Hand flip wooden cube with word "change" to "chance", Personal development and career growth or change yourself concept

21st Century Learning

Can you believe it? There have been significant changes in the last 10 years that have upended almost every aspect of our society and across the world. The iPhone (first smartphone), was announced on January 9, 2007, and was later released in the United States on June 29, 2007 (Dolan, 2008). This technological change has ushered in a host of learning changes. There are whiteboards that respond to touch, personal devices that interact with instruction. There are 3D printers. Auto-bots who are programmed to respond and adapt. Each student has access to Google platform, allowing to share and collaborate from anywhere. The question is, were schools preparing students for this change? Are we preparing students for the next advancement in technology and societal needs?

Teaching and learning is what every school is about. Different schools choose different approaches. Granted, some of these choices ultimately prove to be better than others. But, learning and growing is never linear, it always has peaks and valleys. However, constant is the need for the teacher. After all, the teacher is the living curriculum. The focus of that curriculum and abilities of the teacher make a difference.

Schooling in the 21st Century is much different than the schooling of the 19th century. Today, everyone literally has every bit of factual knowledge at their fingertips. The key is, how to discern fact from fiction, filter the noise to something useful, and how to create something with it, and how do I do this in a way that loves God and others.

According to research, in the 21st Century and beyond, students need the following skills (source: P21 Framework for 21st Century Learning.):

  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Communication
  • Collaboration

As the technology development continues to churn on, the learners of today and adults of tomorrow must learn the skills needed to adapt and innovate so they are ready for the next unknown advancement. Thus, when thinking of the pedagogy (the method of teaching and learning), schools need to consider the contemporary and future needs of students (International Business, 2018). Interestingly, if we look at the 21st century needs, those were what we needed in the Christian faith all along.

God has designed the universe and us to meet His purpose. These same skills that are needed for productivity in society are needed in the Church:

  • We need to collaborate with others in order to glorify God and fulfill our purpose (1 Corinthians 12:12-31).
  • We need to communicate clearly and honestly (Ephesians 4:29).
  • We need to be critical thinkers and make wise choices when problem solving (Romans 12:2).
  • We need to be innovative (Mark 2:21-22).

Therefore, as a Christian educator, it is important that our students develop these skills in order to be change makers in whatever vocation they choose; but, they need 21st century skills to fulfill love God, others, and share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thus, teachers need to have 21st century skills and the proper focus in order to develop 21st century students.

What’s The Difference? -Head of School Blog


Dolan, Brian. (2008) “Timeline of Apple “iPhone” Rumors (1999–Present)”. Archived from the original on April 15, 2008. Retrieved November 4, 2018.

P21: Framework for 21st Century Learning. retrieved November 6, 2018 fromhttp://www.p21.org/storage/documents/docs/P21_framework_0816.pdf

International Business. (2018). 21st Century and Life-Long Learning. Retrieved, November 7, 2018 from https://www.uscib.org/new-book-explores-approaches-to-lifelong-learning-for-the-21st-century/

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martin and flourishing schools

Flourishing Schools

Educators, especially at our school, make this flourishing a reality, when so many of our schools are struggling to meet the academic, physical, and spiritual nature of students. Often schools will focus on one or two of these attributes of a whole person. However, as Scripture tells us, there is more to us than just our body or mind. Rather, we have a soul and spirit. Each of these need to be raised up in order to provide a strong student who flourishes.
Here are my top 3 ways to develop a flourishing and healthy school:
1. Every School Community Member Is Important
Although I am responsible for the facilitation of it all, I must rely on the information from all of our stakeholders, parents, students, staff, faculty, church, and community. Together we determine what will help our students succeed. This sort of culture starts with relationships at every level. The parent-student, student-teacher, teacher-student, and other relationships are first. I strongly believe people are more important than systems. Systems should enhance relationships. Thus, we spend a lot of time building a healthy relationship. Each of us has a role; but, respect for and reliance upon each others role will help everyone succeed. This synergy, the whole is greater than the parts, is essential in a flourishing school
2. School Should Be An Inviting And Engaging Place
School should be a place we all want to be. Of course, there are days that this isn’t true; however, the school should be a place that is engaging and encouraging. We should be enthusiastically heralding the school. If we don’t, then it is our part to work on making the school even better.
3. Schools Are For Students
Students voice is crucial. What do they think and need from a class or school program? The teachers, administrators, parents, students, and staff all should be focusing on the students’ success. A good school knows that mission and can tie all activities to it.
I have had the honor to be in many schools, private and public, Christian and secular in my career. Everyone of them had their strengths and weaknesses. What really separated the good from the best was how they developed students minds, bodies, and souls holistically and in an interrelated balance.
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Ancient Library


As the last post in this Worldview Series, I would like to summarize the importance of knowing what a worldview is and why so much time has been dedicated to it. In our Christian faith we are told to not conform to the secular worldview yet shed the sinful bent and renew our thoughts so that we think and become more like Jesus Christ every day.


Romans 12:2
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (NIV)”


Due to this clear scriptural mandate, I want everyone to be clear that a Christian school, such as Salem Christian School, does this through the Christian school experience. Because it is so important, I wanted to take a blog entry to summarize this critical feature of a Christian school (Stanton, 2017).


A worldview embodies the central values of a culture and providing the basis upon which one’s identity and self-esteem are established (Brookfield, 2000; Coleman, 2003). While it might seem self-evident that these things are the same, as it turns out, there are critical differences between them. Worldview is self-evident: an individual or collective intellectual perspective on the world or universe (Funk, 2001). Worldview is largely a life philosophy that answers big questions with practical implications held by a certain individual or group of individuals that directs conscious and subconscious decisions (Funk, 2001; Schultz & Swezey, 2013; Tsvetkov, 2014).


In Types and Problems of Philosophy, Hunter Mead (1964) defines worldview as the inclusive view of the world or outlook. Worldview is a somewhat poetic term to indicate either an articulated system of philosophy or an unconscious attitude toward life and the world (Funk, 2001; Mead, 1964; Schultz & Swezey, 2013). Importantly, a person’s worldview can include both conscious and unconscious beliefs. Primarily, a worldview is the system by which human beings answer the relevant questions and dilemmas that confront them in daily life (Funk, 2001; Sire, 1990; 1998). Worldviews tend to be more malleable and less concrete, shifting and evolving over time to account for the changing circumstances in the lives of individuals and culture at large (Sire 1990). Speaking to this, James W. Sire (1990), in Discipleship of the Mind, defines worldview as “a set of presuppositions … which we hold … about the makeup of our world” (p.17).


According to Funk (2001), a worldview can implicate a number of different things. Included in a worldview are beliefs based on reality, which can come from many different sources. Specifically, a worldview will typically consider the question of epistemology or a person’s beliefs about the nature of knowledge and how human beings collect knowledge (Funk, 2001; Mead, 1964; Schultz & Swezey, 2013). One’s worldview will also cover metaphysics, which are the inherent beliefs about the nature of reality. Bigger picture questions about cosmology are also implicated in a worldview (Funk, 2001). These are the beliefs about the origin of man, including the origins of life and how the universe came to be (Mead, 1964; Funk, 2001; Schultz & Swezey, 2013). It may be true that religious worldviews concern themselves more commonly with these bigger questions of being than do secularist (Howse, 2005; Schultz & Swezey, 2013; Wolters, 2016). However, the secularist does have a specific view that is in part derived from their need to be consistent with the atheistic or agnostic theological view (Funk, 2001; Howse, 2005; Moreland, 2007; Spears & Loomis, 2009; Swezey, 2013; Wolters, 2016). Religion has often set out to answer critical questions about teleology or beliefs about the meaning and purpose of life (Sire; 1990). Funk (2001) believes that worldview will necessarily take into account elements of theology or the beliefs about the existence of God and God’s nature. On a more individualistic note, worldviews tend to consider anthropology, or the study of the purpose of man (Funk, 2001). This can be applied to the individual, as that individual’s worldview is shaped by one’s personal beliefs about one’s purpose on earth (Funk, 2001; Howse, 2005; Sire, 1990; Wolters, 2016). The final worldview element, axiology helps to frame the day-to-day worldview that people practically take with them when they leave the house (Funk, 2001; Sire, 1990). Critical to the fundamentals of worldview understanding is axiology. The term axiology comes from the Greek axios or value (Funk, 2001). In the context of worldview, one’s axiology consists of a set of beliefs about the nature of worth and what is valuable: What is right? What is wrong? What is good? What is bad? Virtually all elements of your worldview, from epistemology to anthropology, are intimately related to your axiology and vice-versa; it is a person’s beliefs about the value of things that are the proximate cause for most of that person’s behavior (Funk, 2001; Mead, 1964; Sire, 1990; 1998). These are axiological beliefs about value—What is good? What is bad? And, what constitutes right and wrong? (Funk, 2001; Howse, 2005; Mead, 1964; Wolters, 2016).


Worldview Lenses and the Big Life Question Asked
Metaphysical : What is real?
Epistemological : What is truth? What is nature of knowledge and collection of knowledge?
Theology : Does God exist? If so what is God’s nature?
Teleological: What is a person’s purpose?
Cosmology: Where did everything begin?
Anthropology: What is the nature of humankind?
Axiology: What values are important? What is Good? What is bad?


In summary:
The following elaboration of these lenses and their implications to thought and action is based on Hunter Mead’s Types and Problems of Philosophy (1964) and Dr. Funk’s insight. For each worldview element, there are overarching questions posed by Dr. Funk (2001) that illustrates the individual’s Worldview (2001). Furthermore, Dr. Funk (2001) presents the implications those beliefs could have to thoughts, beliefs, and actions. And, thoughts, beliefs, and actions are all fundamentals to why and then how someone would approach the world (Funk, 2001; Howse, 2005; Mead, 1964; Moreland, 2007; Spears & Loomis, 2009; Sire, 1990).

A person’s worldview does not have to be an explicit thing that he or she states (Funk, 2001; Sire, 1990). In most cases, it is precisely the opposite of this, as it will be something that a person just operates on without thinking (Funk, 2001; Sire, 1990; Wolters, 2016). Human beings only have limited conscious time to think, and most people would prefer to use that time thinking about something other than their prevailing worldview (Sire, 1990). Additionally, it is critical to recognize those worldview elements can be highly interrelated (Funk, 2001; Howse, 2005; Sire, 1990; Wolters, 2016). One element can weigh heavy on another, and they cannot be discussed independently without understanding the inter-relatedness (Sire, 1990). The factors mentioned previously are not exhaustive or comprehensive. Some people can have worldviews that consider questions outside of the scope (Funk, 2001). The practical application of the worldview is going to operate on assumptions that are key to the underlying beliefs within a worldview (Sire, 1990). A worldview is the set of beliefs about fundamental aspects of reality that ground and influence a person’s perceiving, thinking, knowing, and doing (Funk, 2001; Mead, 1964; Sire, 1990; 1998). A worldview consists of an individual’s epistemological, metaphysical, teleological, theological, and axiological understandings of the world around them (Funk, 2001). Each of these subsets (lenses) of a worldview is highly interrelated with each of the others and affects virtually all of the others (Funk, 2001; Phillips & Brown, 1991).

What’s The Difference? -Head of School Blog

Brookfield, S. D. (2000). Transformative learning as ideological critique. In J. Mezirow & Associates (Eds.), Learning as transformation (pp. 125-148). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Coleman, J. (2003). School choice, diversity and a life of one’s own. Theory and Research in Education. March (1). 101-120. doi:10.1177/1477878503001001007
Funk, K. (2001, March 21). What is a worldview? Retrieved April 12, 2016, from http://web.engr.oregonstate.edu/~funkk/Personal/worldview.html. Essay Series
Howse, B. (2005). One nation under man?: the worldview war between Christians and the secular left. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman.
Mead, H. (1964). Types and Problems of Philosophy, New York, NY: Holt.
Schultz, G., & Swezey, J. A. (2013). A Three-Dimensional Concept of Worldview. Journal Of Research On Christian Education, 22(3), 227-243.
Sire, J. W. (1990). Discipleship of the mind: Learning to love God in the ways we think. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. pp 17-19.
Sire, J. W. (1998). The universe next door: A basic worldview catalog (3rd ed.). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
Spears, P. D., & Loomis, S. R. (2009). Education for human flourishing: A Christian perspective. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic.
Stanton, M. (2017). Worldview of Inclusivity.. Rutgers Press, New Brunswick, NJ.
Tsvetkov, V. Y. (2014). Worldview Model as the Result of Education. World Applied Sciences Journal, 31(2), 211-215. doi:10.5829/idosi.wasj.2014.31.02.14309
Wolters, A. M. (n.d.). On The Idea of Worldview and Its Relation to Philosophy. Retrieved December 14, 2016, from http://www.allofliferedeemed.co.uk/Wolters/AMVWorldviews.pdf
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Mind the Gap

When living in New Jersey, I visited NYC very often. And, I regularly rode the subway. When you get on the subway they announce caution about the gap in between the train and the platform. Famously the London Underground says, “Mind the Gap”. This blog is about how we can be mindful of the gap between our belief and actions. Specifically, know your values. Your actions are reflective of your thoughts, beliefs, and values.


For the past six weeks, and this seventh week, the blog has been about the several lenses of a worldview. This is the final installment in the series of worldview lenses. Hopefully, it has given you a deeper understanding of what Salem Christian School sees as the mission of developing students to love God with all their minds, bodies, and souls. Of course, there is no specific order of lenses. Rather, these lenses are inter-dependent. In order for a worldview to be valid and reliable it must be coherent and consistent. And, as a Christian, we would contend that unless it is built on Truth, as revealed by God, then it cannot be consistent or coherent.


The academic term, Axiology, is the label for this lens. Axiology is the lens that describes someones values, morals, and what is right and wrong. Someone’s axiological view is the foundation for all of conscious judgments and decisions. This becomes the basis for all thought and action.


The Christian view is that all thought is tainted by sin. Thus, we renew our mind by conforming it to the likeness of Christ. This view of human sinful nature and theological answer to that problem is expressed in how we view right and wrong; what we value, and how we behave in the world. Granted, some acts are reflexive or instinctive but these automatic reactions are patterns that we have, which can be changed if we change our inner most thinking and behaviors consciously over time. There is no excuse for doing the wrong thing. There is only forgiveness and mercy with the hope of doing the hard work of restoring ourselves and creating a new pattern in life.


Hunter Mead (1964) and Dr. Funk (2001) both contend that our belief of what is right and wrong is based on our value structure. We can only have one priority at a time. Ask yourself, “What do you value most?” And, that is how you will act. Jesus said that the greatest commandment that summarizes the rest is that we are to love our God with all our mind, body, and soul (Mark 12:30-31). If that is truly the highest value a person holds, then the outcome is guaranteed to be Truth and right.


The crutch of all of this is to know God so intermittently that all of our natural patterns are converted to godly patterns. Throw off the old way of thinking and put on the new.
A Christian school is uniquely positioned to assist parents in this ideal. The Christian school, such as Salem Christian School, can impact the Lehigh Valley, Eastern Pennsylvania, and the world beyond by developing one mind at a time to reflect the Truth found in the Gospel.


Funk. (2001). What’s a Worldview. Oregon State. Retrieved March 2010,  from: http://web.engr.oregonstate.edu/~funkk/Personal/worldview.html
Mead, H. (1964). Types and Problems of Philosophy. Holt; 3rd Edition editionNew York, NY.


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The Condition

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