Shaping the Skills our Students Need
Dennis Marshall and I went to a two day seminar last week run by the Canterbury Primary Principals Association. We were able to visit a couple of other schools, where we were challenged and inspired by some of the fantastic things that are happening in schools around Christchurch.
The second day of the seminar was presented by Anne Knock, a member of the leadership team at Northern Beaches Christian School. She is a very inspiring woman and I often enjoy reading her blog – http://anneknock.com/.
She said a line that really struck me – “We are the adults in their world – we need to shape the skills that our students need.” In most educational contexts there is a lot of talk about how we are preparing students for a world that will be so different from our own. We think a lot about the pace at which the world is changing and it drives a lot of the changes that we see in education. Skills such as flexibility and lateral thinking, multi-media skills and collaboration are important skills for our children to have as they move into a world that continues to change at an exponential pace.
The thing that struck me though was wondering about the skills or characteristics that have remained fairly similar throughout time, and what the Bible says about these.
When God first made man-kind he recognised that people are in need of other people; He created us to be relational beings. I believe that no matter how quickly the world around us changes we still need the skills and character to be part of a community and have strong interpersonal relationships. To not help shape these skills in our children would be a complete dis-service to them.
God has always cared about the heart of people – their character, motivations and passions. His word teaches that we should be honest, that our yes should be yes and our no should be no, and that doing good without love is merely a loud clanging noise. His spirit develops love, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, peacefulness and self-control. In a world that is fast paced and changing, a strong character becomes something that children need in order to make positive choices for their lives and the lives of those around them.
From the beginning of creation God designed people to have an active role in the world. Adam and Eve had the role of being the stewards of the earth, and the new testament speaks of how we, as the Church, are God’s body here on earth, that He can work through us to bring good things to the world. It is important that we are giving our students the skills they need in order to make an impact on their world. The world is changing and fast paced, but we need to be giving our students the skills to be the ones creating the changes – that they might see a world that reflects more of the beauty of God.
It is interesting though because these age-old principles of God’s have such relevance to what we are currently calling innovative education. At Rolleston Christian School we are very much committed to providing an education that will equip our students for the world they will enter and have the opportunity to shape as adults, but we also know that God’s principles and values are as relevant today as they were 2000 years ago. The fun part is exploring these with our children, so they might be truly empowered to bring hope and joy to their world.