Human Responsibility amid Global Complexity:
Is there a Christian approach to teaching the Humanities?
Equipping Christian students to thrive in a highly secularised, even hostile environment is not a matter of giving them a protective shell. The shell may crack under pressure or be discarded. Rather, it must be about building internal strength of mind and heart. – Rod Dreher*
The pursuit of Christian education is not merely an approach that asks teachers to operate in a behavioural manner consistent with the Scriptures. It’s about seeing all of learning and all of life through a Christian lens – it is far more robust! It requires educators to think critically and reflectively on both the content and method of teaching, while also considering how the richness of the Biblical account:
- informs our teaching and learning;
- shapes our understanding of the content;
- provides us with a model and method of engaging the minds of our young people to explore the wonders of God’s created order.
While this Agora is focused around the Humanities, it will go further! Dr Codrington will take us on a journey. He will challenge every teacher – primary and secondary – to consider the content and method for teaching and learning across the curriculum from a distinctly Christian perspective as well as the barriers to teaching from a distinctly Christian perspective. Using the teaching of Geography as his primary example, Dr Codrington specifically addresses the question “So what?” showing that it is a tool to help us engage with a core issue in our pursuit of teaching and learning. Students need to be able to see the “why” of what they are learning, and more importantly the “who” behind all knowledge. Dr Codrington aims to convict us of the need to shape our subject content and teaching and learning methods in a way that will help students move from understanding and knowledge, to application through all of life. This is an Agora not to be missed.
*Dreher, Rod. (2017). The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation. (New York: Sentinel). p.150.
Speaker: Dr Stephen Codrington
A Geography teacher by training, Dr Stephen Codrington served for 25 years as the Head of five schools in four countries – St Paul’s Grammar School (Sydney, Australia), Kristin School (Auckland, New Zealand), Prince Alfred College (Adelaide, Australia), Li Po Chun United World College (Hong Kong, China) and The Awty International School (Houston, Texas, USA). During all of that time, he continued teaching in the classroom, maintaining his keen interest in Geography, Theory of Knowledge, Asian Studies, Religious Education, History and Economics. He has written 61 books, mainly on the subject of Geography.
He is currently the President of Optimal School Governance, a specialist consultancy he established that works in areas such as school board governance, strategic planning, board appraisals, senior management performance reviews, change leadership, restructuring and crisis management. He also works with Alphacrucis College in the position of Director of School Governance and Leadership Development. In this role, he lectures undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Education, conducts research, professional development and school reviews, and is spearheading a project to raise the quality of teacher training across Sub-Saharan Africa in partnership with several local education providers.
Stephen has been elected as a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators (ACE), he is a former Chairman of the Heads of Independent Co-educational Schools (HICES), former Vice-President of the Association of Executives of Christian Schools (AECS) and a former President of several academic and teaching associations, including the Geography Teachers Association of NSW and the Geographical Society of NSW.
Stephen’s wider experience in education includes many years of service as a senior IB (International Baccalaureate) examiner, including five years as an IB Deputy Chief Examiner. He is the author of Planet Geography, the first text written specifically to support IB Diploma Geography, which is now in its 9th edition as a set of ten books. In 2014, he was appointed an IB Ambassador in recognition of his high standing in international education and in 2018 he was made a Life Member of the Geographical Society of NSW.
Stephen has spoken widely at various conferences and venues on themes such as change management, best practice in education, internationalism and building international links in education. His work has taken him to more than 160 countries and some of Stephen’s most popular presentations include his own personal educational experiences in such diverse locations as China, Cambodia, Uganda, the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, and North Korea, which he has visited nine times.
Stephen attends Church By The Bridge in Kirribilli and maintains a personal website at www.stephencodrington.com
Further Reading for Teacher Identified Professional Learning
Below you will find the readings that Dr Stephen Codrington has identified as further reading. These readings will give you further insight into the content of the evening and will be valuable to inform your thinking.
1. Codrington, S. (2017). Geography: Understanding Global Complexity. In Goodlet, K., Collier, J. & George, T. (Eds.), Better Learning: Trajectories for educators in Christian Schools (pp. 330-342). Canberra: St Marks.
2. McAlpine, S. (2015). Christian: Are You Ready For Exile Stage Two? Retrieved from https://stephenmcalpine.com/christian-are-you-ready-for-exile-stage-two/
3. Moody, J.W. (2012). The Gospel in Contexts. Leadership Journal, 33(1), 96.
Other Recommended Reading:
1. Cole, M. (2014). Geography. In Goodlet, K. & Collier, J. (Eds), Teaching Well: Insights for educators in Christian Schools (pp.375-382). Canberra: Barton.
2. Jackson, S. (2014). History. In Goodlet, K. & Collier, J. (Eds), Teaching Well: Insights for educators in Christian Schools (pp.363-374). Canberra: Barton.
3. Jones, M. & Lambert, D. (Eds) (2018). Debates in Geography Education. London: Routledge.
4. Judge, E. (2017). Can one learn lessons from history? In Goodlet, K., Collier, J. & George, T. (Eds), Better Learning: Trajectories for educators in Christian Schools (pp.320-329). Canberra: St Marks.
5. Lovat, T., & Toomey, R. (2010). Values Education and Quality Teaching the Double Helix Effect (1st ed.). New York: Springer.
6. Menzies, G. (2014). Economics. In Goodlet, K. & Collier, J. (Eds), Teaching Well: Insights for educators in Christian Schools (pp.353-362). Canberra: Barton.
7. Morgan, J. (2012). Teaching Secondary Geography as if the Planet Matters. London: Routledge.