While the holidays started early for pupils at the end of last term, 365 Christian School teachers from across New Zealand descended on Middleton Grange School for a two day Conference on Friday 3 and Saturday 4 July 2015.
The theme of the Conference was ‘Setting the Learning Agenda’ and it asked the question ‘Who is setting the learning agenda?’ This is an important question for Christian Educators to consider, given the competing interests of the government, interest groups, pupils and parents. We were blessed with four amazing keynote speakers who spoke with passion and clarity. The four speakers and their topics were:
Nathan Mikaere-Wallis, Brainwave
Brain elasticity. Brainwave’s vision is that all children in Aotearoa NZ are valued and nurtured so they can reach their full potential. With new findings in brain research the vision is that one day every child in NZ will get the best start in life because parents and the whole community understand and value the impact of early experiences on the brain.
Dr Richard Edlin, Edserve International
The great imposition. When understood, demonstrated in the lives of our teachers and schools and taught in the classroom, faithful Christian schooling provides the greatest and most glorious hope for New Zealand.
Jade Hohaia, Hohaia Innovations
Authentic Key Relationships. Many schools and teachers struggle to engage Māori families and how to raise Māori student achievement. Take a trip into the very heart of Te Ao Māori (The Māori World), which is a gold mine, and come away with practical nuggets to keep and share.
Dr JunMo Cho – Handong International School
Global Education. In an increasingly globalised world Christian educators are challenged to have new perspectives in preparing tomorrow’s Kingdom agents. A Christian perspective on globalisation compels us to be motivated by genuine interests in serving others across cultural barriers and will lead to one that cultivates cross-cultural aptitude with the hope of equipping students to be future ministers of reconciliation.
On offer were over 50 Workshops, some led by Middleton Grange staff, which covered a wide range of topics relevant to best pedagogical practice and Christian Education.
The feedback from the teachers has been overwhelmingly positive. In fact, 172 delegates said the Conference met their expectations absolutely / mostly and for 3 it did not meet their expectations. We give God the praise for the positive impact of the Conference.
Our prayer is that we not only are ‘hearers of the Conference’ but will put into action some of the wonderful strategies we heard about.
These Conferences are important to staff in order to strengthen our understanding of Christian Education.