Core Practice: Formational Learning Experiences (FLEx)
“It is nothing but a pious wish and a grossly unwarranted hope that students trained to be passive and non-creative in school will suddenly, upon graduation, actively contribute to the formation of Christian culture.” Nicholas Wolterstorff
Every Christian school classroom must provide authentic (real work, real need, real people) opportunities for students to practice living the Kingdom story. This practice becomes a habit, shaping who we are.
Wolterstorff suggests, strongly, that students must be given the opportunity to do God’s work NOW-to be active and creative in God’s story. Meaningful work creates a sense of purpose in their lives, and draws students more powerfully to God’s story. As the name suggests, Formational Learning Experiences are designed to form the students’ hearts and actions as well as their minds, equipping students to become people who live and breathe God’s story. Research and experience suggest that formational learning best emerges from experiences that get at our gut and touch our heart.
Formational Learning Experiences are designed to form the students’ hearts and actions as well as their minds, equipping students to become people who live and breathe God’s story.
Formational learning experience in fourth grade
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Formational learning experience in high school
Students in Spanish 2 engaged in a semester-long formational learning experience. Every Thursday, students traveled to a nearby elementary school that hosts a bilingual Spanish/English program. Every week, they built relationships with elementary students by acting as lunch and recess buddies. In addition to opportunities to practice speaking Spanish, they also tangibly engaged with their storyline, “The Gift of the Stranger,” by listening, serving, and playing with students who come from different backgrounds and who live in different contexts. This formational learning experience led to greater engagement and academic achievement within the Spanish class itself and students also articulated ways they began to view the world and God’s love for others differently because of the relationships they built.