Category: Agora

 

 

Following on from the Royale Ormsby Martin Lecture entitled 'Teaching for Humanity' in 2016, we invited Dr Mark Stephens to address an Agora forum on the topic of ‘The Integrity of Commitment: Formation not Inoculation’.

The two talks have a great deal of synergy as we continue to consider the impact of secularism and our endeavour to present Christ in our Schools. It is no surprise to say that Western culture has substantially altered its relationship to religion. This has impacted the way education is framed and it has had a peculiar impact on faith-based schools. The greatest impact has been the shift in the way people think and the questions that are asked of, or about faith.


This is part two of a two-part series.

As educators it is vital that we look at ways to work in our communities so that genuine partnership builds capacity for effective parental engagement, connecting learning at school, in the home, and in the community. Increasing parent engagement may be an ideal place for schools and community services to collaborate. While schools are pedagogy experts, community service agencies are experts in engaging all families but particularly those that are vulnerable.

Christian history is full of violence, corruption, and oppression. So, would we be better off without Christianity? Does religion poison everything? The history of the church offers plenty of ammunition to its critics. Crusades, inquisitions, witch hunts, the oppression of women ...

This article is part one of a two-part series.


‘The way schools care about children is reflected in the way schools care about the children’s families. If educators view children simply as students, they are likely to see the family as separate from the school. That is, the family is expected to do its job and leave the education of children to the schools. If educators view students as children, they are likely to see both the family and the community as partners with the school in children’s education and development’ (Epstein, 2009).

We need to talk about resilience. The term’s been around for a long time, well, at least for a couple of decades in education. Perhaps it has been around long enough to be taken for granted. The focus of the recent EdComm Conference was on Resilient Teaching. I asked some of the attendees how familiar they were with the term. Some said they’d been thinking about it as an individual but it was not a topic that had received much attention at their school. Others said they were having lively debates with their fellow teachers about the relevance of resilience (and wellness) and had registered for the conference to find out what Dr Donald Guthrie had to say about it. In fact, three respondents from different schools said that their principals had sponsored up to a dozen staff to attend the conference with a view to promoting informed discourse and practical action with the rest of the staff on their return.

Martin Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology, was one of the earliest researchers to study the characteristics that underpin flourishing. His book Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology, published in 2002, popularised his ideas about how to flourish. Before this, the focus of psychology had been to investigate disorder: why mental illness occurred and how to treat it. Because Dr Seligman believes that his research findings show that an individual can strengthen many of the aspects of behaviour and the virtues he showed to underpin resilience, he would answer YES to the question ‘do we have a choice?’

Educators are regularly reported as belonging to the one of the most stressful occupations. The effects of stress are leading to low teacher retention rates and a high prevalence of burnout. There has to be a better way! How can teachers set about reducing their feelings of burnout and improve motivation and work engagement?

It is my hope that the services and support provided by EdComm will equip teachers and schools in their mission to deliver biblically-based teaching and pastoral support for the students and families in their care.

Trust should be integral to the framing of our spiritual, professional and personal lives as many elements of trust are intertwined in the way we behave in these three aspects. At the Agora meeting in April 2017 Dr McCulla and Dr Marks spoke on recent international research...

International evidence says today’s schooling is out of step with producing students with the skills to survive and thrive in the complex and demanding 21st century. Instead of resilient life-long learners schools are producing dependent, passive high and low achievers who frequently lack resilience and real world intelligence. 

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