A lot has been written about biblical integration in the classroom. Many valuable conversations with excellent educators in biblical worldview teaching and new texts on Christian worldview instruction are getting new coverage and encouragement that has schools more attentive to this than ever before. And, as CARDUS research shows, biblical integration has a real impact on the worldview and life choices of our graduates.
Primarily, these resources are designed to equip and train professionals who are already capable teachers. Todd Williams says, “if you want integrated teaching hire integrated people.” I’d add, “or people capable of integration.” How can we expect people to integrate unless we equip them? Once equipped and supported, though, it is the least we can expect.
Thinking about biblical integration in the Christian school, led me to think more generally about school leadership. This includes administrative leaders (team or function leaders, department chairs, division heads and heads of school) and board governance. My own experience on a school board informs my only personal experience in leading a school. But my opportunities to observe many other school leaders also contributes to my thinking. So how well do we integrate faith in these settings outside of the classroom? How do we live a biblical worldview in the way we do Christian school?
One way is how we work with one another in front of students, their families and other coworkers. Do we hold one another accountable to biblical virtues like hard work, preparation, cooperation and support? Do we do accountability with biblical motives or selfish ones? Do we demonstrate, through our own willingness to help colleagues, a right view of servant hood, Christian community, even generosity? As we strengthen our schools through giving teachers greater training in worldview integration in their curriculum, we also make that instruction more believable as biblical integration is demonstrated by the way they do their jobs.
Or consider the arts. A Christian school with an integrated biblical view of the aesthetic demonstrates that it values beauty and creativity. It shows that the arts can teach some of the great themes of creation, the fall, redemption and consummation. We can also touch on many other ideas (suffering and eternity as two examples) in a biblical framework that our students can learn from. Read more on a Christian model of aesthetics.
These are just a few of the areas worth thinking about when we consider how our world view informs our operations. How are your schools doing this well? How well are our leaders equipped to think biblically in some of these areas? I’ll share some more thoughts on this same topic next and hope that you feel free to share your thoughts.
Paul T. Neal (paul.neal@cace.) is Sr. Vice President for Marketing and Enrollment at Cairn University and co-founder of Charter Oak Research where he serves as Principal and Chief Research Officer. Charter Oak Research is a marketing research and consulting firm focused on resourcing and supporting Christian schools and colleges, other Christian ministries and for profit organizations. Charter Oak brings marketing research to bear on the strategy and tactics of enrollment and advancement needs of clients to improve brand awareness, perception and sustainability. Paul has presented and been published on: the use of normative data in analysis, respondent motives, trends in education and online communities and respondent quality. Prior to founding Charter Oak Research, Paul was a Principal at Olson Research Group for 15 years as well as serving as the Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Federalism at Temple University responsible for qualitative research on political culture and U.S. Public Policy. Paul has served as an adjunct faculty member at several Philadelphia area universities. Paul is a graduate of Eastern (B.A.) and Villanova (M.A.) Universities and attended Temple University for further graduate study.