Last week I attended the Kuyers Institute Conference on “Virtues, Vices, and Teaching.” The focus of the conference was on pedagogical practices that instill virtue in students. The big question addressed in the sessions was “how do we as educators build the character of our students (focusing more on who students become rather than what students learn) while still being faithful to the content of our discipline?” It was a great conference and I’m still processing many of the ideas. There was an entire session of papers that focused specifically on this issue in math education. Hopefully I will be able to cajole the authors of those papers to share their ideas here. For now, I would like to share one resource that was presented at the conference: the website www.whatiflearning.com.
From the website, here is a summary of this new resource:
This site is for teachers who want their classrooms to be places with a Christian ethos or atmosphere, whatever the subject or age group they teach. It explores what teaching and learning might look like when rooted in Christian faith, hope, and love. It does this by offering over 100 concrete examples of creative classroom work and an approach that enables teachers to develop their own examples. “What if Learning” is a “distinctively Christian” approach developed by an international partnership of teachers from Australia, the UK, and the USA. It is based on the premise that a Christian understanding of life makes a difference in what happens in classrooms. Its aim is to equip teachers like you to develop their distinctively Christian teaching and learning strategies for their own classrooms.
I still need to explore this resource in more detail, but from everything that I have seen thus far, I am quite impressed. On the website’s Examples Page there are 10 concrete examples of what it looks like to teach math from a distinctly Christian perspective. Here are the titles of those 10 lessons with link to their content:
- Community and Math: What if math created a community in which all could achieve?
- Math and Giving: What if a math lesson helped students to think about giving?
- Math Questions: What if math caused students to ask big questions?
- Math and Justice: What if teaching percentages were about people’s lives?
- Pie Charts and Giving: What if making pie charts were connected to giving?
- Percentages and Injustice: What if teaching percentages made students aware of injustice?
- Math and Forgiveness: What if success in math depended on forgiveness?
- Graphs and Delight: What if learning about graphing led to delighting others?
- Pie Charts and Truth: What if pie charts were about facing truth?
- Math and Measuring: What if math raised questions about what we can measure?
A shortcut link to these lessons will be included under the resource tab as well as the link side bar on the right.