SE Asia (MNN) — Many teachers around the world have received little or no teacher training and are working in schools with very few material resources. Professional development tools are next to none, and there's very little mentorship in a third-world country.
Worldwide Christian Schools developed a modular "Educational CareTM" (EC) teacher's enrichment course to meet those needs, which, in turn, creates better teachers for the long haul. Dale Dieleman, USA Field Director for Worldwide Christian Schools, says they use a "train the trainer" approach to equipping classroom teachers. "It's basically looking at a holistic view of what Christian teaching and Christian schooling is all about."
The Educational Care Program consists of six modules:
1. The Biblical Worldview
2. How Students Learn
3. Developing Student Gifts
4. Preventive and Corrective Discipline
5. Leadership in School
6. The Purpose and Value of Your School
By covering these topics, Christian schools are more likely to make a positive impact for the Kingdom of God in their communities. A teacher can't teach what she doesn't know, Dieleman explains, so they start from the very beginning. As a result, "We've had several teachers have their faith challenged through the lessons in the very first module. Some have been sort of led back to Christ."
Each course is taught in four-day sessions which culminate in drafting a personal 4-6 month plan of action. The time investment makes the lessons more likely to "stick." While it can take up to three years to go through all six modules, another benefit is that the training can go to the field, rather than the teachers coming to the training.
It provides on-the-job-learning, is peer-learning oriented, inductive-learning focused, practically based, adaptable to local situations, worldview driven, and community oriented. A win-win situation…and one that is making other teachers take note.
Up until now, the program was offered in several countries in Africa and Latin America. However, WWCS is expanding to Southeast Asia, specifically Indonesia and Cambodia. Why there? Dieleman says, "Where God invites us, we don't say ‘no.' We've developed some relationships in Indonesia and Cambodia with some emerging partners."
Dieleman goes on to explain that the opportunity to work in Indonesia came about through a woman who had gone through the training and found herself back in West Michigan when her husband came to the United States to go through seminary training at Calvin College. "Through her contacts back home, she was able to help us organize this trip we're doing this summer in July to go to Indonesia, and she also translated all the modules."
The team heading up the training will teach modules 1 and 2 over the course of four days, Dieleman explains, adding, "That would necessitate three and four on another trip, and five and six on another trip. But then, they'll be fully engaged. During this time, we will also be identifying people who would like to step forward and say, ‘I want to be an Education Care trainer here in Cambodia or here in Indonesia.'"
As final preparations are underway, they're asking prayer for the teaching teams to communicate clearly and that God would ready the hearts of the teachers WWCS will be helping.
Want to know more about the EC program? Click here for more ways you can help or get involved.