by Katie Klos
Class Five Lead Teacher, Middle School Girls’ Bible, and Middle School Literature
I borrowed the title of this blog post from a conference that Jon Simons and I had the pleasure of attending at Cairn University last summer. I was very encouraged by how much of what was presented at the conference is already present and thriving at Clapham. The big idea was that being a Christian school and integrating the Bible into your curriculum looks like a lot more than just having a Bible period every day or even including a Bible reference in each lesson. Rather, the best kind of Biblical integration happens when students and teachers genuinely examine subject matter together and also meaningfully share with one another about non-school topics.
The first component of a Biblically-integrated school is an atmosphere in which teachers and students together delve into the curriculum material with joy and eagerness because the texts and ideas that they are studying, even if they aren’t the Bible themselves, are from God and exhibit truth about Him. At Clapham, I see this all the time as classes enjoy parsing a sentence together in grammar, realize as a class how to solve a new kind of math problem, or rejoice to know the name of a flower they found at Adam’s park. Although none of these class activities directly engage with or involve Scripture, they are demonstrative of how God’s truth is at work in us as we study the things He has made and designed together. We do occasionally direct the conversation toward how math or grammar or nature study relate to the Bible, but most class periods aren’t designed with that as part of the discussion. It is there all the time, under the surface. To be Biblically-integrated, in other words, is to see the themes and ideas from the Bible in every aspect of life, and especially in the various topics in the school curriculum.
The other component of a Biblically-integrated school is an atmosphere in which teachers and students have relationship with one another and discuss the real things that are happening in students’ lives. This essentially, is discipleship. While we are helping our students grow as Christians and humans indirectly through our curricular subject matter, we are also helping them grow more directly in our lunchtime and break time conversations, in our habit training, and in our classroom discussions. It matters to Clapham teachers what is going on in the lives of their students outside of the classroom as well as inside it. We frequently bring up questions in class discussions that relate the ideas of the text to the students’ non-school lives and discuss them as a class. Habit training regularly involves conversations that get to the heart of the issue, not just the external behavior. And during non-class times, such as break or lunch, teachers enjoy talking with the students about lighter matters and getting to know them as people. All of these are part of having a Biblically-integrated school, where interpersonal relationships support and demonstrate the things we are learning in Scripture.
I have been so thankful to work at Clapham, and the conference this summer gave me some more words to describe the special kinds of things we do here.