To 'Conform' or be 'Transformed'

To 'Conform' or be 'Transformed'

Thursday, 16 June 2016  | Karissa - Assistant Principal - Secondary
Throughout the course of this year, one task of the MECS Leadership Team is to actively engage with our current policies; ensuring that they are assisting to guide our current practice. One such policy is our Guided Exposure Policy.

In summary, “The Guided Exposure Policy outlines the guidelines that the school uses to select and use reading and non-print media resources and in the choice of topics and issues selected within the curriculum.”*

Throughout Term 3, teaching staff and various Association members will look in greater detail at the newly revised Guided Exposure policy. Whilst the policy has existed for some time, MECS Leadership recognised the need for greater clarity and active engagement of a broader selection of the school community.
Our role as Christian educators is to not only ‘open up’ the world to students, but more importantly, support them to be responsive disciples of Christ in the world; to equip them to be ‘in the world but not of it’. We aim to build in them the tools necessary for safe negotiation and exploration. In order to do this, students may need to be challenged in their worldview, and to be taught to question what goes on around them, in order that they may be able to effectively discern what God’s will is.

As Paul writes in his letter to the church in Rome…“I appeal to you therefore brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
(Romans 12:1–2)

We would have a very difficult task shielding our students from all that is ‘not right with the world’. We live in a world that is ever-increasingly anti-God; our students are bombarded with messages that go against the very nature of who God is. What are we to do with this reality? Do we bunker down, lock the doors and block out all that is not right?

And for how long will we succeed? Or do we give up and resign ourselves to thinking; ‘this is just the way the world is… deal with it!’? We do neither. Rather, we actively seek to respond to God’s call on our lives; to be salt and light in a dark world. And we actively seek to ensure our students are equipped to do the same. 

The notion of ‘guided exposure’ means that rather than shielding students from contentious issues/materials, teachers will introduce them to students in a manner appropriate to their age, with biblical perspective and with appropriate critique. The only way to replace the error of the world’s way of thinking is to replace it with God’s truth, and the only infallible source of God’s truth is His revealed Word, the Bible. Through their studies with the National Institute of Christian Education (NICE), staff are equipped to assist students to unpack and discern the subtle influence of idolatrous ideas or non-Christian worldviews.

But perhaps you are still wondering… How do we decide which materials to study or use in our curriculum?

A series of guidelines are used in order for staff to make informed decisions about which materials are ‘appropriate’ for study. Staff source materials that are age and educationally appropriate, provide a range of literary experiences, evoke imaginative involvement and sympathy, open up opportunities for critical appreciation of material types and provide a realistic understanding of good and evil. There also needs to be consideration for the limitations imposed by VCAA with regards to the VCE; where text lists are prescribed and restrict freedom of choice.

Teachers are always seeking to ensure that learning is engaging and relevant; therefore also sourcing materials that have a good balance of cultural relevance and positive active engagement for all students.

As a community, we need to continue to uphold the staff and students at MECS as we seek to discern God’s will and direction through the aid of our Guided Exposure Policy, as the staff actively engage with the document, and as we equip our students not to ‘conform’ but to be ‘transformed’.    

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