In this third Part of looking at the topic of ‘What we Believe Informs our Actions’, I want to delve a little into what we believe about learning. Underlining our educational philosophy is the understanding that God is the creator of all things; all truth is of God and all knowledge and wisdom is of God, and sitting alongside this, God has created us all, fearfully and wonderfully, in his image: our diversity is intentional, therefore should be valued.
One of my favourite verses is Proverbs 25:2: ‘It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; it is the glory of kings to search it out.’
After centuries of learned men and women revealing the hidden mysteries of this incredible world we live in, there is still so much more to discover. The journey of learning should be filled with awe and wonder; it should engage us and cause us to ask questions and dig deeper – it should lead us to a wide eyed, jaw dropping understanding of ourselves, our fellow humans, the world and our God. However, this understanding should not stop with our head, but connect with our heart and flow out of our hand.
Our approach to teaching and learning is not just concerned with the head – the cognitive learning. It is concerned with the heart and with equipping the hand. Biblically, it is the metaphorical heart (kardia) which is the seat of forming character and learning. The ‘heart’ reflects the essence of a person’s life and shapes their character, and out of this the hand is moved to respond. Hence, this brings us back to our vision to prepare students to influence their world with integrity.
This preparation requires a holistic approach; melding together curriculum, identifying and establishing learning dispositions; character development and pastoral care. Our curriculum is designed to develop deep understandings and to enable students to use what they have learned. A great example of this was seen during the 5/6 unit “Walking in someone Else’s Shoes- the journey of a refugee’, the class became aware of a particular situation and rallied together to raise funds to assist. This wasn’t planned in the unit, but was a response to what they had learned. Head, Heart, and Hand in action – this is education.
Thrown into this mix, of course, is our very intentional approach to teaching specific skills in communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, inquiry and analysis as well as establishing right thinking – habits of mind, such as Growth mindset principles that actually enable student to be part of searching out the great hidden mysteries of this world, and to achieve their full capacity. We provide avenues for every child, no matter where they are on the learning continuum, to keep growing and to flourish. After all, God assigned glory to man for searching out the hidden truths and he will also cause us to flourish in the process.