I will continue to offer food for thought in my monthly messages, and invite you to take up conversations with me over 2021. I will stay with Menno Simon’s theme of the kingdom of God, following our directive to guide young people into ‘particular’ ways of being in the world through right relationships.
Our work together as teachers and parents does not have to be a devolution to learning in an elaborate form of trivial pursuit for grades. Every message this year will focus on right relationships and how to teach for the development and nurture of the students.
You will find nothing in my messages that sets forth purposeless educational activities, including the old, tired Christian ideas and practices of educating young people characterized solely by brokering in abstractions. Why? I believe that our program of studies has a real purpose, and that purpose starts and ends with right relationships. Scripture? For a purpose of knowing what Jesus described as being true about right relationships. Kindness? Prayer? Church participation? All important, but only if encouraging and enabling our youth to be active participants for the kingdom of God. No prescriptions or have to(s). There will be little emphasis in my messages on hands-on learning, without some form of reflection attached to it. We do not learn much from experiences, unless those experiences are somehow connected to experience-expectant or experience-dependent synapses, connections that happen in the brain. With good intentions we have practiced hands on learning. However, this form of learning, absent of reflection, produces little more than just the experience in itself. We learn a great deal from reflection on experiences. Learning is minds-on. I look forward to spirited conversations with you this year.
Next month I will write about Jesus’s interesting use of questions, and raise the question of why he used questions more than any other tactic, including parables, prescriptions for behaviour and theologizing combined. May be interesting to consider together the question of ‘why were questions’ so important to Jesus?
Bernie Potvin, MSCS Principal