August 14, 2019

Wisdom, Work, Worthy

Sinergia Summer Teacher's Academy

It was with absolute pleasure that we could partner with Sinergia to co-lead the first annual summer teachers' academy in the Dominican Republic! Over 80 teachers from both COCREF and ACSI schools joined together to worship, be inspired, and learn what it means to participate in God’s story as we educate the children placed in our respective schools. The beautiful grounds of Hotel Tranquila located in Jarabacoa provided a collaborative, relaxed, focused environment for learning. Colossians 1:9-12 framed our time together and challenged us to consider how our teaching practice aligns with our vision of transformational education. 

“Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us. Colossians 1: 9-12 The Message

Three words; Wisdom, Work, Worthyframed the conference as teachers and school leaders engaged in workshops about Project Based Learning, Restorative Practices, gracious classroom discipline and building a growth mindset in our respective schools. Some of our framing questions were; What if students were taught the importance of living well for their Master rather than just living well? What if the learning that happened in our schools was authentic meaningful work and not just preparation for work? What if the profits of educational rigor built character, not just the economy? Developing wisdom, cultivating a work ethic, and becoming worthy citizens in God’s world are the key dimensions of transformational learning. 

Like all good teaching instruction, we began with the end in mind. What is the Learning goal of Christian Education? Verse 12 of Colossians 1 sums it up well. It ends with thankfulness to our Father God, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. We are qualified to use all that we have been given, and individually and collectively become imitators of God, by being the hands and feet of Jesus, through the power of the Spirit. We have been given a purpose to make beautiful that which has been broken and are called to bring shalom to injustice. An incredible challenge but one we can do only through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Christian Education IS happening all over the world. It does not matter what language you speak, what culture you are immersed in or what nationality you belong to, we share in a common story. The story of the gospel; a beautiful narrative of love, and grace and hope. A story that we want to instill in our own families and the ones that we serve and a narrative that we hope each child we serve will live out in their own lives. This Story, the grand narrative that is woven through all that you/we do. 

And just for the record, Dominican culture is delightful! 

Audrey McGregor and Hannah Vanderwier

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