Professional Development Resources
As we began developing the Practicing Faith Survey, one of the concerns that animated our discussions was that when schools engage in efforts to collect data for assessment purposes, there is often little immediate benefit for students and teachers. A survey is completed, data is collected, and we return to business as usual. We hope that the Practicing Faith Survey will prove useful to schools in terms of helping them to understand how their students are living out their faith. Yet we also hope that it will be useful for individual students and teachers, suggesting ways for each to grow. That is why in addition to the survey itself we are providing resources for helping students to reflect on what taking the survey can teach them, and also these pages, where we focus on professional growth for teachers.
The Practicing Faith Survey is designed not just to provide a single measure to tell us how students are doing, but rather to provide a map of how they are investing in a range of faith-informed practices. The point is not to compete against others’ scores, but to gain a sense of which aspects of Christian practice are being invested in more or less than others. Perhaps the culture of a particular Christian school is good at pushing students to seek truth and articulate their beliefs clearly, but less good at fostering neighbor-loving relationships. Perhaps another has a very caring interpersonal culture, but weaker signs of helping students to engage with service or justice-seeking in the wider world. The Practicing Faith Survey can provide some clues about where there is already deep investment and where some fresh attention might be warranted.
This in turn has implications for your teaching. The kinds of practices that the Practicing Faith Survey has in view are not ones that happen alongside the main business of school, like a lunch-time prayer meeting. Instead, they focus on how faith is lived out within the life of a student. Here the choices of each teacher in the school become relevant: how is your teaching supporting students in their calling as Christian students?
This part of the site takes each area of Christian practice covered in the survey and connects it to examples of how teachers have modified their teaching to support students in that area of growth. You can use these pages to reflect on how you can continue to grow as a teacher. We also hope that you will use them to initiate conversations with your colleagues about how your teaching practices help students to grow in faith.