Anglican ethos is something much talked about by both school leadership and the church but what does it look like for a classroom teacher? This is something the Anglican Schools in Southern Queensland are trying to address. Here is a profile from the eighth edition of Experiri (Term 4 2014) and was contributed by Stephen Harrison, Director of Mission at the Anglican Schools Commission.
Experiri is a quarterly newsletter presenting stories of innovation in school ministry from Australia and beyond. Each edition provides two or three profiles of innovative strategies that have been developed in response to challenges or emerging issues for chaplains or others in Anglican Schools, including Heads and Religious Educators. Until now Experiri was an emailed newsletter but in the coming months some of the previous profiles will be posted here.
What was the need or challenge being addressed?
It was identified that while Heads may have the most impact organisationally on the Christian and Anglican ethos of a school, it is teachers who have the greatest impact on students through their daily interactions with them. Clearly if a particular ethos was to be developed in a school the classroom is the primary unit needing attention. It was felt that something needed to be produced that would guide teachers on how they may express an Anglican ethos in the classroom in concrete and practical ways.
What was the response to the need?
A single page document called “Anglican ethos in the classroom” was developed that provided fourteen ways that teachers might develop Anglican Ethos. These statements were generated by considering the existing ethos statement in Queensland as well as national and international commentary on what makes an Anglican ethos. Current issues and problems confronted by those trying to build an Anglican ethos in schools were also taken into account and addressed. Wide consultation was sought in creating the document. In developing the document it was hoped that all teachers in Anglican School wether they are Christian or not might find the statements useful and be able to apply them in their practice. While most of the statements are easy to understand professional development on the document will be critical to its successful implementation.
What was the impact?
The document has only just be released but it has so far been well received by those who have seen it. A trial professional development session was run in one school and the feedback was that the document has been embraced. Some schools have already used it as the basis of their own professional development.
What were the greatest challenges?
The greatest challenge was to make the document truly reflective of an Anglican Ethos. It is recognised that any one of the statements will not be particularly Anglican and may be common to many Christian denominations. It is hoped however that as a set of statements they do represent the Anglican way of Christianity. It is also recognised that this document does not say everything that it could say, but that it is a first and important step in helping teachers think about and create a classroom with a Christian and Anglican feel.