To engage the mind you need to touch the heart - Glasshouse Christian College

To engage the mind you need to touch the heart

  • May 5, 2022

To engage the mind you need to touch the heart

Presently the College has former students who now have their own film companies, or are competing in world sporting competitions, or writing for media outlets, along with tradies, lawyers, doctors, nurses etc. No one knows where our students’ careers will take them. All we need to do is faithfully work on the best way to deliver a rich curriculum that will prepare them not only for their future careers but probably more importantly their collegial and personal relationships.

These are some of the questions I consider and I’m sure you deliberate on too as parents:

  • How does my child best learn? 
  • What’s important for them to know? 
  • Will they be prepared sufficiently for their adult lives? 

As parents, you know also that a great deal of a child’s ‘education’ also occurs outside of the school environment. School is generally considered the place for formal education. It complements the other learning that occurs and the lifelong learning that continues and you as parents will, like us, regularly pass these questions over in your head as you reflect on how they are going and if we can do anything better.

As we deliberate, we need to recognise that teaching is what occurs outside of the head and learning is what happens inside the head. We can deliver amazing programs in beautifully resourced classrooms but most importantly we need to make sure learning IS happening inside the head. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula, set of rules, steps to follow or words to say and presto kids will learn! Each child is unique, they have their interests, their personalities, their strengths (and weaknesses), their family cultures and history. 

Helping students learn requires a healthy combination of:

Knowing a child

I had a student who loved remote controlled planes. It was so good to know this, we had great conversations about this (with my limited knowledge). We had an excursion one day that went past the club site – it was good to note this. It’s an example of how connecting with this student really did help them feel recognised and it made a difference to how he worked in my class once we began these conversations.

Building relationships of respect and trust

When we are trusted with important information, how we deal with it and address it grows trust and trust builds more trust. 

Connecting knowledge to previous knowledge

If you are a concreter, explaining how you determine how many cubic metres of concrete to order for a job (volume not area) will help them see the relevance of learning this sort of Maths at school. Discussing views on current issues of the day will help them develop considered views and help them to develop opinions where they can support their stand with sound logic. Knowing how to be a critical thinker is an important component of English and Humanities. Having topics that are relevant to students will excite them and touch their hearts – they will then become passionate about the topics and will not forget this information. It’s not for a test, it’s life!

Allowing for the extra-curriculum TO BE the curriculum

I have often gone along with the nay-sayers decrying the ‘crowded curriculum’. However, these topics and skills are the ones that our students want to know about, are talking about and what better place to discuss these than in a College with values and godly teachers and staff.

Some examples of where these are intentionally added to our curriculum are:

  • Camps – are excellent learning opportunities for our students to build resilience and independence, appreciate the outdoors, learn coping strategies when things are uncomfortable, and live in community, to name a few.
  • ANZAC parades open our students’ eyes to those who have served for their freedoms.
  • Pastoral Care programs that focus on healthy relationship skills, conflict resolution strategies, and techniques in goal setting.

However, we also know that real life topics are being discussed in all of our subjects. As well as opportunities for learning things like how to cope with disappointment, share in someone else’s success etc.

The bible says that as Jesus became a teenager he grew in wisdom, stature and favour with man. I love this progression of qualities. First, growing in wisdom – notice it’s not knowledge, wisdom is not about how much you know, but what you do with what you know. If that goes well, you are acknowledged for your wisdom (stature) and then what follows from this is that people appreciate you (favour). 

I love watching our Middle Schoolers grow in wisdom, stature and knowledge – yes they do eventually, trust me on this one!

Jacq Vreeling, Head of Middle School

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