The Associate Academic Dean of the College & Graduate School at Trinity International University was recently invited to spend five days facilitating professional development on the integration of faith & learning with about 150 faculty members at the International Christian School of Hong Kong.
Dr. Karen Wrobbel’s visit to Hong Kong represents the fruition of an invitation five years in the making. Two faculty members from the International Christian School heard Dr. Wrobbel present on the integration of faith & learning at the International Children’s Educators Conference, sponsored by the Association of Christian Schools International (of which Trinity International University is a member), and invited her to come facilitate more in-depth training with the rest of the faculty.
In addition to three days of focused workshops in which faculty members received feedback on individual lessons, Dr. Wrobbel also led a weekend workshop that was attended by faculty from other East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools member schools. This included attendees from countries such as Kuala Lumpur and Korea.
“At a Christian university, or a Christian K-12 school, we look at everything through the lens of our faith,” Dr. Wrobbel said in a recent interview. “We don’t want to trivialize it…this group was working well at it, and they wanted to avoid having integration as [merely] a tack-on.”
Dr. Wrobbel noted that one challenge for international schools comprised largely of international faculty members is that there is frequently a high turnover rate, since teachers often sign on for two-year commitments and then leave. This is not the case, however, at International Christian School, and she believes this helps them integrate faith and learning throughout their curriculum much more effectively. “[Faculty members] have a unit planning structure in which they ask essential questions and have schoolwide major learning outcomes. They have a broad picture, and they’ve made very intentional efforts to link these outcomes with concrete actions, even down to particular units within subjects.”
International work is a large part of Dr. Wrobbel’s ongoing scholarship; she currently plans to speak at an educators’ conference in Guatemala in November.
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