ACSI Vol 17.3 : Page 7

We are not alone in working to outline the character-istics of a Christian pedagogy. For example, on its website [], Ohio Valley University (a Christian liberal arts college located in West Virginia) lists fifteen characteristics of a framework for Christian classroom teaching and suggests that instructors and faculty members integrate faith and learning in as many ways as possible. We have adapted their list into eleven characteristics of Christian teaching. What Does Christian Pedagogy Look Like? So, here we ask what Christian pedagogy might look like. Although we believe it would be unwise to suggest a one-size-fits-all Christian pedagogy (Christian pedagogy should differ for different contexts), we do believe that Christian pedagogy would have certain characteristics. These include: 1. Uniqueness: Christian pedagogy should recognize A CHRISTIAN CLASSROOM SHOULD: 1. be open to, encourage, and appreciate a variety of opinions 2. engage inviting and approachable pedagogy 3. celebrate students’ individual diversity 4. promote corporate and individual responsibility 5. integrate academic work and personal life 6. consider, engage, and assess work fairly 7. promote critical thinking 8. encourage high learning standards for all students and teachers 9. draw information from a wide variety of sources 10. create assignments that help students express themselves as both individuals and community members 11. build relationships both within classrooms and the wider community. each child as uniquely gifted and offer each child dignity that extends from her/his creation in God’s image. Such dignity is inalienable. In the course of learning, Christian pedagogy should act upon narrative possibilities that arise from God’s unique and diverse creations. No child is without dignity and gift, and Christian pedagogy, as far as possible, educes those gifts in the learning process. As Christian educators, our hope and vocation should be to recognize and encourage children’s unique gifts and foster individual flourishing within a supportive learning community. 2. Relationship: Christian pedagogy should actively engage children to share their selves with others. When building relationships in learning environments, we recognize that power exists between and among teachers and students that requires the maintenance of healthy boundaries by those in power. However, relationships that are nurtured and mentored within educational communities are key factors in facilitating student flourishing. Such relationships are recipro-cal insofar as each of us is affected by and affects the James K. A. Smith’s book Desiring the Kingdom (2009, p. 25) critically asks whether classrooms fill students with fine ideas and deep thoughts, while secular cultural liturgies shape students’ habits, character, and way of life. Smith’s calling out the power of cultural liturgies implies how crucial and critical pedagogy can be. We believe Christians should help students see the world honestly and critically, and that a redemptive Christian pedagogy can be part of the critique of and dialogue within society. Trevor Cairney, in New Perspectives on Anglican Education (Cairney, Cowl-ing & Jensen, 2011), believes pedagogy ultimately shapes the very nature, climate, and culture of classrooms. He sug-gests that Christian pedagogy requires teachers to mirror the person of Christ in their daily pedagogical choices. other when we participate openly and appropriately in learning. 3. Community: Community building edifies individu-als in ways isolated work cannot. Our belief reflects an understanding of interconnectedness as a foundational value informing Christian life. The idea of the Common Good—acting towards the best interests of present and future communities at large—takes seriously a prefer-ential option for the poor and vulnerable among us, and expects that community functions more cohesively than collections of individual interests. Rather, community speaks to the power of shared purpose and care for oth-ers—it welcomes everyone to the table of flourishing. Characteristics of Christian Pedagogy . cse Volume 17 Number 3 . 2013/2014 7

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