Uganda (MNN) — When it comes to school, A's are the best
Straight A's are even better, right? That's what Worldwide Christian Schools is
going for with their Educational Care program launch in Uganda. Dale
Dieleman with WWCS explains the nuts and bolts. "'Educational
Care' is a six-module program. The teachers go through each module with
about six months or so in between to work on an action plan that they developed
after each module."
It can take up to three years to go through all six modules,
but Dieleman notes, "For many, many teachers who have never had a lot of
formal educational courses, this is all brand new," which means that "even the
teachers in the schools that hardly pay any salary at all are willing to say,
‘Yes, I want to be there.'" The Triple
A? "We tried to make it very Affordable, Accessible and very Applicable."
So what does the program do? It focuses on the teacher and helps them answer basic questions like,
"How do you do discipline in a Christian school? How do you correct students and disciple them
rather than do strictly punishment, and so on."
It provides on-the-job-learning, is peer-learning oriented, inductive-learning
focused, practically based, Action Plan required, adaptable to local
situations, world-view driven, Bible referenced, and community oriented.
But, Dieleman adds, it's very different from an educational
conference. "The foundational course–the first module–is on biblical worldview. It really is all about the teacher,
not so much on how to use the Bible in the classroom." The curriculum disciples teachers and has
served as an evangelism tool in the training sessions. "It's something that really begins to stick
over time and becomes part of who they are. They can move from school to school,
and this will be part of their DNA."
What this means, explains Dieleman, is that "most countries we work in use a national
curriculum. They are required to use this curriculum because students take
national exams based on their performance. Their futures are based on this exam result." Teachers have to work with a secular
curriculum, but because of the biblical worldview, they infuse their faith into
what they teach. This approach benefits
students, teachers, and ultimately, the schools. "We really feel that
consistency, that continuity is really what will help teachers, in the
long-run, establish themselves and recommit themselves to their calling."
Beyond the training comes an opportunity for
mentorship. Dieleman says the program
has been successful, but sometimes a seasoned pro can add tools they've used in
their careers, and Uganda's teachers can combine the two to create a better
With mentorship in mind, Dieleman says that now they're offering a
mission trip for teachers. "We also want
to give teachers with experience opportunities to become certified Educational
Care trainer. What that means is: during the summer break they would have an
opportunity to be assigned to one of our trainers in a particular country and
actually go out and accompany them in doing some training."
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