by Susan Steele1
Teaching at an international faith-based school can be a great privilege, and it also provides many interesting challenges. Often schools have mission statements that include very lofty goals for our students. Phrases like “globally-minded believers” or “equipping students to influence their world through Biblical thought, character, and action” can make our job seem overwhelming as we deal with the daily tasks of lesson planning, grading, and dealing with students. Often things like Biblical Worldview Integration or Intercultural Integration are looked at as “one more thing” to add to a growing “to-do” list.
Here are some practical ideas to answer the following questions:
- How can I structure lesson planning to include integrations?
- How can the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of my students be leveraged to expand the worldview of all my students?
- Where can I go for more information and assistance with this process?
Often we think of Biblical integration as looking for where our content fits into Scripture. This can lead to frustration and a feeling of trying to force something into the lesson to make it seem more “Biblical.” The practice of using and developing worldview essential questions for our content can allow for more natural conversations with students about a Biblical worldview.
- What is the nature of external reality? (Applies to mathematics, science, history, and art)
- How do we know right from wrong? (Opens a door to interesting conversations about right and wrong in areas like mathematics, science, music, art, language arts…)
- What does the content I am teaching reveal about the nature of God and his world?
- How has the content I am teaching been distorted? (Engages well for literature as students learn more about human nature as expressed in literature.)
- What does it mean to be human and to be created in the image of God? (Applies to physical education, health, science, and social studies topics)
By framing our lessons using these questions, we can open the door for more authentic worldview interactions with students.
Our students come to us with a variety of cultural and linguistic experiences. This brings challenges as they often have gaps in their learning and academic vocabulary. It also brings opportunities to use their experiences to enhance learning for all our students.
Here are some basic questions that can be used at any level to help students access prior knowledge and share their cultural experiences:
- How did you learn that? (Useful in mathematics)
- Do you know that word in another language? (Helps with science vocabulary)
- Can you draw a diagram to show that concept? (Helps students express knowledge when lacking vocabulary)
- What is your experience with _____? (Applies with climates, geography, political systems, church differences…)
- What can we do about this problem in the world? (This question led to a project at my school in 7th-grade geography.) It can be phrased in the past or present, “What have you done?” or “What are you doing?”
In considering resources to help with integration, remember fellow teachers, your students, and their parents may have ideas. Have open conversations with teachers and students about what it means to be a globally-minded Christian. Maybe the parent of one of your students has an experience to share that would help broaden the worldview perspective of your students.
Helpful outside resources:
By Design: Developing a Philosophy of Education Informed by a Christian Worldview by Martha MacCullough (This one is used in the Christian Philosophy of Education course below.)
Building a Biblical Worldview: The Three Loves by Joe Neff
On Christian Teaching: Practicing Faith in the Classroom by David Smith
Teaching Redemptively by Donovan Graham
Virtuous Minds by Philip Dow
Undivided: Developing a Worldview Approach to Biblical Integration by Martha MacCullough
Online Courses available through ACSI (Association of Christian Schools) Europe—most courses start in February and/or April cost and about $100/course or less and count for Continuing Education Units for ACSI. For more information see www.acsieurope.org.
- Christian Philosophy of Education—meets the ACSI Philosophy requirement for schools with ACSI accreditation 8-week course starting in February
- Introduction to Biblical Integration (4 weeks)
- The Biblical View of the Student (4 weeks)
- The Impact of the Christian Worldview on Teaching (4 weeks)
- The Mission of the Christian School (4 weeks)
- International Collaborative Projects (4 weeks + implementation of a project with another school)