CEDARVILLE — Cedarville professor Dr. Timothy Heaton has created a curriculum and discovered a way to deliver it to teachers that he hopes brings positive results for Christian schools in the United States and society-impacting change in Africa.
Heaton unveiled this innovative model for teacher development at the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) Higher Education Forum for Teacher Educators May 30. Representatives from 20 Christian universities attended.
Heaton, professor of education, presented his workshop “Professional Development in the Christian School: A New Paradigm” at the three-day conference.
In most public and private schools, teacher training is delivered through one- or two-day in-service programs. According to Heaton, the trainer delivers the content, and how well that information is transferred from lecture to reality largely depends on the teacher.
“The research says the traditional approach is not effective,” he said.
Under Heaton’s model, the professional trainer still delivers the initial content during an intensive one- or two-day workshop, but he or she also trains a “champion” in the school — a principal, assistant principal, classroom instructor — who facilitates and monitors the implementation of that content throughout the school year.
According to Heaton, this gives the school more ownership implementing the professional development topic and the accountability to create the change they want to see.
Heaton observed this model of teacher training in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 2014 when he taught his biblically integrated curriculum called the Elephant Project. This curriculum also includes teaching strategies and Christian school philosophy. Heaton used the teacher “champion” training model to deliver the Elephant Project to Congolese education leaders.
This April, he met with teacher-trainers from the Congo and learned the Elephant Project curriculum is being used in the DRC’s capital, Kinshasa. Plans have been formulated to teach the Elephant Project throughout the DRC. Ultimately, this curriculum will be used as a template for other Christian schools in all of Africa.
“Christian schools and evangelical churches in all of Africa are experiencing explosive growth,” Heaton said. “Evangelistic rallies are attracting 10,000 or more people an evening. In Africa, education is power, and the Christian community sees biblically integrated curriculum in Christian schools as a way to improve countries educationally and to eliminate strife and corruption.”
Story courtesy Cedarville University.