ICEC Africa, 2017
In April, Christian educators from Africa and beyond gathered at the International Christian Educator’s Conference (ICEC) at Brackenhurst Conference Center in Nairobi, Kenya. This conference, hosted by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), took place over the span of four days. It was a gathering that united a diverse group of over 300 international participants, each with a story of what God is doing through their lives and the schools they serve in.
KICS was represented by 11 teachers, one of whom was Douglas Bryan, our grade 3 teacher. “The ACSI conference was an incredible time to connect with colleagues, old friends, sharpen my professional craft, and also hear about the progress Christian schools are making in Rwanda. Overall, it was a restful and encouraging week,” reflected Douglas.
The Bible verse in alignment to this year’s theme, ‘Teaching with Wisdom’, was Colossians 1:28, saying, “He is the one we proclaim, admonishing, and teaching everyone fully with all the wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.” With this theme at the forefront, the workshops provided participants with tools to both effectively teach students and collaborate with colleagues.
“My favorite sessions were two sessions by one of the presenters from Cairn University, a history professor who used art and music to teach about history. His presentations encouraged me to try a new type of assessment that involves having students reflect upon difficult questions in science and to give evidence that supports or opposes the ideas — really to tie the philosophy to the science and to help the students to learn to find deeper meaning that connects across disciplines and teaches them to worship God with their minds,” said Holly Hixson, the KICS chemistry teacher.
Ethel Gimena, KICS kindergarten teacher, tells us how the experience refueled her. “After the conference, my passion was revived. I was made whole and was excited to get back to Rwanda to invest what I learned and to be used again by the ‘Great Shepherd’ in the next generation.” She added, “One of the topics I liked best was ‘Equipping Teachers’ and students for authentic Christ-centered integration.’ It emphasized that Christian schools should focus in teaching and pursuing Godly character in developing in the lives of the students and everything else will fall into place.”
‘Job Alike’ sessions were built into the program, allowing everyone to meet with other participants in their same field to learn from one another’s experiences, discuss areas of strength, challenges, and solutions. Mavis Kotey, Middle School French teacher remarked, “the conference was very insightful and relevant to our practice as educators with a call to disciple the students we teach. The ‘Job Alike’ session was a great way to connect with teachers who do what you do but in different ways and places.”
“My favorite part about the conference, other than worshipping together, is the job-alike breakout session. It’s a chance for me to connect with other librarians, sharing ideas and solutions with one another,” shared Katharina Stevens, librarian.
Pre-conference workshops and workshop sessions covered a diverse range of knowledgeable topics which enabled educators to find their right placing. “The ACSI conference was informative and valuable. It was great to meet teachers from other Christian schools around the world. The ELL track that ran for 10 hours was especially helpful with lots of insights and ideas we can use for our students,” noted Janet Mulford, ELL Specialist.
I too attended ICEC, and over the four day conference I was continually inspired and challenged. I particularly enjoyed participating in a workshop by Dr. Tim Heaton, who talked about how we teachers can develop our teaching to accommodate the 21st Century Learner. While his sessions were very creative and hands on, they included practical information on how to motivate children in the learning process. As a Primary Art teacher, I found this very useful. Although ICEC provided a rich platform of focused professional development, it was a great to see everything point back to God; how we can love and glorify Him with all our minds as we teach with Godly wisdom to equip children to imitate Christ.
Article by Efua Hagan