In 2015 at Hillsong Conference we held our first “Pillars of Society” masterclass in Education. Our panelist, Tim Hawkes (The Kings School), Steve Fogarty (Alphacrucis College), Doug Thomas (Claremont College) and Duncan Corby (Hillsong College) discussed a wide range of issues concerning Christian education, its influence in society, and vice-versa. Whilst many aspects of “Education” were discussed, three important themes surfaced throughout the session.
1. Christian Influence: As Christian educators we have the privilege of instilling, challenging and shaping the values and convictions of the students before us, from early childhood through to adult education. Whilst the school curriculum plays an important role in education, our panelists shared the importance of never underestimating the influence the teacher brings to a classroom. Whether in a public or private education scenario, a teacher’s values and convictions are of vital importance in how certain topics confronting our world are questioned and discussed. And then there is the personal example and influence that a teacher brings to a classroom through modeling those beliefs and convictions as ones to adopt and follow in life. Never underestimate the influence your presence has on people!
2. Christian Worldview: A Christian worldview will automatically shape the way in which an educator approaches certain subjects and topics in any curriculum and the issues that arise when worldviews conflict. The role of the educator is not to avoid the conflicts, nor to dogmatically impose the Christian worldview, but instead, guide students with quality questions stimulated by the content. Providing a non-judgmental environment and helping students to intelligently ask and answer the questions that come up in a classroom empowers them to navigate the complexities of life and find resolve in a way that brings about progress in their life and the lives of those around them. Your quality questions have the ability to shape a student’s worldview, as much as the content of a curriculum.
3. Christian Excellence: As Christians we believe the Christian faith has unique and substantial things to offer education, informed as it is by a clear moral vision and a holistic appreciation of the human person and their potential. However, in education, as in many other fields, the Christian voice is very often a voice from the margins, easily ignored by the secular mainstream. This need not be the case. For as we as Christian educators and institutions develop and display genuine insight and excellence (dare we say, wisdom) in educational policy and practice, we gain the invitation to speak. But it’s only as leaders in the education world rather than as outsiders that we can have this kind of influence.