The Education of a “Peculiar People”
By Jennifer Van Hekken, WMCS PK-8 Curriculum Director & TfT Director
You may have heard the phrase “Teaching for Transformation” thrown around in various school communications and maybe you’re curious what it means.
Teaching for Transformation (TfT) is a program that is being integrated into Christian schools across the country, and we (the WMCS 5-school PK-12 system) are excited to be added to that esteemed list of schools.
The TfT model of education begins with three years of faculty training. Year one begins with eight modules, or lessons, delivered to all WMCS teachers. In the second year of TfT, twenty-five percent of the staff emerge as early adopters of the program and begin implementing the framework into their classrooms. Year three of TfT focuses on the training of the remaining three-fourths of the staff, moving the early adopters into a training role.
Our faculty is shifting into teaching for the purpose of transformation, not just the transfer of information.
As WMCS enters our second year of training, I’m excited to observe unique teaching and learning already taking shape in our schools. Our faculty is shifting into teaching for the purpose of transformation, not just the transfer of information. Our children experience a lot of noise (literal information overload) and teachers are challenged with competing with that. TfT has a way of breaking through the clutter, creating an emotional and spiritual connection that spurs a deeper learning experience that truly sticks. I am wholeheartedly convinced that this is the right way to do Christian education in the 20th Century!
Our children experience a lot of noise (literal information overload) and teachers are challenged with competing with that. TfT has a way of breaking through the clutter, creating an emotional and spiritual connection that spurs a deeper learning experience that truly sticks.
At WMCS it is our desire that beyond anything else, our students understand that they are a “peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9) who play an important role in God’s story and are set apart to do “good works which have been laid out for them in advance” (Ephesians 2:10). TfT equips teachers to weave this concept into all of their lessons, making for an impactful and transformational learning environment.
I am wholeheartedly convinced that this is the right way to do Christian education in the 20th Century!
Our early adopters are already capturing this vision in their classrooms through the addition of their Deep Hope for their students and the creation of a Storyline for their classrooms.
WMCS TfT Early Adopters Explain it Best
Athena Findlay (GHC) has chosen the Storyline “Find Your Purpose,” and is reminding her students through all of their English Language Arts studies that, as they read others’ stories, they themselves also play a role in God’s story, and they are challenged to consider their own purpose in that story.
Jen Menefee (MCS) has chosen the Storyline “Loved by God,” and spends time in her classroom reminding her students that all of the people groups that they study in Social Studies, as well as every student in the classroom, is loved by God, which changes how they see both themselves and others.
Nick Debone (WMC/MCS) has chosen the Storyline “Created to Worship.” He reminds his students that regardless of what type of music they are playing, what instrument they have chosen, and how difficult a piece can be, their ultimate goal is to understand that they were created to worship and that they get to use Band class to live that out.
Believers are God’s Own Special People
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; 1 Peter 2:9 (KJV)
As a 5-school PK-12 collaborative, we are so excited about the way that the TfT framework can continue to help us intentionally integrate faith and learning in a way that not only helps our students grow but also brings about transformation in both students’ and teachers’ lives.
For more information about the WMCS Teaching for Transformation program, please contact us!
This article appeared in the West Michigan Christian Schools PK-12 Faith Matters Newsletter, Fall 2019 print edition. To read the full newsletter click here.
West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS), is a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region, including Fremont Christian (PK-8), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), Muskegon Christian (PK-6) and New Era Christian (PK-8). The WMCS system works under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality PK-12 Christian Education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs.