Nate Van Kampen has a passion for China and a heart for giving children an opportunity to hear the gospel, so working on a new English Language Learning (ELL) Bible curriculum is an exciting venture.
Van Kampen, a Bible and ESL teacher at Hamilton District Christian High school (HDCH), says it became increasingly obvious in teaching the Bible course that it wasn’t fair for ELL students who are learning English and may not have Christianity in their culture.
“I looked at the school population and realized there was a segment of our school who had no knowledge of Jesus or the Bible or God’s plan for the world,” says Van Kampen.
HDCH has a goal to have 10 per cent of its students be international, and though some are from English-speaking countries others have English as a second language.
Not only are the biblical concepts new for some students, but there are also many higher vocabulary words to learn such as sanctification and justification, he notes.
Van Kampen and principal Nathan Siebenga discussed the issue, and Siebenga suggested the idea of an ELL Bible course.
“The landscape has changed. Students have less biblical understanding coming into Christian high schools than they used to,” Siebenga tells the OACS News.
Having an ELL Bible course allows the Bible and scripture to be part of learning the language, he notes.
The idea grew to including an online format so students across Canada and overseas can also use the curriculum.
Siebenga approached the Canadian Christian Education Foundation (CCEF) with the idea. A plan was drafted, and the CCEF board approved a $20,000 grant towards the project.
The grant money will be used towards relief time for Van Kampen to develop the curriculum.
“It’s going to give our international students an opportunity to hear the word, to learn English, and to become more well-versed in the scriptures,” Siebenga says.
“This is a real blessing and I want to thank CCEF for that,” he adds.
A number of schools across Canada have contacted HDCH interested to help with the project or benefit from the program.
The goal is to launch the curriculum in September 2013.
To learn more about the project, or to make a donation, click here.