How can others tell, by looking at our Christian schools, that love abounds there? And what is the role of engagement as the symbol and emblem of that love in our schools?
These were two of the leading questions that Steven Levy asked teachers and educators to consider, as he began his address. He was intentional about redefining the priority of what it means to lead with love. Starting with the bigger picture of how God hurled the galaxies into the universe and spoke the earth into being, he pointed out that this same God is embodied in the person of Christ who came to the earth to live among us. He then narrowed the example back down to the classroom level, where he emphasized that in the same way that God can be known through Christ, we can know how our school loves by the practices and cultures that we create in our schools. And at the very heart of this is engagement.
One of the greatest obstacles to creating a culture of engaged learning in classrooms is that students care only about their grades and not about the process of learning. Educators were challenged to reimagine education with a commitment to a new covenant model of education—a dynamic change from the past industry of education that has focused primarily on academic measurement through testing and assigning of grades.
By weaving stories of some of the projects that he has done with his classes over the years, teachers discovered how they can be intentional about finding that one moment, defined by Howard Gardner as, “the most important moment in a child’s education—the crystalizing experience—when a child connects to something that engages their curiosity and stimulates further exploration”, and to use it to motivate their students’ learning.
As well, educators were encouraged to hold on to one final principle of engagement for their students—audience—in order to help them produce the best work that they can. Stephen concluded by sharing that as educators create an environment for students that invites the genius in each of their students, as they find the right questions to motivate students to grow and learn and explore, and as they provide a purpose for their learning, students are being seen and honored for who they are and of what they are capable.
Steven and Joanna Levy were the keynote speakers at this year’s Edifide Christian Educator’s Association convention, held at Redeemer University College in Ancaster. Both experienced and passionate educators, the Levy’s embodied the theme of the conference, “Leading with Love”.