How can you get beyond merely integrating a biblical worldview into your curriculum and move toward curriculum integration as a means for your entire school community to participate authentically in the biblical story?
At CSI, we believe that a sound biblical worldview integration (BWVI) process asks school faculties to delve deep into the question of their place in the biblical story. This necessarily precludes any pre-packaged or top-down approach that neglects the value of asking a faculty to collaborate and think deeply about the biblical Big Story. The process is as important as the product. Here I reprise last month’s blog reference to Daniel Pink’s work on intrinsic motivation. Pink said, “There are at least three aspects that foster intrinsic motivation. The first is autonomy, or self-direction.” According to Pink, for most of us, “our ‘default’ setting is to be autonomous and self-directed.” The second aspect is mastery, or becoming better at something that matters. Pink says this “turns out to be the single most motivating aspect of many jobs.” Third, there is purpose: “Humans, by their nature, seek purpose—to make a contribution and to be part of a cause greater and more enduring than themselves.”
Once the all-important collaboration around the Big Story takes place, it is vital to continue collaborating around the development of tools to integrate that Big Story in at least two significant aspects of your school: your curriculum and your overall school life. The former makes the Big Story come alive in learning, the latter in living. One involves teaching and curriculum, the other the practicing of shalom in our own communities. Once again, the process is as important as any written guidelines or actual practices that result from it.
What is the surest way to establish a Reformed perspective on life and learning? What is necessary in order for your faculty and community to have a heart-and-soul commitment to a biblical worldview? These two things:
- A collaborative process around the understanding the Big Story.
- Continuing collaboration to make that story come alive in both the teaching and the life of the school community.
Such an effort is foundational to establishing a school’s Reformed perspective on life and learning. More importantly, each school collaborating to develop its own self-conscious, proactive, curriculum-embedded, and authentic framework will provide that school with the tools it needs to intentionally live out that story in its own community. This has a very distinct and significant advantage over any pre-packaged program that does not benefit the school faculty by asking faculty members to work through the heart and soul of the matter.
Does this actually work? Here are some excerpts from one school’s experience with the above:
- It helped us create discipleship practices that can be consistent throughout our school and gives us a common focus as we integrate biblical worldview throughout our curriculum.
- It is not a package, but a collaborative process, that helped us develop our understanding of the Big Story of the Bible, key to the process of biblical worldview implementation.
- The process allowed strong teacher input.
- The discussion was excellent and critical for the next step, which is identifying what characteristics our students need to be able to bring healing to the brokenness in our world.
- This process will be so valuable going forward because we will have a unifying focus and allow biblical worldview integration to be so much more than knowledge; there will be a significant focus on application in our community as well.
Finally, imagine a network of many CSI schools, all informing each other and sharing their BWVI processes and products. This would have the dual advantage of allowing each faculty to collaborate internally and then to share with, and learn from, other schools as well.
– Bart Den Boer, worldview specialist