Do you ever wonder what might be happening on Pro-D days, while students are enjoying a day away from classes?
Over the past several years, the Ministry of Education has been developing a new “BCEd Plan,” which represents a shift in approach and curricular emphasis in K-12 education. There are opportunities and challenges as we plan for BCEd Plan implementation. At the secondary school, Burl Jantzen is providing leadership as we first focus on the foundational ideas of the BCEd Plan and on their points of intersection with distinctly Christian education. At our Fall Pro-D day, we discussed the role of education in providing a narrative that addresses the fundamental questions of life. As human beings, we live our lives, whether consciously or not, from the point of view of an over-arching story. There are many stories (narratives) present in our culture; through Christian education, we aim to teach and form students to live within the narrative of the gospel of the kingdom of God. Here is a summary of the areas of life that narratives address – and some of the ways that the gospel narrative speaks to these areas:
Narratives explain where we come from: In the gospel narrative, we are created beings, and are a part of the whole of God’s good creation. Because of sin, there is brokenness in creation; this includes broken relationships with our Creator, with other people, with the rest of creation, and with ourselves.
Narratives explain where we are going: The good news of the gospel narrative is that God is restoring all of creation and, through Christ, is redeeming the world and establishing the kingdom of God.
Narratives construct ideals: The central ideal of the kingdom of God is Shalom. In his book, Educating for Shalom, Nicholas Wolterstorff describes shalom as a vision of human flourishing in which people live in right relationships with God, with ourselves, with others, and with all of creation – and take delight in such relationships.
Narratives prescribe rules of conduct: The gospel narrative sums up rules of conduct as love of God and love of others. We are called to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.
Narratives provide a source of authority: Our scriptures point us to the living Word of God, Christ the King, as our authority.
Narratives give a sense of continuity and purpose: When we look to Christ as our authority, we see through his life and teaching that we are called to participate with God in establishing his kingdom – a kingdom of justice and mercy, and a place of shalom.
These are BIG ideas! As Christian educators, our aim is that students will become people whose lives are informed and formed by the gospel narrative. Such lives will be hope-filled lives of love for God and neighbour. As we continue to work towards the implementation of the BCEd Plan, our task is to assess our educational plans in light of this overarching goal. Throughout this year, we’ll be using our Early Start Pro-D times on Wednesdays to work with colleagues on the details of how we will put the new BCEd Plan in place in our various teaching areas. As we do so, we will keep returning to the gospel narrative.