Faithful Learning Faithful Living

Faithful Learning Faithful Living

Thursday, 21 April 2016  | Emma - Senior School Coordinator
In the Senior School at MECS, we use the motto ‘Faithful Learning, Faithful Living’ to try and succinctly encapsulate the educational approach we strive for. Stepping into the role this year as Senior School Coordinator has led me to ponder what this statement really means, how it is seen in action in the Senior School, and whether there are ways we can actively celebrate and acknowledge students in these behaviours.

What does Faithful Learning, Faithful Living mean?
The joy of any catchphrase, motto or vision statement is that depending on how you look at it, it can be meaningfully interpreted in a wide variety of ways.

To me, there are a number of layers to this statement. Faithfulness can be considered in terms of a commitment, dedication, or constancy in something. It also has a sense of being an ongoing action, not simply a characteristic that once achieved can be set aside for the next thing. Additionally, there is an implication of responding out of faith or belief.

Stating that we are aiming for faithful learning, suggests that we invite students to take seriously their commitment to the educational task before them. This isn’t something to be measured merely in the attainment of pleasing marks. It even goes deeper than the common encouragement to “do your best”. It speaks of an ongoing, deep commitment to take up the mantle of learning with responsible and thoughtful application of the resources available to us, be they academic capability, artistic flair, sporting prowess, mental discipline, or social discernment. For those of a Christian faith it is also an encouragement to ground this as an outworking of belief in God. As it says in Colossians 3:17, ‘whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.’ Dr Fernando often shares on the Year 12 Study camp a story of a student he had who wrote on all pieces of work ‘D4G’, as a visual reminder that they wanted to ‘do it for God’. I think this is a powerful example of a student framing their call as a student as an act of worship. Practically speaking, faithful learning in the Senior School could involve behaviours such as: consistent use of the study centre, choosing the assignment topic that is a stretch rather than the easiest one, persistence in overcoming a challenging subject or assignment, or applying a growth mindset when faced with disappointing outcomes.

Faithful living is deeply intertwined with the notion of faithful learning, but it seeks to encourage the broader outworking of faith in the day-to-day experience of schooling (and beyond). We hope to teach students that God is Lord over all parts of life, and as such, in all areas we need to try to respond to that. In the school context faithful living could be seen in many different ways. It might be the student that actively seeks to make new students or those who struggle to interact socially, feel welcomed and important. Or it could be the student that regularly looks for ways to assist others in class because they usually get through their work quickly. It may even be the student that goes above and beyond in helping keep the school clean and promote sustainability and recycling. In all cases it demonstrates a responsiveness or acting out of faith to contribute to the Kingdom, and in a more immediate way, the school community.

How can we celebrate and acknowledge Faithful Learning, Faithful Living?
We have been exploring this question in our secondary staff meetings. Most acknowledgement happens in the small everyday interactions in the classroom and around the school yard. It may be as simple as a quick word of encouragement from a teacher or peer, or more formal comments made in a school report or parent teacher meeting. In the Senior School we are trialling the introduction of ‘Faithful Learning’ and ‘Faithful Living’ awards presented once a term in the section assembly. These awards seek to publically celebrate actions or behaviours that represent these respective ideals. It is not intended that these awards go to students that achieve the highest grades or that the students awarded are necessarily exemplary in all areas of their schooling. Rather, it is the opportunity to take a moment to celebrate a behaviour, action or approach that demonstrates faithful learning or faithful living, and in doing so hopes to ‘spur one another on toward love and good deeds.’ (Hebrews 10:24)

The first round of awards were presented in the Senior School Assembly on Monday April 18 by Narelle to the following students:

Faithful Learning awards
Natalie - For her excellent use of the study centre, consistent hard work, and proactive approach to her learning.
Cailan - For his attention to detail, willingness to attempt all tasks, and consistently high effort towards his school work.  
Astrid - For her persistent and dedicated approach to her studies, proactivity in seeking out teachers, and desire to help others in their learning.
Faithful Living awards
Caitlyn - For her contribution to the development of a positive Senior School community by displaying care and concern for her classmates and frequently looking for ways to assist their learning.
Jordan, Daniel, Cameron, Luke, Ethan, Aaron, Kayla, Jessica - ‘For giving up personal free time to restore the frog bog.’

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