How do schools that aim to provide a Christian education go about supporting students to become responsible citizens?
That’s the question Anetta Scheurwater is looking to answer through a month of research she is currently conducting at Immanuel Christian School (ICS) in Oshawa, followed by a similar investigation at a Christian school in British Columbia.
A student in her final year of teacher training at Driestar university in the Netherlands, Scheurwater is undertaking the research for a new international studies program at the school.
She says the impetus for this focus of her research comes from visiting four different schools in her country for her learning practice.
“I saw in those classes they had Bible class in the morning and from then on the Christian identity kind of quit,” Scheurwater tells the OACS News.
“And I heard that in Canada it was different (with) the Christian schools because they get no funding. That makes them more motivated.”
Her research includes first establishing a definition of responsible citizenship, which is based on a study of literature on the subject.
She is then studying the ICS guiding principles, policies and curriculum outlines with a view to discover the aim of the school, and particularly its objective with regards to responsible citizenship.
Following this, Scheurwater is observing various classes, including creation studies, environmental studies, science and history, to see “how they teach the values that a responsible citizen should have.”
She is also exploring the school’s extra-curricular activities that are geared towards providing opportunities to foster responsible citizenship.
Scheurwater says she’s been intrigued to learn about some of the innovative ways ICS is in fact doing this, such as through its annual extreme wilderness hike, an environmental club and creative group.
Another component of her research includes a survey to determine what the students consider most important when it comes to the values of a responsible citizen, as compared to what they are being taught.
She says her greatest hope would be to see “there are actually schools who are Christians for the whole day,” adding her initial experiences with ICS have been positive in this regard.
Scheurwater notes she is also intrigued to see how ICS will differ from the B.C. school, which is about 30 to 40 per cent government funded.
Once her paper is complete, she will provide a copy to the schools she researched.