For this issue of CEJ, we asked our panelists either to talk about a recent book they have read and its helpfulness as a Christian educator or to discuss other types of media (podcasts, blogs, newsletters, journals, etc.) they use for ideas, inspiration, and engagement with the work of Christian education.
Justin Cook started the conversation by highlighting a variety of books, podcasts, and other sources:
- Books: Leaders of Their Own Learning, written by Ron Berger, Leah Rugen, and Libby Woodfin, continues to be a pivotal text for Christian schools in Ontario as we keep pushing for student engagement. Responsive Classroom, an organization with a number of training resources, has captivated us with their special approach to teaching that connects academic success with social and emotional learning. We’re tapping into Responsive Classroom’s resources, such as The First Six Weeks of School and The Morning Meeting Book.
Another text I’m excited to read is Humanizing the Education Machine by Rex Miller, Bill Latham, and Brian Cahill. The principal here at Hamilton District Christian High School, Nathan Siebenga, was personally involved in this book, and Rex Miller has participated in past Christian Deeper Learning networking meetings.
Curt Thompson, our keynote speaker for next fall’s convention, has written Anatomy of the Soul and The Soul of Shame, which make powerful connections between interpersonal neurobiology (IPNB) and spiritual formation. He explores what it means “to know as we are known” in both our personal narratives and the larger drama of Scripture.
- Podcasts: The TED Radio Hour, hosted by Guy Raz on NPR, is an entertaining way of accessing multiple TED Talks linked by common themes in a single episode. My favorite episode is “How It All Began.” Is anyone exploring the use of Big History in their schools? I also appreciated the short podcast series by Malcolm Gladwell called Revisionist History. And finally, for the English teachers out there, I love listening to the stories on Snap Judgment.
- Other sources: I’ll highlight two other sources that inspire me. The first is an amazing network of Christian educators with whom I share ideas and resources constantly. This professional learning network uses Twitter to bring some of the best thinking in education right to my computer. Resources include items from the Buck Institute for Education, Edutopia, and others. Second, we’ve done in-person visits at schools that model our vision. Our visits to an Expeditionary Learning (EL) school in Rochester, NY—Genesee Community Charter School—connected us to Responsive Classroom, for instance.
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