by Sierra Pleima / firstname.lastname@example.org
Fridays without school, unique activities, and “Deep Hope” posters hanging in classrooms have students wondering, “What is this all about?” The simple answer to this question is Teaching for Transformation (TfT).
TfT was introduced this school year at Pella Christian. This program is multi-purpose, but has a main focus of Christ-centered education, “where the whole lesson fits into a pattern that points students to a great, created order,” said principal Dan Van Kooten.
Five Fridays this year have been dedicated to TfT. Teachers from Pella Christian, as well as other area Christian schools like Osky, Peoria, Sully, Newton and Grinnell, have met to discuss how to expand teaching horizons.
A common question among the teachers has been “Weren’t we doing this all before?” “TfT gives a more solid template, integrating faith into everything we do here,” said Van Kooten. Pella Christian has always been centered on Christ, but the goal of TfT is to incorporate the creation, fall, and redemption into every lesson.
Each of the teachers set in place a statement that sums up their ultimate goal for TfT. These “Deep Hopes” are then used to generate activities called “FLEx,” which stands for Formational Learning Experience. These experiences are planned by the teachers to help students see the bigger picture.
The FLEx activities ranged from planting trees in biology to helping out micro-businesses by selling Casey’s breakfast pizza, Bonnie cookies and other various food items in introduction to business.
TfT comes with many benefits, but also some challenges. “It is a different mindset. It focuses on us being intentional to educate the heart as well as the mind,” said teacher Kevin Herdegen.
Overall, TfT has been a great way to enhance education at Pella Christian. “TfT has been great for me as I try to incorporate scripture more into my classes and relate Biblical lessons to my daily lessons,” said teacher Keith Anderson.
The program will progress in the years to come, and it will hopefully be incorporated into athletics, music, and drama. “I sense this is where God is calling us to go,” said Van Kooten. “I believe this helps students see this is how God made the world and how he wants us to restore it.”
Those who are interested in viewing each teacher’s implementation of TfT can do so here.