Workshop Summaries

Summaries of the workshops at the 2016 EurECA conference in Lisbon

“Experience and Expertise in Christian Pedagogy”

Many participants regretted that they could not attend more than 5 of the 24 workshops which were offered. Therefore, and because EurECA did not have the technical means to make video recordings available, the organizing committee promised to make summaries. These should serve as a door-opener: If you are enticed by the summary, you are welcome to get in touch with the workshop presenter simply by clicking on the link, and to ask for more information.

Since this is the first time we are doing this, we had not thought about standards for the summaries, and we underestimated the job. This is why the texts vary greatly in size and detail. Nevertheless, we hope that you will be encouraged to make contacts and to expand the European network of Christian educators.

Teaching Christian Values

1A  Teaching Christian values about sexual purity, non violence and dignity   Nadya Stoykova, Bulgaria

1D  Teaching about the Holocaust and its spiritual influence   Marek Kanievski, Poland

2E  Daily life objects and scientific demonstrations for sharing Christian values   Christina Ferreira, PT

3A  If God is wonderful is our education full of wonder?   Graham Coyle, UK                                                

3B  Be amazed at nature, one step to praising God    Helmut Gangl, Austria

4E  Use your subject to teach your students bibilical values   Evert Wind, Netherlands            

Religious Education

2A  The Biblical World: What to do with this memory in school?  Hans Vogel, Portugal                                         

4B  Refreshing your RE Curriculum    Brenda Lord, UK  

4D  Theological, ethical and pedagogical thoughts from the Beatitudes   Eduardo Fonseca, Portugal                         

Pedagogy at Large

1C  CTM - A new approach to teacher training   Jim Twelves, Australia

1B  Student Assessment: (What) Is It good (for)?    Tibor Szedlak, Switzerland

2C  21st century learning skills in the Christian School  Laszlo Demeter, Hungary

5B  God's Spirit at work in families and schools   Irmtraud Huneke, Germany                                                                                                                                    

5C  The importance of grandparents for grandchildren  Ingeborg  Amanzi, Germany

School Governance

2B  Christian Schools in Norway  Signe Sandsmark, Norway                                                                                         

2D  How can Christian schools stay Christian?   Jim  Twelves, Australia                                                                 

3C  A Messianic school in Jerusalem -- How and Why?    Cookie Schwaeber, Israel

4C  Christian leadership   Paul Bate, UK              

5E  Bridging the gap between catholic and protestand cultures   Agnieszka Crozier,  Poland

 Teaching in the Postmodern world

1E  Gender Mainstreaming and related issues   Silke Edelmann, Germany                                                                                                  

3D  Preparing students for a world of religious diversity    Trevor Cooling, UK

4A  Ways how to teach history in a postmodern era    Pavel Hanes, Czech Republic

5A  How do I mould my students by teaching modern literature?  Marja Van de Lagemaat, Netherlands

5D  Developing critical thinking skills in the students    Dana Hanesovà, Czech Republic

 

Teaching Christian Values

1A - Teaching Christian values about sexual purity, non violence and dignity

by  Nadya Stoykova, teacher trainer and school director, Bulgaria

This seminar was rooted in Nadya’s experience in both Christian and non-Christian environments and with young people from a variety of backgrounds.  She took real-life scenarios and invited participants to discuss the values represented and how they are dealt with.  She also invited the participants to draw out the Christian values which could have emerged and which might bring the perspective of redemption into each situation.
Contact: nadya.stoykova@gmail.com

1D - Teaching about the Holocaust and its impact on spiritual formation  

Marek Kaniewski, highschool teacher,  Poland

Marek Kaniewski is a teacher of grades I-IV of Mielczarski Highschool in Katowice (Poland), which is quite close to Oświęcim (Auschwitz). For 6 years now, he has developed and taught an educational project called “Remember the Holocaust”, which reaches high school students in the area. The program consists of organizing educational visits to the Former German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau (now State Museum), school debates, “Meetings with the Jewish Culture”, “Memory Days” to remember the victims of the Nazi concentration camps, a photo competition „Judaica in Poland“ etc. It is aimed to oppose the tendency to suppress unpleasant truths, and to raise student’s sensitivity towards minorities and especially the Jews.

Marek Kaniewski first told the very touching story of how he became involved as a photographer in the history of the Holocaust: He met an aged Polish Jew, Henry Mandelbaum – survivor of the Holocaust and Sonderkommando worker from Auschwitz-Birkenau, who was forced as a young man by the Germans, to burn the bodies of his kinsmen, women and children by the thousands in the furnaces of Auschwitz. Telling Marek the horrors of his experience, he charged him to continue the telling of it.

This led him to touch the lives of hundreds of youths by raising their awareness for human frailty and the human susceptibility to sin and need for forgiveness.

Contact: mjkaniewscy@wp.pl

 

2E –  Daily life objects and scientific demonstrations as resources to share Christian values                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Cristina Ferreira, COMACEP teacher trainer, Portugal

Using such things as shaving cream, colored playdough, bubbles, puzzles, pyramids, chocolate ... Cristina showed how you can make biblical messages and principles come alive in creative ways, for example that there is a way when we think there is none; that God is willing to give us better than what we want; that a person can be physically alive but spiritually dead; that when the outside world lets us down, God’s good plan for us is moving ahead; or that the gift of salvation comes to us for free, not because it has no price, but because someone else paid for it ...
Contact:  crismaiof@gmail.com           

 

 3A –  If God is wonderful is our education full of wonder? 

Graham Coyle, teacher and leader of Christian Schools Trust CST, UK

Graham started his workshop by encouraging us to listen to what special thing the Holy Spirit had told us today – and to share it in the group. Then he unpacked a piece of chocolate and showed us how to really enjoy it: looking at the colour, feeling its texture, smelling its fragrance, placing it on the tongue, letting the flavour work it’s way ... . That is how we should read the bible: meditate on God`s word – find all the many aspects and depths. It is wonderful…full of wonder!

How often do we promote wonder/awe in our teaching?
Graham showed a plastic bag with 180 verses from scripture with the word “wonder” or “wonderful”. He made us pick one. In groups of 4-6 we shared one thing in our teaching subject which is wonderful.

After that we shared ideas in the group about one thing that we can take home into our classroom, to bring in wonder. The group chose the best ideas. From all these ideas we chose the best one ( by applauding loud) and there was a book reward to win („God in the lab“).
Contact: graham@riverschool.co.uk

 3B –  Be amazed at nature, one step to praising God 

Helmut Gangl,  sports teacher and supervisor, Austria

We walked through nature with open eyes, open ears, touching everything, sniffing all smells, being amazed at the life-giving sun and the tiny ant also. We used magnifying glasses and binoculars too. We collected the most interesting finds, described them and designed little exhibition.
Helmut then showed photos of expeditions with kids and adults in various kinds of nature – by the sea, in the mountains, the woods, on rivers – to demonstrate what it means to learn to love God by being amazed at His awesome creation. From the eyes into the hands, into brain and finally into the heart – this leads us to praise God.
Contact: gangl.helmut@gmx.at

4E – Teaching biblical values through your subject  

Evert Wind, high school teacher in physics, the Netherlands
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                He showed with various films and experiments, how analogies can be drawn from phenomena in physics to and against Biblical values. This led to two different approaches: a) Strongholds (2 Cor. 10: 4 - 6) against God’s Word, and b) Examples to support God’s Word and show something of the Spiritual realm.

Stronghold

When a weight is placed in the middle of a trampoline, and then a ball is set in motion towards the centre, it will take different paths depending on weight, speed and direction while gravitating towards the weight. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTY1Kje0yLg  In the film the teacher tells you, as many physicists do, that the experiment “explains” gravity. At the most it is a description but never an explanation. God’s Word tells us that Jesus sustains and empowers everything by His Word. On a spiritual level, this phenomenon and the way it is used can be observed as a stronghold.

Evert challenged the participants to look for strongholds in the different subjects and in their minds.

Support

When several weights are hung on the same rod at different lengths of the pendulums, and one of them is set to swing, the others will start to swing also – but only if their length of the pendulum is the same.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mebmqct4zsw We can experience the same in our relationship with God: Only if we are tuned in to His „wave length“, can our Spirit „swing“ in the same way. When your spirit resonates with the Holy Spirit you will be able to fully understand His Love and Truth.

In another experiment two lights of different colour were pointed at a person standing in front of the wall. You could observe the different shadows, like in this picture. We defined shadow, darkness, as the absence of light.

In Scripture it is said that God is light and that in Him there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1: 5) In your life the same can happen. When something in your life blocks God’s light there will be darkness in that part of your light.

Through these examples Evert tried to encourage the participants to ask God for a transformation of the mind ( Romans 12: 2), necessary to look at your subject in a different way. It is the starting point of a process in which your subject will turn from a goal to a means to spread God’s Kingdom.

At the end of the workshop Evert pointed to the website of “transforming teachers” where useful tools can be found. (http://transformingteachers.org/en/ )

Contact: evertwind@solcon.nl

 Religious Education

2 A – The Biblical World -­what to do with this memory in school? 
Hans Vogel, COMACEP teacher trainer, Portugal

The biblical culture comes from a small geographic area. However, it assumed a crucial role due to its position in relation to different peoples and cultures. The world of the Bible is a bridge between civilizations, as it helps to understand the ancient and the present world. As our western societies have two roots – the classical and the biblical –, we need to integrate the biblical memory in a globalized world and to promote its teaching.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

The objectives of the workshop were: To analyze the themes of texts, geography, history, archeology and culture from the Bible; and to show interventions, for school education and for the formation of educators.
Power-point Presentation see http://eureca-online.org/files/4814/6557/7408/Workshop2A_the_biblical_world.pdf

Contact: vogel.pt@gmail.com

4B –  Refreshing your RE Curriculum   

Brenda Lord, RE consultant, UK

There are different ways of putting together an RE curriculum and most of them are good. But how often do we step back and review what we are achieving through it and whether it is as relevant as we would like? This workshop considered such questions as:

Whether participants wanted to make major changes to their Religious Education curriculum or not, this workshop aimed at helping them to revitalize their RE lessons. No particular curriculum was promoted, only some suggestions given.                                                                                                                                            

Workshop Notes: http://eureca-online.org/files/5914/6557/8290/Refreshing_your_RE_Curriculum_Workshop_Notes.pdf

Powerpoint: http://eureca-online.org/files/6014/6557/8259/Refreshing_your_RE_Curriculum_including_sound_PowerPoint_in_PDF.pdf


Contact: brenda.lord@virgin.net

4D –  Theological, Ethical and Pedagogical Thoughts from the Beatitudes

Eduardo Nuno Fonseca, COMACEP teacher, Portugal

This workshop focused on the Biblical text of Matthew 5:1‐12, the famous Beatitudes, given by Jesus in the admirable Sermon on the Mount.  According to John Stott, “the Beatitudes emphasize eight principles indicative of Christian conduct and character, particularly in relation to God and man, and the divine blessings that rest on those who exhibit such principles.” These character traits, with special emphasis on humility, meekness, passion for justice, mercy, and the capacity to suffer hostility, are diametrically opposed to the values of today’s contemporary societies, which are oriented toward pride, pretentiousness, selfishness, conformity and lack of love. So, based on this first unit of Jesus’ teaching presented in the first Gospel, Eduardo presented some thoughts of a theological, ethical and pedagogical nature relevant to contemporary Christian education, especially for the teens and youth of today’s western societies.
Contact: ednunfonseca@hotmail.com

 

Pedagogy at Large

1CCTM: A new approach to teacher training                                                         

Jim Twelves, dean of education in teacher training, Australia

The Clinical Teaching Model is a new form of teacher training, combining theory and practice on a high level of effectiveness. It is based on an efficient nurse training model, a teacher training model from the UK and Melbourne University’s Clinical Teaching. It has been adopted by the current Initiative of the Australian NSW state government called Great Teaching Inspired Learning (GTIL).

The teacher students are based within their home community, attached to a Christian school community that knows them, they work regularly with children they know and they apply their new skills while studying online. They are mentored and coached throughout their training, meeting all the aspirations of current research.

Contact: jim.twelves@ac.edu.au

 

1B - Student Assessment: (What) Is It Good (For)?   

By Tiobr Szedlak, teacher of religion, Switzerland

Student assessment—sometimes mistakenly identified with and reduced to grading—appears to be natural and yet an almost constantly challenged element of the schooling experience. This workshop provided an insight into the quest of a teacher of religion, expected to completely omit student

evaluation from his teaching practice, nonetheless voluntarily seeking models of assessment and evaluation, which enriches and fosters learning and teaching. It is also desired that the model rests on solid biblical and theological foundations. Does such student assessment exist? If it does exist, what does it look like?

Facing these questions may be helpful for teachers of many different subjects and age groups. The workshop allowed participants to reflect on their own as well as each other’s experiences with student assessment.
Contact: szedlak-michel@gmx.ch

 

2C -  21st Century Learning Skills in the Christian School

Laci Demeter, ACSI Europe coordinator and consultant, Hungary

Laci presented some of the most recent thinking regarding learning methods and how we can help our students have access to all that can help them as they develop into adults who will shape society with principles of God’s Kingdom. 

He laid a foundation of learning with excellence, based on the principle of Colossians 3:23-24 that we should work with all of our heart.  He also stressed that we should be preparing our pupils to be light in the world.

 He then went on to examine the ‘4Cs’ of learning: Critical thinking, Collaboration, Communication and Creativity.  He examined each of these in turn and gave frequent helpful examples and illustrations.

Contact: laci_demeter@acsi.org

5C  -  God's Spirit at work in families and schools 

Irmtraud Huneke, educator and book author, Germany         

This workshop (presented in German) included how God’s spirit is involved and at work in the following areas:    

Contact: irmtrauthuneke@web.de

Ingeborg Amanzi, retired high school teacher of languages, Germany

1. Introduction:
Grandparents on pictures 1940 and today: very formal vs. very varied. Family life has changed much in the last century – in the 1920s, it was still normal to have many children, and to live together in 3 generations, not so today.

Ingeborg tells from her own family, how blessings, gifts were passed on. Grandparenting is love in action. Only by receiving God’s love (e.g. John 15, 9 and 12) can we pass it on both to parents and children. Grandparents by obedience to God’s will must pass on God’s wisdom – both to parents and children. In Africa, where her in-laws live, HIV has caused many families to be led only by one parent or grandparents; wisdom is much appreciated.

2. Main part:

A. Availability:
Meeting the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the grandchildren impacts their lives: living close by, taking part in the special events and in the everyday life. If grandparents live far away, writing letters, telephoning, emails, occasional visits help for long distancegrand-parenting. By being loved, the children learn to love. Forgiveness in all circumstances (Christa Meves) is a central message. Unconditional love is the most powerful instrument of the world. (Rob Pailey).

B. Building a relationship of mutual trust:
Grandparents can nurture their grandchildren by supporting their language development, their play, their judgment, their trust, their prayer life. Talking about moral issues, telling family history and stories of God’s providence, helping to develop character and good behaviour against peer pressure. As they grow older, they must be taught to distinguish between biblical and worldly views in school. Grandparents can be instrumental for supplying good literature. This includes not only Christian novels and poetry, but also books by Christian historians and Christian natural scientists.

C. Keeping family traditions as a bridge between past and future:
Biblical Naomi failed as a mother by moving into a heathen country because of economic advantages, but supported by her devoted daughter-in-law Ruth, who had accepted the God of Israel, she became a good grandmother to Obed. Grandparents should, with great wisdom, tell their grandchildren about both their failures and their achievements, their disobedience to God, their repentance and their obedience to God so that the grandchildren can learn from them. Stories of survival, of blessings, of suffering and joy, forgiveness and love, life and death become real when kept in remembrance as family history.

Researching ancestry, knowing where we come from, strengthens identity. Celebrating family feasts and Christian holidays and explaining them, shapes Christian identity.

3. Final Reflections:

What Christian grandparents should do to be a blessing:
They should enjoy their commitment and thus stimulate joy in their grandchildren.
They should reflect on their activities in close contact with God in order to improve.
They should encourage other grandparents who need their advice.

Contact: ingamanzi@hotmail.com

School Governance

2B –  Christian Schools in Norway    

Signe Sandsmark, senior consultant for Christian schools, Norway

Up until recently, 90% of the Norwegian population belonged to the Lutheran church. The church started many schools 1740-1850. After 1850, also Catholics and 7th day Adventists started schools. Around then, schools started to read texts other than the Bible. Strict Lutherans didn’t approve of that and started their own schools.


Since WW2 Norway has become very socialist in thinking. Most people don’t like private schools. 1969 was a turning point: Teaching Christianity in the public schools was declared obsolete. From then on, teachers were not allowed anymore to speak of their faith as truth. Christian influence in the schools decreased ever since. For many children, a Christian school would be / is the only place where they ever hear about Christianity. This is a great opportunity.


Norway was a poor country until the 70s, when they found oil in the sea. The fast rise of wealth ruined the country’s moral standards. Needy people had given other people a sense of being needed – this disappeared.


Today, Norway  has about 75 Christian primary schools, about 30 secondary, about 60% of them Lutheran. They range from very liberal to very conservative. State approved private schools get 85% support for their running costs. New schools are only started by evangelicals. To run a school without state funding is unaffordable. There are 20 Christian teacher training schools, supported by the state –they must prove that they are useful for the society.

Kristne Friskolers Forbünd KFF started in 2008. Nearly all kinds of Christian schools are members. It’s a lobbying organisation for Christian schools towards the authorities. For the first three years, it was not allowed at conferences to talk about theology, in order to make room for building relationships. It took some time for the members to appreciate each other despite differences. Politicians and state administrators now respect and appreciate the members of the association. Useful training is offered for board members and school leaders about legislation and how to run a good school.

Legal restrictions to founding a free school have increased. Schools have to make their religious basis visible in the curriculum of all relevant subjects – that’s good! State law does not allow discrimination  when advertising for new staff. KFF advises schools not to require staff to „be Christian“ but to convey the school’s Christian ethos – how could somebody do that who is not Christian?
Contact: sandsmark@kff.no

2D –  How can Christian schools stay Christian? 

Jim Twelves, dean of education in teacher training, Australia 

This workshop started with the Christian schools in Australia,, governed by church or parents, now 30 years old and more; no longer part of a pioneering movement; these schools are becoming established institutions, but do they really provide Christian education? Is Christian education bound to a Christian institution or is it bound to the person of the Christian educator, no matter where?

This workshop assessed the literature on Christian schooling in Australia and Europe since the 1970s. It focused on specific behavior patterns, such as thinking Christianly, right thinking and right doing, teaching with integrity and through the medium of values education, the teacher’s call and purpose and how this impacts behaviours and decisions.

It went on to a draft model for sustainable Christian education located in the person of the Christian educator, largely based on participants’ contributions.
Contact: jim.twelves@ac.edu.au

3C -  A Messianic School in Jerusalem – Why and How?  

Cookie Schwaeber-Issan, Principal of Makor HaTikvah Messianic School, Israel

For Jews, the word “Christian” has a lot of negative connotations for historical reasons. Therefore, we are not a Christian school, but a Messianic school. Jewish followers of the Messiah don’t attend churches but rather congregations (kehilot in Hebrew) and identify themselves as Messianic Jews and not as Christians which generally has the understanding that you are no longer Jewish, but being Jewish is also a race, and that cannot be changed. In the 90s, Messianic parents wanted a school which agreed with their convictions. They started Makor HaTikvah (Source of Hope).

Cookie Schwaeber-Issan grew up in the Jewish area of Brooklyn. She and her Jewish husband emigrated to Israel in 1993, but her husband died just months later, before their actual immigration date to Israel. Just five weeks after arriving in Israel, Cookie met a kibbutz member who became her second husband.  It was as a result of becoming a kibbutz member that Cookie was sent to study teaching in order to become an English teacher in the kibbutz school.  In 1999, they left the kibbutz and in 2009 was offered the job as principal of the Messianic school in Jerusalem.

When she took over, the school was in very poor condition – teachers had not been paid for 3 months, nothing worked, administration was a mess, they were about to go bankrupt. But she believed God had a plan – because she had experienced what God had done for her, having breathed new life into her when she felt dead.

She prayed blessings every morning over the school. One day she was struck by a passage from the book of Isaiah.  It said, I will pay your wages in time and full. By the end of September, they had enough money to pay the teachers‘wages as well as the three back months of pay the teachers hadn’t received. In the next few months, they were able to replace a lot of the important things in the school. Money started to come in from many places. Obviously God was doing something new. One of the reasons why the school had failed was that the tuitions only covered a third of the $60,000 costs per month. If they were recognized by the state, they would receive funding. Every child in the public schools is worth a certain amount of money. Why not them? So they appealed to the Ministry of Education. They had to go through a lengthy process to be approved, which they are still pursuing.  The school teaches the exact same curriculum with the addition of New Testament. Though the officials seemed favorable, they received an order to be closed down. They went to court 4 times; each time the court was favorable. But still they have not yet received recognition. In the end, two judges of the Education Ministry rendered a decision stating that they had the right to educate their children according to their beliefs. But the majority of their teachers must have a degree and teaching certificate.  That will happen within the next year.

Many American Messianics have been moving to Israel as a result of dramatic world changes, which impact them negatively. Immigrant children normally don’t get proper integration when they enter an Israeli school – they lose at least a year of their studies by having to learn the language. So Makor decided to integrate an Ulpan (intensive Hebrew course) into the regular school life. They introduced one on one teaching to accompany immigrant children. They are the only school in Israel who does this. We also will be integrating their new immigrant parents in September by starting a Parents‘ Hebrew course for them as well.  We are very excited to see how God is blessing and growing this school.
Contact: principal@makorhatikvah.org

 4C –  Christian Leadership 

Paul Bate, principal and school inspector, UK

From Paul’s extensive experience in school and church leadership he drew out lessons about Christian leadership.  Based on some modern leadership models he discussed the requirements upon leaders and some of the pitfalls which are before them.

It was a very full session and rich in content.  From the questions which were asked and the discussion following, it was certainly well received by those who were present.
Contact: pbate2@gmail.com

 

5E –  Bridging the gap between Catholic and Protestant Cultures   

Agnieszka Crozier, school director, Poland

 In many European countries today we are facing difficulties trying to work between different cultures. For Poland, as for many others, it is catholic versus protestant. In 10 years of their experience of leading TOMY Christian Educational Center (which is Preschool, Elementary School and Middle School) they learned that good cooperation is possible.

In Agnieszka’s  workshop she shared how, through serving the community with good education and being clear to parents that the school is a Christian school, where Bible lessons will be taught to the children, many catholic parents brought their children to the school. As there are not enough protestant teachers, the school also employs teachers of catholic background. Some of them have made a commitment to the Lord, as have several of the parents. The local Catholic Church has told their members on several occasions, that the school is bad and that they should not send their children there. The school did not make a big fuss about it, but kept on investing in good relationships with its Catholic teachers and parents. In the end the number of pupils kept increasing, so that now they were able to build their own large school building.

Contact: zaba@proem.pl

 

Teaching in the Postmodern world

 1 E –  Gender Mainstreaming and related issues  

Silke Edelmann, Ed.D. , preschool educator, Germany

First Silke gave some definitions to help people understand the meaning of Gender Mainstreaming as laid out in most official documents. Then she explained how Gender Mainstreaming is implemented and who the actors in that process are. She gave a history of the development of Gender Mainstreaming and showed how it developed from manly focusing on women’s issues to eventually include LGBTI people and other groups, becoming the gateway to Non-discrimination/Equality Mainstreaming. Then she summarized what we are dealing with when we have to do with the Gender Mainstreaming strategy and what we need to do about it, from a Christian perspective.                                                                                                       

Silke Edelmann refrained from talking about personal issues related to Gender Orientation, but focused on the overall picture. Especially when it comes to taking action, she made clear that we are not wrestling with flesh and blood, but other powers behind it. Thus we need to go about it in a wise and intelligent manner and with respect for those we are dealing with.
Power point: http://eureca-online.org/index.php/download_file/497/

Contact: silkede@googlemail.com

3D –  Preparing Students for a World of Religious Diversity 

Trevor Cooling, Professor of Christian Education at CCCU, UK

Across Europe, governments are becoming increasingly concerned about religious extremism and are looking to schools to combat it. However this has generated a climate where more conservative/ evangelical forms of Christian belief are viewed with increasing suspicion. This workshop considered how Christian educators working in both independent and government  schools might respond theologically to this challenge and the pedagogical implications for how we prepare our students for a world of religious diversity.

Standing for truth is one of the typical answers. Truth is held to be obvious and all those who don’t see it as we do, are misguided and need to be redirected. In contrast, the respector toleranceresponse is likely to regard truth as very complex and manifold, and humans’ capacity to embrace it as so limited, that even overtly opposite statements about the same subject are likely to be accepted as true. “We all are right.” – is often the guiding principle of this second typical response to diversity.

Ambiguity acceptance is the third position, which stands for its own convictions—holding them for contestable but true—and at the same time also permits others doing the same. It seeks to create a safe environment where all that is important can be shared openly. Unlike tolerance, ambiguity acceptance acknowledges that different statements create tension, like pulling on a rope into opposite directions. The guiding metaphor of this response to diversity is, however, not tug of war—with winners and losers—but holding a tent through ropes pulled tight. Ambiguity acceptance meets those who hold different beliefs and values with courageous restraint: one stands up for one’s own convictions without either fighting other convictions or avoiding encountering those who hold them.
Contact: trevor.cooling@canterbury.ac.uk

4A – Ways how to teach history in postmodern era   

Pavel Hanes, teacher at theological university faculty, Slovakia                      

The way that history is taught depends so much on the worldview of the person teaching it. From various cultural, ideological and spiritual reasons, there are so many tensions in the approaches to explanations of historical facts. In their effort to interpret history to postmodern society, scientists, teachers and even media producing historical films and documentaries search and decide for their own ways how to understand and then teach certain historical era. But how much do postmodern people embed their own ideas into explaining various ages? There is also a big tension between “secular” and “biblical” explanations of various historical eras. The workshop focused on some of these questions, on conceptualization of historical facts etc. We discussed philosophical and theological principles of approaching history and also adequate ways of teaching it.                               

Powerpoint:   http://eureca-online.org/index.php/download_file/495/

Contact:   pavel.hanes@umb.sk                      

5A –  How do I mold my students by teaching modern literature? 

Dr M.C. Marja Van de Lagemaat, highschool teacher and network coordinator, the Netherlands

While teaching foreign languages, teachers have to follow a program that is very demanding. Grammar, language skills, literature; how can you create time for modern literature within the curriculum and work on high quality language training? The secret is in combining it!

In this workshop a series of lessons around the French novel “Oscar et la dame rose”, the third chapter of the series “Cycle de l’invisible”, published in 2002, was presented. The book is composed of the letters of a boy; often addressed to God. The letters describe twelve days in the life of Oscar and those days may be his last because he suffers from cancer. Themes like the role of medical science, suffering and death are taken up by the author.
Contact: lag@ichthuscollege.nl

 5D –  Developing critical thinking skills in the students 

Dana Hanesovà, teacher trainer, Slovakia

 In many, especially post-communist countries, there is still not sufficient emphasis on development of critical and creative thinking skills of children and young people. Christian teachers especially are being blamed of “indoctrination” of their students instead of opening their minds to new ways of thinking. This tension was discussed in the workshop. Some ways how to use various, also ‘secular’ techniques (such as mind maps, Lotus blossom, SCAMMPERR and other graphic organizers) were presented, using concrete examples of how Christian teacher may develop both “heart and mind”. The examples were taken from teaching English as a foreign language, but other subject teachers – especially teachers of humanities and social sciences – could benefit from them as well.
Power point:   http://eureca-online.org/index.php/download_file/496/

Contact:  dana.hanesova@umb.sk