I have spent some time reading about questions lately. When engaging a problem, it is important to address questions rather than statements. Questions will stimulate conversation and opened ended discussion that will facilitate learning. Statements are definitive, and often stop the thinking process and the problem solving progression. Lower School students ask questions naturally, as we get older we often transition to statements. If you had the opportunity to attend the Science Extravaganza, hopefully you were able to visit our new MakerSpace in the high school building. Students and parents alike were challenged with task of delivering marshmallows from one table to another utilizing popsicle sticks and rubber bands in the form of a catapult. This rather ordinary task revealed the difference between statements and questions. Rather than ask about design or collaborate with others in the room through questions, individuals started working on their catapults. While some experienced success, many began making statements, this is hard. I quit. This is stupid. This is impossible…These were some of the most often stated mantras. The task was menial, so the comments were lighthearted, but I do think simple assignments reveal our natural inclination, this is difficult, I will try something else. One of the uses of our new MakerSpace is to teach students to fail. Sounds like an odd concept, but so much of school revolves around avoiding failure, that it has become a skill that needs to be taught. Students need to design, fail, redesign, improve, experiment, and produce. Our hope is that this space will provide an outlet for students to develop in collaborative project learning. Our middle school and high school leadership classes are set for two upcoming projects in the space. Stay tuned for more details, but until then, don’t be afraid to fail, just make sure you continue to move forward in the process. Students learn to ask questions through failure. Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana’s book Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions, identifies questions as the most foundational element of thinking. It is our goal to hone this skill in our students as we seek to develop life long learners and problem solvers.
Rothstein & Santana. (2011). Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions. Harvard Education Press: Cambridge.
As we enter the Christmas season, I am often reminded of my own childhood days…the anticipation of Christmas morning Before daybreak, my brothers and I would bound into the living room area to see what Santa had brought. Eyes wide with wonder and excitement, I recall just staring for a moment, trying to grasp the fact that the doll house I asked for was THERE! The beauty shop set was set up and waiting for the first appointment. Sometimes it took a few moments to understand that the gifts were all MINE! These were GIFTS, and even I knew that I had not been a good little girl all year. Even though I was smart enough to know I didn’t DESERVE them, they were still mine.
In the same manner, God gave His Son, Jesus as a gift to a world who really did not deserve Him, but because of His great love for us, He “gave His one and only Son.” The Christ child did come to be born, only to die for us. The gift is ours, even though we don’t deserve that gift. Often, I stare at the Cross, unable to comprehend the price that was paid just for me, and for YOU.
Song writer and vocalist, Amanda Cook, of Bethel worship, sings a song entitled, “May We Never Lose Our Wonder.” In that song she says, “Wide-eyed and mystified, may we be just like a child…staring at the beauty of our King.”
It is my prayer, that during this Christmas season, we will all keep our wonder, reflect on days gone by, and NEVER fail to thank God for the greatest gift of all…Jesus! Give Him what He wants this Christmas…your heart!
Who are you?
It is an interesting question to pose. On my personal social media, my profile states, husband, father, head of Winston Salem Christian School, and the pictures follow suit. My Instagram is an array of family pictures doing a wide variety of activities. I have gotten better at posting school pictures to the school account, so there are less of those on my personal account now, but overall, the description is fairly accurate. It is always a good study to compare who we say we are with how we portray ourselves. I keep a business card with me that reminds me of who I am, and I thought I would share it with you.
I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved. (Col. 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:4)
I have been redeemed. (Revelation 5:9)
I am a child of God. (John 1:12)
I have eternal life. (John 10:27)
I have been given peace. (John 14:27)
I am a joint heir with Christ. (Romans 8:17)
I was chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. (Ephesians 1:4)
I am a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
I am God’s workmanship...His handiwork. (Ephesians 2:10)
Our faculty will be studying Nancy Pearcey’s book Total Truth this year. This book is an in depth intellectual study on worldview. Martin Marty, a historical scholar on religion, stated that religion should serve two functions, a message on personal salvation, including a means to get right with God, as well as the secondary function of providing a lens by which the world should be viewed. While the 21st century Christian has certainly addressed the aspect of salvation, we have fallen short on developing a Christian worldview, and recognizing its importance. The goal is to develop a congruency with what we think, say, and do. This is a daily challenge for each of us, but one I pray that you take time to evaluate. The advantage of Christian education is the ability to see the world through the lens of scripture. At Winston Salem Christian School, one of our primary goals is to combat the secular worldview, and teach our students how to view the world through the lens on scripture. This is not a bubble providing protection for students, but a set of tools to understand the world we live in through the eyes of Christ.
This is a pretty self serving title for the Head of a Christian School, but I believe it to be true! Psalm 78 says that “We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders He has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep His commands.”
It is our goal at Winston Salem Christian School to use Christian education to develop a Biblical worldview within the context of a rigorous academic setting. Today Christian education serves as a means to tell this next generation of the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord. Christian education can play a significant role along with the church, and parents in shaping the mind of a child in what researcher George Barna is calling a post-Christian world.
George Barna identifies 24% of the Triad population as post Christian. (http://cities.barna.org/the-most-post-christian-cities-in-america/) This is not to be seen as a condemning statement on our culture, but it should alert the Christian community to the need for evangelism and discipleship. Christian education in conjunction with strong family units and church involvement offer families support against an overwhelming secular culture.
Winston Salem Christian School seeks to inspire and develop each student for Christ like engagement with the world. This is a high order, and not something done without significant work and planning. (The process of sanctification is a difficult one). This is a process to be carried out through the life of a student. The changing of the heart and the renewing of the mind is a life long relationship with the Holy Spirit and development of
spiritual disciplines. Students are taught to think from a biblical worldview. CS Lewis states, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because by it, I see everything else. Christianity should affect the way in which we see the world, but without a constantly renewed mind, the Christian is very susceptible to secular thinking.
This will not come as a shock to anyone, but I am a huge proponent of Christian education. There are over 10,000 hours of mind influence up for grabs in students from grades K-12. In a world that is experiencing moral decline, Christian education may be more important now than it ever has been. Christian author, Voddie Bauchman Jr., says “We cannot keep sending our kids to Caesar to be educated, and then be surprised when they return as Romans.” I write this to parents as we start the year to commend you for your commitment to Christian education. It is a sacrifice, but a noble pursuit as we understand Psalm 78. My prayer for my children and yours is “that they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep His commands.” Thanks for letting Winston Salem Christian School be part of this process in your family!