Fifty science teachers from various grade levels convened in Grand Rapids, Michigan, November 17–18 for two days of instruction in Van Andel Education Institute's Community of Practice model. Half of the teachers represented Association of Christian Schools International member schools and the other half represented teachers from Christian Schools International member schools.
While the training over the two days was intense, there was a buzz of energy and excitement in the room about the entire experience as teachers from both organizations interacted and learned from each other. Teachers felt valued and fully engaged in the opportunity. In turn, the VAEI staff was impressed by the teachers’ passion for science education and dedication to improving their craft. Many networking connections were made among all 50 teachers, with plans to continue to learn and grow within this professional community over the next year.
Here are some comments from ACSI and CSI teachers who attended.
“I would highly recommend that any science teacher try to attend, as this training gives teachers freedom in science and promotes more critical thinking in students and how we approach the formation of our lessons and the content they contain.”
“The joy of weaving content-rich biblical integration into the engaging scientific inquiry process was promoted well.”
“It [the CoP model] seems very applicable and hands on. I want my students to fall in love with science, and I feel like the CoP model helps with that.”
“The workshop did a fabulous job of being practical and yet keeping the big picture of Christian worldview in mind and being sure to explicitly mention (through the facilitators) this in the discussions.”
“I think it [the CoP model] dovetails perfectly with 21st-century learning because it is collaborative, it encourages critical thinking, and it encourages communication not only of scientific language, but of ideas and worldview.”
“The linear form of the scientific method is so ingrained in me (and others) from our own educational experiences. I love that the CoP model has a lot more freedom of direction. This gives students a lot more potential for critical thinking and discovery.”
CSI is grateful to the donors who underwrote this experience so that teachers could attend at a very low cost. Plans are in the works to offer the academy again in 2017.