So you’ve read and heard a lot about why we teach Christian values. But have you wondered how to get started?Have you wished for more ideas on how to do this important work?
The first step to integrating faith and values in teaching, learning, and living is preparing personally. Spend time alone with God in order to know, love and serve Him yourself. Take time to think deeply and creatively about what the Adventist philosophy of education looks like in action in your educational ministry. Also, increase your understanding of human development in order to be able to teach each student at their level. Once you have prepared personally, what are the practical steps you can use to integrate faith into your classroom?
Preparing for a workshop recently, I revisited Southern Asia Pacific Division‘s eight approaches to integrating faith and values in teaching and learning. These approaches provide a strong framework for faith integration. The eight approaches are to:
- Explain the philosophy and rationale of teaching this subject, from a biblical perspective.
- Create a spiritual atmosphere open to faith and values education.
- Respect family faith and invite and prepare students to participate in the mission of the church.
- Inspire values-driven living through telling the stories of model Christian contributors.
- Add essential Adventist content to required curriculum.
- Use REBIRTH or another values framework to teach what values take priority.
- Link topics or themes in the subject(s) you teach to faith and virtues.
- Use supporting resources and share resources you develop.
Once you have an understanding of the approaches, check out these short downloadable guides for 10 elementary and 14 high school subjects. They provide ideas for practical ways to integrate each of the 8 approaches in specific subjects. Read each approach for your desired subject and consider how you can apply it to your teaching. Note applications for each approach in each subject you teach. Once you are familiar with the suggested approaches and examples in your chosen subject area, integrate these in your teaching plans. Focus on evaluating and updating one area at a time.
Consider inviting other teachers at your school to join you in learning and applying each approach. Collect and record ideas you gain from implementing these approaches. Together, you will be inspired to keep improving so students keep on learning Christian values in all your classes.
When used with required curriculum, these approaches provide a wealth of ideas for teaching Christian values and faith in any setting. The better you are acquainted with these approaches, the sooner they will come to mind when you are teaching or planning for faith-integrated learning.
Your journey to teaching Christian values and character begins with the first step. Take that step and see where God will take you and your students.