Educating Through Partnership

Recognising the mutually beneficial role parents and teachers play in the education of a child

I recently completed writing a philosophy and practice of Christian education for GPCC. It is not often that schools make explicit their philosophy of education, but I have always believed it is important to be explicit and transparent for the sake of those who work in a school and for the sake of those who send their children to that school.

There are many different approaches to education and much greater minds than mine have written extensive and deeply complex educational philosophies. Being a simple fellow really, I have tried to express ours in terms ordinary people can understand. I hope you find it so.

You can find a copy here: GPCC Philosphy and Practice of Christian Education

Now, do not expect this to be quick or light read. It deals with significant issues ranging from our core purpose, to the metaphysical, epistemological and axiological grounds for our philosophy, to the purpose of education, the roles of the participants etc.  You will also find set out the classroom practices we are seeking to utilise at the College, as well as the profile of the GPCC teacher.

Let me give you a sample by inserting below the section on the "role of the parent":

The Christian Scriptures teach us that God places children in families as a means to nurture and grow them.

Parents are in fact given priority in Scripture as those who have responsibility for teaching their children and helping them to grow to maturity in accordance with God’s design.

Schools are a late development in human history.  They came about largely due to the growing specialisation in societies that placed the scope of learning required by children beyond the ability of most parents.  A Christian school in particular seeks to work as a partner with the parents (and preferably, also the Church) in the education of a child.  It remains the prime responsibility of a parent to choose a school wisely and then to work with the school in the education of their child.

Parents should not abdicate their responsibility but fulfil it as best they can, using the resources of the school to support them. Any partnership like this is bound to involve some differences of opinion at times as to what is best for the child. Mutual respect for each other’s roles and a commitment to working together to find a positive solution, a good dose of humility and a willingness to try new things can all lead to a successful partnership.

The school, through its teachers and staff, commits to its role to provide a service in the development of the learner and seeks to work co-operatively with parents to see this goal accomplished.

I think that through the COVID-19 home learning experience, we have come to recognise the mutually beneficial role parents and teachers play in the education of a child.  At GPCC we hope to capture something of this and ensure we maintain it going forward so that our partnership is strengthened, and the children are better served.

I hope you take the time to glance through the philosophy document, and feel free to reach out to have a chat about anything of interest in it to you.

Phillip Nash serves as the Principal at Green Point Christian College. Phillip has a Masters in Educational Leadership, a Bachelor of Arts in History and English, a Diploma of Teaching, and has just begun a PhD program. He has been teaching for over 30 years and has served in senior school leadership in New Zealand, Australia and Indonesia.