Are You a Positive Listener?

Israel Galindo share more of his wisdom with us today. This time the topic is what it means to listen well to others–a reblog from Columbia Connections.

Columbia Connections

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

Research tells us that between 75% to 80% of the communication flow in most classrooms is from the teacher to the students. While sharing information and directing instruction is a necessary part of the classroom learning experience, so is a teacher’s ability to listen to students. Listening to your learners means more than just hearing the words they use, or hearing to catch right answers and identify misunderstandings. Being a positive listeners takes skill, and, like every helpful teaching skill, requires practice. Test yourself to determine if you are a positive listener:

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Protecting Children through Educator Certification

Having recently finished the process of becoming a Certified Christian Educator through the Presbyterian Church USA I am so appreciative of all I’ve learned and put into practice at my church, Wildwood Presbyterian Church in Grayslake, IL, as the Director of Christian Education. Each course that I completed was immediately applicable to my work as an educator and leader and the completion of the exam for certification was at the pinnacle of putting all that I learned into practice in my ministry. The exam involved designing, implementing, and evaluating an educational event within the context of my current educational ministry. I chose to lead the Christian Education Committee through a process to review and update our Child Protection Policy because we were faced with some new insurance requirements. The ten year old policy had only been updated once, seven years ago, and was long overdue for a review.

I offer the lesson plan, handouts and resource research, and the underlying educational and theological rationale essays, from my exam work for use by the Hope4CE community. Perhaps your faith community’s policy needs a review or you are interested in starting a task force to address policy issues. You are invited to glean ideas, use resources, or borrow any concepts from this design for your own project. The lesson plan file associated with this post contains an introduction to the project, lesson plan outline and details, handouts and resources, and an evaluation of my experience implementing the project. Perhaps you are just interested in what value the certification process may hold for you in your educational ministry. If so, you may want to read the rationale essays, each in it’s own file, which detail how my learning from four of the certification areas was integrated into the educational design.

May God bless your learning and teaching!

Gillmore Lesson Plan for Child Protection Policy Review

Gillmore Rationale Essay Biblical Interpretation

Gillmore Rationale Essay Human Growth and Faith Development

Gillmore Rationale Essay Religious Education Theory and Practice 

Gillmore Rationale Essay Reformed Theology

Kathy Gillmore
Director of Christian Education
Wildwood Presbyterian Church

Vacation Bible School-Yesterday and Today

It’s that time of year again when churches around the country hold Vacation Bible Schools in various formats. For a week or more the church is turned into a biblical marketplace or an underwater reef or a host of other locales to combine Scripture, music, crafts, and games to communicate the Gospel to children and others.

But where did this tradition begin? It seems that the first recorded summer Bible school in the United States was instituted by Mrs. Walker Aylette Hawes in 1898 in conjunction with Epiphany Baptist Church on New York City’s east side. Mrs. Hawes noticed how many immigrant children were roaming the streets in the summer, so she searched for a rented facility where she could begin a six-week summer school. The only available facility was a saloon and thus VBS was born in a bar. Continue reading

PRC Webinars for Church Leaders

The internet has ushered in a new way of doing almost everything, from shopping to research. Here at Practical Resources for Churches (PRC), we’ve seen an increase in the use of the internet in how we interact with people, provide resources, and offer learning and growth opportunities. Although we still offer face-to-face experiences through our workshops and roundtables, our webinar program is continually expanding. Continue reading

Next Church Conference

On March 16, 2015, we looked at a database of Christian Educators of the 20th Century. Today we focus on emerging leaders in the church, specifically the Presbyterian Church (USA) and what they may be thinking about educational ministry and faith formation for the present and future church. The Next Church movement is a network of leaders in the PC(USA) committed to hopeful conversations and reflections on ministry that is more relational, diverse, and collaborative. They host an annual conference and regional gatherings to carry out their mission. If you want to catch this year’s annual conference that began yesterday, they are offering live streaming on their website. There are also members of our Hope4CE Facebook group in attendance this year, who will be contributing their insights via Twitter, Facebook, or through this site.

A portion of this conference is set aside to present short Ignite talks (no more than seven minutes) that detail innovative ideas on a variety of topics. One of these talks from last year, by Landon Whitsitt is linked here. It launched a site of free resources (short videos with accompanying study guides) for new member and church officer training called Theocademy. Although designed specifically to address theology and polity in the Reformed tradition, they may be useful to others beyond the PC(USA) or to “ignite” your own ideas regarding educational ministry for these groups.

I wonder how you address new member and officer training in your church or denomination.

Kathy Dawson, Associate Professor of Christian Education, Columbia Theological Seminary