In Pursuit of Excellence

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A significant part of God’s intention for humanity is to work and to achieve things. While such work and achievement has become corrupted by human rebellion against God, it is still part of his good design for us. God has gifted us in various ways and he empowers our work by the Spirit. Some may achieve in the spotlight while others go about their day-to-day business. But whatever the case there is no room for pride as we acknowledge that anything good we contribute is only possible by the creation, provision, orchestration, and empowerment of God.

Dr Constantine R. Campbell

In Pursuit of Excellence:
A Biblical-Theological Exploration of Achievement

By Dr Constantine R. Campbell

Copyright © 2020 Anglican EdComm

 

‘Excellence’ is a word commonly used in Australia when referring to school education. Whether you are an educator describing your professional practice, a parent expressing your ambitions for your child or a school marketing manager seeking to attract enrolments, it is rare for excellence not to be used to describe aspirations and outcomes in education.
Yet the understanding and use of the term ‘excellence’ varies enormously:

  • Some define achievement by citing measures such as PISA, ATAR and NAPLAN results. Excellence is defined by comparing achievement against these standards and the achievements of others. Excellence is available only to the few.
  • Some measure excellence in terms of effort and personal progress. Working hard to achieve the best possible outcome makes excellence achievable by all.

How we view and celebrate excellence is shaped by both our cultural context and our worldview, and often these are not necessarily the same thing.

Dr Campbell’s paper, In Pursuit of Excellence: A Biblical-Theological Exploration of Achievement, uses a Biblical framework to examine the concepts of work, achievement and excellence. He examines the motivations (good and bad) that drive us to achieve and how excellence in achievement can be celebrated in ways that are consistent with Biblical text.

The responses of three practicing Christian educators and some discussion questions designed to stimulate thinking and discussion are also provided to assist readers as they consider Dr Campbell’s thesis.

Meeting the expectations of modern society without departing from the expectations incumbent upon Christian educators is a challenge. Dr Campbell leads us through the teaching of scripture and provides a valuable resource for Christian educators as they critically examine their practice.

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