Throughout our history, East Linn Christian has been focused on integrating faith and learning in everything we do. In 2018, we started on a journey to further develop that strength—the implementation of the Teaching for Transformation (TfT) curriculum planning model.
“The primary goal of Christian education is the formation of a peculiar people, a people who desire the kingdom of God and thus undertake their life’s expression of that desire.”
-James K. A. Smith
Teaching for Transformation is a program that provides a framework for teachers to inspire their students to live out their Christian beliefs in action and not be satisfied with just "head-knowledge".
We pursue deeper learning by considering each learning experience as an exploration of a small narrative chapter in God's story. Educators design curriculum in which students not only learn about the stories of the world, they also serve as agents of change in response to what they learn, engaging in real work, thinking critically and creatively about how to work with God to restore the fallen brokenness of the world.
Teaching for Transformation: 3 Core Practices
Every Christian school classroom must have a powerful and compelling vision of the Kingdom that creates a longing and a desire within every student to play their part in God’s unfolding Story of creation-fall-redemption-restoration.
Every unit and every learning experience tells a story. The TfT framework tries, using the story discovered in each unit of study, to create a powerful and compelling image of God’s Story. The TfT framework invites students to imagine his or her place in God’s Story – now. TfT does this by connecting the story of each unit with opportunities to tangibly practice living in the grand narrative. Each student and teacher will begin to create a personal “storyline” and articulate how they see themselves living in God’s epic drama.
Every Christian school classroom must have an articulated and inspiring student profile that invites every student to imagine how to play their part in God’s story.
Throughlines are big picture ideas around which we can organize curriculum. Throughlines are qualities/characteristics that we desire students to develop as God is revealed to them in all things. They are discipleship concepts that guide our living. These characteristics describe how we can become part of the restoration of creation. They answer, “How NOW shall I live?” Throughlines weave the big ideas into a transformational worldview. A key component of the TfT program is that teachers are challenged not simply to tell the students about the Throughlines but to provide actual opportunities for the students to “live” the chosen Throughlines in each unit.
Every Christian school classroom must provide authentic (real work, real people, real need) opportunities for students to practice living the Kingdom Story. This practices then becomes a habit, with habits shaping who we are and what we do.
Students must be given the opportunity to do God’s work NOW – to be active and creative in God’s Story. Meaningful work creates a sense of purpose in their lives, and draws students more powerfully to God’s Story. As the name suggests, Formational Learning Experiences are designed to form the students’ hearts and actions as well as their minds, equipping students to become people who live and breathe God’s Story. Research and experience suggest that formational learning best emerges from experiences that get at our gut and touch our heart.
We promise to design formational learning experiences that:
- Invite every student to explore their role in the Kingdom Story
- Nurture every student to desire to be a peculiar person
- Empower every student to practice their life’s expression