Saturday, January 18, 2014

More Teacher Training at Timothy Centre

Now that I am based at Uganda Christian University, we are relying on other volunteer teacher trainers to facilitate the teacher training module at Timothy Centre.  Today is the last day of the January module on biblically-based curriculum planning which began January 8.

Last Saturday Karl and I drove to Entebbe picked up our two Canadian colleagues who had just flown in Friday night to help teach this module.  Jill and Claudia had quite a time trying to get to Uganda because of the flight cancellations in the eastern U.S. with all the winter storms, but finally arrived and were ready to start after weeks of preparation and planning.  Thankfully, Lizabee (the director of education for Kibaale Community Centre and Timothy Centre this year) was able to fill in for the first three days of the module.  It was good to be able to spend some time with Jill and Claudia on the drive down to Masaka where the Timothy Centre is located and then to help answer some questions, find teaching materials in my office, etc. as they ‘stepped into the saddle’.  Jill and Claudia are seasoned educators and quickly built rapport with the teachers in the class.P1240494 

Karl and I were able to stay until Monday morning so this allowed us to participate in their Sunday morning worship service and provide some more support during the Monday morning teaching sessions.  Well done, Jill and Claudia! 

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The Bread of Kingdom Education


While thinking about how to describe the concept of integrating faith and teaching at the university, the parable comparing the kingdom of God to yeast (Luke 13: 20-21) came to mind. So, as part of my preparation for a pedagogy workshop presented to the teaching staff last week, I decided to head into my kitchen and start baking. I baked two loaves of bread using the same ingredients….except that I didn’t knead any yeast into the dough for the second loaf. Instead, I sprinkled some dry yeast on top once it was baked. It was a rather unsavoury product!

Then at the workshop, as we were discussing what true integration of faith and teaching looks like, we examined the two loaves of bread and talked about what made them so very different, even though they essentially had the same ingredients.


The lecturers picked up quickly on the main point. The kingdom of God penetrates into every part of our lives, thinking, and study-- just as yeast (when properly kneaded into the lump of dough) penetrates the whole loaf and produces ‘real’ bread. The biblical worldview needs to be the foundation and heart of all of our teaching in an authentically Christian university. This takes some hard thinking and prayerful preparation of courses and lesson plans, but results in true nourishing of our students’ minds and hearts and prepares them to be transformers of all sectors of society. The temptation as Christian educators is to be lazy in our thinking and simply attach a scripture verse or prayer on top of an otherwise secular approach to the content and methodology. This leads to a very unsatisfactory result, as does sprinkling yeast on top of a loaf of bread rather than kneading it into the whole lump of dough.

In all the faculty training we do in the Institute of Faith, Learning and Service here at Uganda Christian University, we will be challenging ourselves to thinking creatively about Christian higher education and the ways in which a biblical worldview will transform all we do in our teaching and learning.