Teaching for Empowerment in South India 2015

2015-03-12 04.44.25In March 2015, Hong Kong International School students and teachers led a four-day Teaching for Empowerment curriculum with students who attend Concordia Ambur and Concordia Pernambut in south India. The two student leaders of the trip, Caroline Scown and Brittany Fried, also produced a facilitator’s handbook to assist HKIS students lead the local students through the program. Their handbook, the printing of which was supported by the Jim Handrich service learning fund, also proved effective on trips to the Philippines and South Africa. Continue reading

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“Christianity’s Hidden Driveshaft:” Cynthia Bourgeault’s Law of Three as Trinitarian Template of Transformation


When I first started teaching I wondered: where is the power of education? Or, to frame the question in Christian terms that remain my most natural mode, where is the power of Christ to transform lives? Somehow it seemed to me that Christian education should always be about the business of transforming people and changing society. But where was that power? Continue reading

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The Middle Way between Faith-Based and Secular Education: Teaching Spiritual Practices in a World Religions Class

2013-09-02 07.12.46Introduction

For years I have wrestled with how to teach religion at HKIS as a Christian school to a relatively secularized student body in a multicultural and multi-religious environment. The main issue was that while teaching from a primarily academic perspective made religion accessible and palatable to my students,  it did not speak to their deeply personal and spiritual needs. In recent years HKIS has developed some helpful statements that seem to thread this needle, and in a way that seems to work for my students. This blog entry shares these perspectives, and then shows how I apply this middle way approach to the teaching of my grade 9 World Religion class through the use of spiritual practices. Continue reading

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HKIS Hosts the 8th Annual Service Summit

DSC_3643On Saturday, January 10, HKIS hosted the 8th annual Service Summit. Our 90 9th graders heard presentations from our “Free the Children” speakers Mark and Joanna who  kicked-off the event with an inspiring keynote. Then they selected five break-out sessions to attend out of 27 presentations, most conducted by older HKIS students who had done their own successful projects. We are also proud to say that half a dozen alumni were among the presenters, showcasing their own causes that they remain involved in. Continue reading

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A Turn Towards the Vertical: Best Books and Resources of 2014

2015-01-11 03.27.38 Introduction

As I turned 50 last month, perhaps it’s not surprising that the best books/resources for me during this past year involved the spiritual life. As I’ve been writing for some time on this blog, this aspect seems to be the necessary complement to my emphasis on social conscience education. Continue reading

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Beyond Holistic Education: A Pedagogy of Spiritual Activation

DSC_3623This semester’s “Service, Society, and the Sacred” class studied a wide range of topics: depression, suicide, technology, the future, Asian and Western ways of thinking, Spiral Dynamics, the Enneagram, meditation, and spiritual practices. Despite this organic and at times non-sequitur approach to the curriculum, the three constants were self-awareness, creating a class community, and contributing beyond the classroom to others. The enthusiastic response by students to the class has made me wonder what made it work. It certainly wasn’t the linear delivery of a curriculum. Upon reflection, perhaps there was more to what happened than meets the pedagogical eye, as I share in this entry. Continue reading

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“Left to Their Own Devices” by Kate Whitehead about The App Generation (South China Morning Post, December 2, 2014)

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 9.35.47 PMindexThis summer I picked up Howard Gardner and Katie Davis’ book The App Generation: How Today’s Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital World (2013). As I read, I thought that this would be a thought-provoking way to start my “Service, Society, and the Sacred” class by studying how technology is impacting youth culture. The students responded to the three research-based chapters – on identity, intimacy, and imagination – with thoughtful analyses. We also did a debate about technology and the future. I wrote up a  summary of their reactions and sent their comments to the two authors. Howard wrote back immediately; he was quite pleased to have students, for the first time, provide their perspectives on the research findings rather than adults only. Continue reading

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