ALI Blog

September Newsletter

I love it when Plan B proves to be the winner! Though I had hoped to be in Kenya for the August training of two new schools, two surgeries later my trip was cancelled. But the ALI team, headed by Karin Knutson, rose to the occasion and did an excellent job bringing to life Level 1 training to 19 teachers and a number of school leaders. Here are quotes from our trainers reflecting their thoughts on how the teachers responded:

Karin: When teachers are asked to develop a lesson using what they learned at the training, that’s when we see how much they really understand. Even when we ask, “Am I making sense?” during the training, we don’t always know how much has sunk in. But the delivery of lesson plans at the end of this training truly inspired us. The teachers were right on track! We look forward to mentoring them this month, and pray that God will multiple our efforts.

Cathy: What impressed me most was the teachers' response to becoming a biblical teacher, or teaching "Christianly". This is a challenging concept and not an easy one for them to apply—for veteran or new teachers. When presented with the idea of seeing "education in Christ" rather than the traditional idea of putting aside part of the day for opening prayer or a mention of scripture—Christ  in education—the discussion became lively. Teachers were gripped by the idea that they are image bearers of Christ AND that they teach image bearers—their  students. The ideas began to flow and when their teaching of lessons rolled around on Thursday, it was wonderful to see them excited about their content, their students, AND their Creator!

Mark: I loved the lesson presentations at the end of the week. The best moment was when a Brook Of Faith teacher used good writing visuals along with hands-on materials, plus great acting to carry out his lesson. He was teaching the difference between vertebrates and invertebrates, and actually brought in some insects to demonstrate invertebrates. He used good open questions to have students make their own list of creatures for each list. Then he poured out some of the insects on the table for the students to see. He proceeded to go through a funny routine hitting his own body to demonstrate the human skeletal structure, and then, abruptly, he smashed a cricket on the table, saying it was obvious the cricket did not have a bone structure. It was quite hilarious and also made the lesson objective clear. This was a new way of teaching for him and one that will surely capture the attention of his students.

Two more schools, 19 teacher, and 6 school administrators are now turned on to see quality teaching in their schools. Now they know the amazing impact they can have not only on their students’ learning, but more importantly, teaching the children to think critically, be actively involved in their own education, work cooperatively, and know that God has designed them for both a relationship with Him and a purpose in this world. I love God’s Plan B!

A New Vision for ALI
While I was waiting 3 days for my flight out of Uganda last June, I spent the time asking God for direction and vision for ALI. I was encountering some challenges that seemed quite difficult to overcome. God proceeded to lay out a whole new approach to our work that has occupied my thoughts ever since. At our Board of Director’s meeting in August, the ALI Board unanimously and enthusiastically gave their green light to proceed with the research and planning that will make ALI’s ministry far more effective in a shorter period of time. I ask for your PRAYERS as I begin to do all the foundational work to bring the new vision to a reality. A basic explanation of the new direction looks like this:

ALI’s current training process: one school at a time  
We currently focus our efforts on a school, taking it through several levels of training and mentoring until the staff can replicate the training with other schools in their area. While we see significant growth in the focus school, we are realizing that economic and staffing challenges make their becoming a model school a distant reality. Developing many Christian leaders and fully impacting the education across a country seems like a dim dream.

ALI’s new strategy: our own in-country model school and Teacher’s Training College
Our new vision is to establish an ALI operated primary and secondary school complex along with a Teacher’s Training College in each partnering country. This will give ALI full access to the children from grades K through 12, providing them with high quality education that teaches them to think critically and creatively, work together collaboratively, articulate thoughts and ideas effectively, and take God’s power to their communities. At the Teacher’s Training College, we will have the opportunity to work with young prospective teachers for three years to fine tune their teaching skills using a very
different teaching paradigm from the lecture/memorize process now exclusively used. Our primary and secondary schools will be a place for new teachers to apply their skills under the watchful eyes of competent mentor teachers. Upon graduation, we will send the teachers out as teams into Christian based schools across the country to begin to influence those schools in educating children who will one day lead their communities. The teacher’s college will also have an administrative training division for school leaders, and be used for intensive courses during holidays to train other school administrators and teachers.

Is this new vision huge? YES, but the visions God gives are always beyond our capability to do without Him, e.g. Joseph, Gideon, Moses and many others. God alone will receive the honor and glory when success occurs. Some might ask, “Why take this route since it is initially much more work and more costly?” I believe a better question is, “Why not?” To the ALI Board, the advantages are clear, and if indeed the vision is from God, He will provide the resources. We will work hard to do our part, and God will certainly do His part—a winning combination! While this plan is in development, ALI will continue to work with the schools to which we are already committed, fine tuning our curriculum and identifying instructors and administrators for our new school complex and college.

We covet your prayers and support as we step into this endeavor. God’s rod and staff will comfort us. He will lead us to still waters and green pastures. He will prepare a table when we encounter adversity. Will you walk with us on this exciting journey?

Dan & Myra
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