Christopher Dock - Before and After
Christopher Dock Mennonite High School
1000 Forty Foot Road . Lansdale, PA 19446 . 215.362.2675
Educators in Mennonite schools use life experiences and sound educational principles, old and new, that are in harmony with Scriptures. These principles establish that humans are born with a need to make sense of the world and to communicate with others. All of life is a classroom; persons learn in and out of school and throughout their lives. The uniquely human abilities to acquire a language, to pose and solve problems, and to imagine and create, are God-given gifts. Before starting school, children have already accomplished enormously complex tasks such as motor, social, and language skills. Young children's accomplishments reveal that learning is natural, social, constructive, purposeful, experimental, creative, and playful.All learning and human performance are, in varying degrees, physical, mental, social and spiritual. Separation of mind from heart or from body, dividing "intellectual" from "non-intellectual," is false and misleading. All talents and knowledge required for living purposefully as God's people are to be valued equally.
The classroom is a community of learners whose varied gifts and needs are best nurtured through active participation and collaboration.Each teacher and student's prior knowledge, experience, and interests become resources available to the whole group.Overemphasis on competition and comparison of persons should be avoided. Participatory learning, peer tutoring, and cooperative group activities provide opportunities for students to learn from each other as well as from the teacher and to learn the value of differences. Students and teachers alike benefit from use of the storytelling and questioning methods of Jesus, the Master Teacher.In an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect, learners explore problems and questions, select from a wide range of resources, learn new concepts and skills, and are permitted to take risks, to try new ideas, and to make mistakes.Students are thus prepared for life and service in an information age which requires competence in using available resources in team problem-solving and decision-making with women and men of differing backgrounds, experiences, and skills.