of the Creator, etc., etc. 

It is the bigger picture of reality that brings meaning to a subject, beyond the subject matter itself. Secularized education separates academic subject matter from the bigger picture of reality.

What does DE-secularized education look like?

It looks like the example below, from Lighthouse Christian School, in Gig Harbor, Washington, under the excellent leadership of my friends Stephen Roddy and Cindy Mathisen. 
For the past 3 years, Lighthouse Christian School has been working with Worldview Matters in a rigorous teacher-training program called, the WRAP [Worklife Restoration and Advancement Project]. One of the instructional tools the teachers are trained to use is the "Conversation Starter."

This tool helps teachers organize their thoughts on how they might help students understand whatever they are studying in the context of a larger frame-of-reference: the frame-of-reference provided by the biblical view of God, Creation, Humanity, Moral Order and Purpose.

In the example below, students are seeing snails in context. You might say they are "contextualizing snails." 

This is not something you'll find in secularized schools. DE-secularized education unites academic subjects with the bigger picture of reality. It brings meaning to the subject, beyond the subject matter itself. I call it “wholistic” education.

This is real education for the real world. It is putting academic subject matter into the context of the bigger picture of everything, or, the biblical worldview. In the process, it strengthens relationships with the Creator, as well as with fellow human beings.

Below are students from Mrs. Kim Tarr's 2nd grade class, "contextualizing" snails:

Mrs. Tarr had the students work in 5 small groups. Each group had 1 question to discuss. This group focused on the question: "What purpose does God see in a snail?"

This group focused on the question: "What is BEST about snails?" (No doubt these boys loved that question!)

Mrs. Tarr posted the students' finished work on the wall, and the class had a large-group discussion. 

How would you answer this question?

This is the actual graphic organizer, called the "Conversation Starter," that Mrs. Tarr used to organize her thoughts ahead of the students' conversation about snails. Click the image to enlarge it, and read Kim's comments about each of these questions. You will see thought-provoking questions related to the 5 worldview components of God, Creation, Humanity, Moral Order and Purpose. 

If you are a school principal wanting to discuss the WRAP program via telephone or an Internet video connection with me (Christian Overman), send me a note to set up a time, here.

We work with educators in any part of the world through our distance learning program. We have trained educators in Africa, Latin America, Asia, as well as the U.S.A., through the Internet successfully. 

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