Christian School Blog
certain variety of caterpillar forages for food in a single file, each
caterpillar with his head in firm contract with the tail of the one in front of
him. They proceed in this fashion until the leader has located a feeding area. One day a naturalist placed a line of processionary caterpillars,
as they are called, on the rim of a flowerpot, and succeeded in getting the
head of the leader connected with the tail of the one at the end of the line. The caterpillars then formed an unbroken circle around the rim of
the flowerpot. They proceeded to march without stopping for many hours. Each of
the creatures apparently was depending upon the one in front of him to lead the
way to food. They kept on until they dropped from fatigue. Now that school has been in session for a few weeks, do you find
yourself caught in the habit of approaching your lessons in the same fashion?
Maybe it is time for a change. Adding variety to
your daily instructional activities will foster a greater level of motivation
and enthusiasm. One way to vary instruction is to change your reinforcers. Try
something different. See our website under professional development for
suggestions. A third way is to use student ideas. When this happens student
interest will increase and the content will be more relevant. The
Internet is full of suggestions on how to add variety to your instruction.
A certain variety of caterpillar forages for food in a single file, each caterpillar with his head in firm contract with the tail of the one in front of him. They proceed in this fashion until the leader has located a feeding area.
One day a naturalist placed a line of processionary caterpillars, as they are called, on the rim of a flowerpot, and succeeded in getting the head of the leader connected with the tail of the one at the end of the line.
The caterpillars then formed an unbroken circle around the rim of the flowerpot. They proceeded to march without stopping for many hours. Each of the creatures apparently was depending upon the one in front of him to lead the way to food. They kept on until they dropped from fatigue.
Now that school has been in session for a few weeks, do you find yourself caught in the habit of approaching your lessons in the same fashion? Maybe it is time for a change. Adding variety to your daily instructional activities will foster a greater level of motivation and enthusiasm.
One way to vary instruction is to change your reinforcers. Try something different. See our website under professional development for suggestions.
A third way is to use student ideas. When this happens student interest will increase and the content will be more relevant. The Internet is full of suggestions on how to add variety to your instruction.
Finally, allow the Holy Spirit to be your team teacher and give you creative ideas. When released in the classroom the Holy Spirit will quicken understanding (1 Cor. 2:9-16; Isa. 11:2). Secondly, according to the Word of God, the Holy Spirit will offer new patterns of thinking and acting. (2 Cor. 5:17). If you want creativity to flow in your classroom, let your team teacher offer new ways of doing things. And thirdly, the Holy Spirit as your team teacher will facilitate teaching and make learning happen (1 John 2:20-27). To facilitate means to make things easier. Not only do you want things to go easier in the classroom, so do your students.
As Christian schools look forward to enrollment for next year, the goal for each school should be to see enrollment increase. Regardless of enrollment patterns in the past, God wants to do a new thing this coming year in every Christian school. How many students can your school facility hold? Why not believe God for full enrollment and then more?
As you begin the enrollment process, consider these verses found in Isaiah 43:5-7: “Fear not; for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; Even every one that is called by my name; for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” Then in verses 18,19: “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (KJV)
Going Beyond the Norm
God is looking for Christian schools that go beyond the basics of providing a Christ-centered environment where learning takes place. He is looking for schools to increase and where all learning and training is presented in light of His uncompromising Word. He is looking to direct parents to schools where the secular and sacred are not separated; rather, they are interwoven into a lifestyle that leads to words, thoughts, and actions that bring glory to the Creator-God.
God is looking to expand schools where the school staff are willing to brings students to a point where they can see things as God sees them; where they can think God’s thoughts and evaluate their thoughts, words and actions in light of God’s Word – to live by the Word of God and to be led by the Spirit of God.
He is looking to grow schools that are willing to reveal God in all the students. As God is revealed to the students in all they do, He will cause the Kingdom of God to flow through their lives to others. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. . . that the life of Jesus might be made manifest in our body” (2 Cor. 4:6-10).
As you think over your enrollment strategies for this spring and summer, allow the Holy Spirit to give you some new creative ideas. When promoting your facilities, staff, curriculum, student activities, sports programs, do not forget to promote Jesus. Schools have this promise, “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to me" (John 12:32). When Jesus is lifted up in all of these afore mentioned areas, He will draw students to Him and to your school.
For more ideas on summer promotional strategies, see School Improvement on our website at www.delpublications.com.
As schools get closer to the end of the school year, the question often arises, “Should Johnny be promoted to the next grade level or held back? For many schools there is no consistent promotion and retention policy. As long as schools are organized as graded-schools, there will be those who do not qualify for advancement to the next grade. Given the large body of educational research supporting the negative aspects of retention, schools are modifying their promotion policies to reduce the number of non-promotions.
Think of retention this way. Suppose you need to drive from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Dallas, Texas. Under normal conditions and with an adequate vehicle and plenty of gas, you should make Dallas in five hours. Let us say, after five hours, you only reach Oklahoma City just 100 miles from Tulsa, for whatever reason—car malfunction, detours in the road, accident, etc. Should you be sent all the way back to Tulsa and told to start all over? Unless your car is repaired, the road fixed, more gas put in the tank or detours eliminated, there is no assurance you will make it to Dallas a second time.
Retaining a student at a grade level for a second year without attempting to deal with the reasons affecting his rate of learning gives no assurance that the student will be any more successful on the second trip.
When a student fails to advance as expected, it is possible that the fault rests as much with the school and teacher as with the student. Dr. Bruce Wilkinson, author of The 7 Laws of the Learner, states, “It is the responsibility of the teacher to do everything in his power to cause the student to learn.” Consider the following strategies:
Assessment. Incorporate a system that accurately assesses individual and group progress toward achieving curriculum objectives (prescribed learner outcomes). As soon as it is evident that students are not making progress, look for reasons within the entire teaching-learning environment, not just the student.
Class Periods. Consider extending the class period, school day, time allocated to a specific skill, or even the school year (summer classes) to accommodate individual differences in the learning rate. If summer school in not an option, develop an individual study program for the student over the summer, where the student can work on mastering the objectives that were missed; then, re-evaluate the retention decision before the start of the new school year.
Instructional Adjustment. Permit teachers to adjust instructional programs, materials and methods to better meet the growth pattern of their pupils. Have students work with a classroom aide or tutor.
Reading Materials. Provide reading materials within each classroom that cover a wide range of difficulty over several “grade levels.”
Class Size. Promote smaller class sizes for teachers. Encourage them to adjust their teaching methods and to focus on small group and individual skill development.
Communication. Keep parents regularly informed about the progress of their children in all aspects of the school curriculum (daily or weekly if needed). Solicit their support and assistance in helping their child(ren) achieve specific learner outcomes.
Training. Sponsor a school-wide in-service, conference or video series, such as The 7 Laws of the Learner, The 7 Laws of the Teacher, and Teaching With Style, to equip your teaching staff to meet the needs of their students.
Computerization. Investigate using computer-aided instruction in a wide variety of subjects. For example, tutorial software is designed to teach a subject as well as drill over it. Programs are intended to stand alone as an instructional entity in the curriculum. Thus, the computer is the teacher for a particular skill or area of information.
Use tutorial programs in the classroom under the direction of the teacher, or send them home with the student to be monitored by the parent. Some schools include a variety of tutorial programs in their school library, making them available for checkout by students and parents.
Other programs can assist with drill and practice. Incorporate these programs to supplement the regular instruction. For example, concepts which have been presented in the classroom by the teacher can be practiced and refined by the computer (a good example is Skills Bank III).
Word of God. Bring the uncompromised Word of God to bear on academic challenges. Declare Ephesians 2:10 over your students, “For (your students) are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works....” Part of the good works of students are good grades.
Help students to guard their words. Words can help create within them a conquering attitude thus stimulating faith rather than doubt. Their belief, coupled with God's promises, gives your students God's ability and power to overcome any homework assignment, special project, quiz, nine-week test, or any other school challenge.