A Christian-Focused, Western Style Education
Understanding a Christian-Focused, Western-Style Education
While we offer an American-based curriculum and are jointly accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and the Association of Christian Schools International, we are a Christian international school. We desire to help you become familiar with several important features of the Christian-focused, western-style education offered at Morrison Academy and how it might differ from other schools.
Explores a Christian perspective in all areas and subjects using the Bible and other Christian resources
One component of Morrison Academy’s Vision for our Learners is that they become Christ Followers. The educational philosophy of Morrison Academy is based on God’s truth as revealed by the Holy Spirit in God’s Word, the Bible, and in creation. Christian teachers don’t avoid teaching about the world, but they challenge students to see the world through the lens of the Bible: created perfect by God, damaged by sin, and redeemed by Christ. The Bible is also used to learn skills for restoring every aspect of a fallen world— starting with our minds, our hearts, our relationships, our moral choices, and our worship, but extending to the needs of those around us and to the earth itself. Students, whether Christian or not, are taught to use the Bible as a powerful tool to work towards a better world. This instruction extends to co-curricular and outside-of-class activities.
Focuses on the student as a whole person
Another component of our Vision for our Learners is that they become a wise and responsible steward. Because Morrison Academy prepares students to have the option of attending college, academics are very important. However, we are committed to educating the whole person, spiritually, academically, socially, emotionally and physically. A western-style school tries to emphasize each of these aspects of a student’s education equally. A Christian school looks for every child’s individual talents and teaches students to honor and use the gifts God has given them. We challenge our students to strive for the highest potential within their gifts and abilities; we want them to develop strong character and leadership qualities, to learn to live in a global community, to serve others, and to accept responsibility for their choices and actions.
Emphasizes higher order thinking skills
Becoming a Critical & Creative Thinker is another piece of our Vision for our Learners. Western educational systems emphasize the integration, analysis and application of information and ideas. Although some memorization will always be required in a course of study, the ability to think critically is considered more important. The emphasis is on using facts to problem-solve and to apply information to real-life situations. In western education, the emphasis is not on how much you know, but on knowing where to find information, being able to discern its validity and usefulness, and applying knowledge to solve a problem. A Christian education also challenges students to seek consistency between their beliefs and actions.
Places a realistic emphasis on grades
In a school such as Morrison Academy, where most graduates go on to four-year, western colleges, grades are important. However, an over-emphasis on a numerical or letter score may sacrifice true learning and create an unhealthy situation by overly stressing a student. We consider the mastery of life skills such as collaboration, leadership and honesty to be more important than grades. Western education tries to de-emphasize grades and emphasize the joy of learning and doing one’s individual best. This emphasis is reflected in the inclusion of Life-long Learner in our Vision for our Learners. Christian education encourages students to seek ways to honor God by using their individual gifts and talents. Creativity and imagination don’t always translate to a high grade point average (GPA), but are attributes that have long-lasting rewards. Learning can be taught to be a rewarding activity and not solely a means to achieve good grades. Morrison Academy wants to foster a love of learning where students desire to learn throughout their lives.
Uses a variety of assessment tools
In a western school such as Morrison Academy, assessment is done in a number of different ways. Assessment is done frequently and is not dependent upon just one test to measure success or achievement. Western education uses not only paper-and-pencil tests, but also verbal, anecdotal, portfolio, project, and presentation forms of assessment. One test is rarely the only measure of success. Moving to the next grade level or to university from high school is based on the number of credits a student receives as opposed to a single test score. This also applies to many western college applications where grades and test scores are not the only factor for acceptance. Most North American colleges do not rely on a placement test. Letters of recommendation and involvement in co-curricular activities and student life are also very important for acceptance to quality colleges in North America.
Partners with parents in the educational process
In a western, Christian school like Morrison Academy, the school views parents as having the God-given responsibility of training their children; the school views itself as a partner to parents in this process. Teachers need the support of parents in order to be successful. Parents are encouraged to communicate with their children’s teachers, and they should not be afraid that this would be seen as interfering or would negatively impact their children’s grades. At Morrison Academy, teachers communicate regularly with parents through announcements, newsletters, and parent-teacher conferences; parents are encouraged to participate in school life through volunteering, attendance at fine arts and athletic events, and utilizing the Parent Action Committees (PAC) on each campus.
Emphasizes developing a personal worldview and living consistently using that worldview
Our core mission statement indicates that we are preparing students to impact the world for Christ. Students at Morrison Academy are challenged to learn about the world and then make discerning choices about what they believe, how they react, and how they live. Part of our Vision for our Learners is that all of our students, whether Christian or not, be able to articulate and defend what they believe using faith, evidence and sound reasoning. Students are encouraged to engage in service projects and outreach programs and to be good stewards of resources.
This article relies extensively on materials created by parents and staff at Dalat International School, Malaysia, and Taejon Christian School, Korea, as well as excerpts from a brochure published by Christian Schools International. All materials are used with permission.