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Author Topic: Theologians as (Sunday) school teachers?  (Read 982 times) Average Rating: 0
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Putnik Namernik
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« on: February 19, 2013, 12:46:49 PM »

Cheers.

This is my first topic on this forum and overall a second message.
I am not sure how much do you know about the Serbian Orthodox Church in the Balkans, but there is something interesting that perhaps could be applied on the North American continent.  As of 2000 (I believe), Orthodox Christianity was included in the school program and became a "normal" class at the public schools.  Theologians act as teachers who teach kids about Orthodox Christianity...It is an optional course and those who do not wish to have their kids participate in this class can take a civics course (or something like that) as an alternative.

What "we" can do is somewhat copy that system. I know that some bigger parishes (like Serbian parish in Chicago  - http://www.stsavaacademy.org and Greek parish in Toronto - http://www.mgos.ca/) have done something like that. My question is can't all Orthodox parishes together create something like this together (Serbian, OCA, ROCOR, GOA, Antiochian, Romanian, etc) have joined elementary schools with Orthodox teachings with the possibility for kids to learn the language(s) of their ancestors?  Perhaps that could be an alternative to existing Sunday schools...it would also create jobs for seminarians and teachers of different professions as well as contribute to a better and closer relationship amongst Orthodox children who would then pratically grow up together....there are other points that can be raised good and bad...

Second point I would like to raise is having a seminarian act as a priest's helper.  He would help with anything from being on the church board, to help with organizing church manifestations held at parish hall (during Nativity, Easter, Slava-patron saints, etc, church school, theology classes for catechumens and parishioners in general)...

I know that these two topics are somewhat different but they are also very much tied in the sense that they both deal with educating parishioners about Orthodox Christianity...
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 12:47:35 PM by Putnik Namernik » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2013, 01:11:17 PM »

Do not start religion classes at schools unless you want to alienate the youth from the Church.
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« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2013, 01:32:58 PM »

Do not start religion classes at schools unless you want to alienate the youth from the Church.

How so?
I have just mentioned a successful example of religion classes at Serbia, Republic of Srpska...I think they have that in Greece as well.
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« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2013, 01:42:01 PM »

Do not start religion classes at schools unless you want to alienate the youth from the Church.

If I read the OP correctly, these classes are not mandatory. I don't see how offering elective courses in schools is going to alienate anyone.
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« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2013, 01:47:13 PM »

Do not start religion classes at schools unless you want to alienate the youth from the Church.

If I read the OP correctly, these classes are not mandatory. I don't see how offering elective courses in schools is going to alienate anyone.

Exactly...they are optional courses. Some kids choose religious course (in this case Orthodox Christianity) while others choose civics course (or something like that)...perhaps there is no need to create "Orthodox public schools" but to instead add "Orthodox course" to the existing public schools...other suggestions are welcome. Wink
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« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2013, 01:54:41 PM »

Putnik Namernik, are you unemployed theology graduate?

I've been taught religion at school for 15 years or something like that. Mostly by bad, unprepared teachers who weren't be able to find some decent job - that is first drawback.

The second drawback is that students start to treat religion like other classes. They have marks, tests, homework, and all that stuff. Christianity becomes something as boring, bothersome, and unnecessary as organic chemistry.

I'm yet to find a student who would be satisfied with his religious classes. Only Church officials and teachers consider it a success since it gives them not small money.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 01:56:50 PM by Michał Kalina » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2013, 03:21:47 PM »

Putnik Namernik, are you unemployed theology graduate?

I've been taught religion at school for 15 years or something like that. Mostly by bad, unprepared teachers who weren't be able to find some decent job - that is first drawback.

The second drawback is that students start to treat religion like other classes. They have marks, tests, homework, and all that stuff. Christianity becomes something as boring, bothersome, and unnecessary as organic chemistry.

I'm yet to find a student who would be satisfied with his religious classes. Only Church officials and teachers consider it a success since it gives them not small money.

Dear Michał, I am not unemployed theologian.
1- teacher who would be hired, would offcourse be tested through interview and through practical knowledge like an exam...therefore would eliminate or perhaps to the very list minimize the possibility of having inadequate theologian teachers.
2- Orthodox class would not be treated as any other class; there would additional components, such as attending liturgy, helping the needy, etc. If necessary, I will further explain. The sole purpose is not to get a mark, but to learn and it doesn't have to be a specific mark but could have three level grading -fail, pass, pass with honours...alternatives do exist. Course does not have to be boring...
3- There is more to Orthodoxy than money...salvation of one's soul perhaps?  Teaching at early age would only provide children a better understanding of faith...as I am sure you are aware, there are levels of how much is person can learn..
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« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2013, 03:23:46 PM »

I learnt hardly nothing during that "education".

It may seem a good idea in  theory but it does not work in practice.

Did you take such classes?
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 03:25:27 PM by Michał Kalina » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2013, 03:25:40 PM »

I learnt hardly nothing during that education.

You see, I have a quite contrary experience from yours.  I guess it would have to be the teacher/priest's fault, because he failed to engage you in a proper/more appealing manner.

You claim that it does not work in practice, even though I have just explained (in the first post) that it works....for thousands of students.
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« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2013, 03:27:12 PM »

I liked religion class. I talked hypostatic union and Patristics in class with my teacher who was an RC priest. The rest of the class never knew what we were talking about. It was all Greek to them  Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2013, 03:31:13 PM »

I liked religion class. I talked hypostatic union and Patristics in class with my teacher who was an RC priest. The rest of the class never knew what we were talking about. It was all Greek to them  Smiley

I realized the best way to get an Evangelical to shut up about the Bible is to bring up the Greek words from the original text.
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« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2013, 03:33:52 PM »

I liked religion class. I talked hypostatic union and Patristics in class with my teacher who was an RC priest. The rest of the class never knew what we were talking about. It was all Greek to them  Smiley

I realized the best way to get an Evangelical to shut up about the Bible is to bring up the Greek words from the original text.

Unless they're one of the "KJV Only" nutters. God help you there.
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« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2013, 03:34:14 PM »

I realized the best way to get an Evangelical to shut up about the Bible is to bring up the Greek words from the original text.

Trying to exorcise them works better, IMO  Grin
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 03:34:33 PM by Cyrillic » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2013, 03:40:11 PM »

I had RE classes at school twice a week for 10 years. Didn't harm me any. Wink

In fact, it was my Year 6 RE books (one on liturgics and catechism, one on gospel readings) that pushed me firmly into the 'churchy people' group, where I happily remain today, as well as started my lifelong interest in liturgics.

A couple of years later, my teacher was the author of the particular book. Not a very gifted teacher, but certainly a solid theologian.

I've also had a priest teaching RE (common in Greece, although not as much as it used to be; my mother's generation even had the village priest as their one-room schoolmaster). That was not among the best teachers either, but hardly alienating either.
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« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2013, 03:47:36 PM »

I believe the theologian Panayotis Nellas, who I much enjoy, was a high school teacher, though I'm not sure what subjects he taught. In any event, it'd be interesting transplanting the concept and seeing how it worked...
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« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2013, 03:52:12 PM »

I believe the theologian Panayotis Nellas, who I much enjoy, was a high school teacher, though I'm not sure what subjects he taught. In any event, it'd be interesting transplanting the concept and seeing how it worked...

Probably RE, unless he had another degree as well.

The head priest in one of the churches near my family home in Athens (we have 4 within easy walking distance) has three degrees, that would qualify him as a RE teacher, a Greek language and literature teacher (both in secondary school) or a primary school teacher.
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« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2013, 04:14:46 PM »

I believe the theologian Panayotis Nellas, who I much enjoy, was a high school teacher, though I'm not sure what subjects he taught. In any event, it'd be interesting transplanting the concept and seeing how it worked...

Probably RE, unless he had another degree as well.

The head priest in one of the churches near my family home in Athens (we have 4 within easy walking distance) has three degrees, that would qualify him as a RE teacher, a Greek language and literature teacher (both in secondary school) or a primary school teacher.

So, how is it done in Greece? I would like to hear the experience from other countries where majority of population is Orthodox and to compare it with the above mentioned examples of Chicago and Toronto.  When I say a theologian, I do not necessarily exclude priests and monks...but instead mean theologians as someone who has graduated from an Orthodox Christian seminary.
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« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2013, 05:02:35 PM »

I learnt hardly nothing during that "education".

It may seem a good idea in  theory but it does not work in practice.

Did you take such classes?

I beg to differ!

I teach religious classes in our Saturday school (Ukrainian school which also teaches reading, writing, culture, etc.).

Many students have opted out of attending the Saturday school, for various reasons - scheduling conflict, didn't get along with other kids/parents, weren't learning enough, etc.

However, these same kids have approached me and ASKED that I repeat the religion class from Saturday, Sunday after Liturgy....precisely because they WERE learning something and want to continue to learn.

Michal, you seem to have had a bad experience, but, not all religious education of children has to be bad.

In fact, when I teach the kids about an approaching Feast day, and the symbolism, meaning and traditions associated with it, I find that more of the kids actually participate in the services, ASKING to hold candles, or coming with bottles to fill with holy water, etc.

The teacher has to be able to reach each age group separately and effectively.

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« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2013, 05:06:40 PM »

I learnt hardly nothing during that "education".

It may seem a good idea in  theory but it does not work in practice.

Did you take such classes?

I beg to differ!

I teach religious classes in our Saturday school (Ukrainian school which also teaches reading, writing, culture, etc.).

Many students have opted out of attending the Saturday school, for various reasons - scheduling conflict, didn't get along with other kids/parents, weren't learning enough, etc.

However, these same kids have approached me and ASKED that I repeat the religion class from Saturday, Sunday after Liturgy....precisely because they WERE learning something and want to continue to learn.

Michal, you seem to have had a bad experience, but, not all religious education of children has to be bad.

In fact, when I teach the kids about an approaching Feast day, and the symbolism, meaning and traditions associated with it, I find that more of the kids actually participate in the services, ASKING to hold candles, or coming with bottles to fill with holy water, etc.

The teacher has to be able to reach each age group separately and effectively.



I'm talking about religious classes at school. Sunday school is a a completely different story. I consider Sunday schools much better solution.
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« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2013, 05:16:00 PM »

I liked religion class. I talked hypostatic union and Patristics in class with my teacher who was an RC priest. The rest of the class never knew what we were talking about. It was all Greek to them  Smiley

ha ha!
did yr colleagues guess now that you are Christian?

i was taught religious education by an atheist in mid 1980s.
we used to argue about the existence of God etc.
it was hard going as he hated Christians (i was protestant Christian from a young age) and no-one else argued with him.
he had long hair and thought he was a hippy. he looked really weird as all the young folk back then had short hair (esp. women!) and tight clothes, and 'hippy' was old fashioned.
i wonder where he is now? may God have mercy on him.
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« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2013, 06:01:06 PM »

I believe the theologian Panayotis Nellas, who I much enjoy, was a high school teacher, though I'm not sure what subjects he taught. In any event, it'd be interesting transplanting the concept and seeing how it worked...

Probably RE, unless he had another degree as well.

The head priest in one of the churches near my family home in Athens (we have 4 within easy walking distance) has three degrees, that would qualify him as a RE teacher, a Greek language and literature teacher (both in secondary school) or a primary school teacher.

So, how is it done in Greece? I would like to hear the experience from other countries where majority of population is Orthodox and to compare it with the above mentioned examples of Chicago and Toronto.  When I say a theologian, I do not necessarily exclude priests and monks...but instead mean theologians as someone who has graduated from an Orthodox Christian seminary.

I can tell you how it was done when I was in school, up to 1990. The educational system has been under continuous reform for decades, plus the influx of immigrants has shifted school demographics quite dramatically, so probably very little of my experience is relevant any more.

Greek teachers are appointed by the state, picked from among holders of a relevant degree; in the case of RE, that would be theology. There are no seminaries as such: there are theology departments in the universities of Athens and Thessaloniki. Most graduates are laypeople, and a good percentage are women. It's not a particularly popular career path (at least it wasn't back then; now the possibility of employment might drive more people without a vocation to it), so priests filled in when necessary.

I don't remember very much about my own classes, apart from that wonderful Year 6 material, but I do remember there was a different focus every year. OT, NT, church history, ethics in the final year. It was entirely Orthodox in focus, and those of other religions could be excluded from taking the class (though I don't remember anyone in my classes ever did, not even the one JW I knew), but it was treated as another academic discipline, like history or philosophy. Nothing pastoral or comparative about it at all. It's this last bit that I imagine has changed a lot since then...
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« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2013, 07:56:37 PM »

I learnt hardly nothing during that "education".

It may seem a good idea in  theory but it does not work in practice.

Did you take such classes?

I beg to differ!

I teach religious classes in our Saturday school (Ukrainian school which also teaches reading, writing, culture, etc.).

Many students have opted out of attending the Saturday school, for various reasons - scheduling conflict, didn't get along with other kids/parents, weren't learning enough, etc.

However, these same kids have approached me and ASKED that I repeat the religion class from Saturday, Sunday after Liturgy....precisely because they WERE learning something and want to continue to learn.

Michal, you seem to have had a bad experience, but, not all religious education of children has to be bad.

In fact, when I teach the kids about an approaching Feast day, and the symbolism, meaning and traditions associated with it, I find that more of the kids actually participate in the services, ASKING to hold candles, or coming with bottles to fill with holy water, etc.

The teacher has to be able to reach each age group separately and effectively.



I'm talking about religious classes at school. Sunday school is a a completely different story. I consider Sunday schools much better solution.

If you don't mind sharing with us (without having to use personal info) what else do you find to be a con for having RE as a class at schools? I am honestly interested in seeing what would be the biggest turn off for the kids? Thanks.

Also, how/why do you perceive Sunday school to be so different from RE without taking marks into consideration?
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 08:10:07 PM by Putnik Namernik » Logged
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« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2013, 08:07:46 PM »

I believe the theologian Panayotis Nellas, who I much enjoy, was a high school teacher, though I'm not sure what subjects he taught. In any event, it'd be interesting transplanting the concept and seeing how it worked...

Probably RE, unless he had another degree as well.

The head priest in one of the churches near my family home in Athens (we have 4 within easy walking distance) has three degrees, that would qualify him as a RE teacher, a Greek language and literature teacher (both in secondary school) or a primary school teacher.

So, how is it done in Greece? I would like to hear the experience from other countries where majority of population is Orthodox and to compare it with the above mentioned examples of Chicago and Toronto.  When I say a theologian, I do not necessarily exclude priests and monks...but instead mean theologians as someone who has graduated from an Orthodox Christian seminary.

I can tell you how it was done when I was in school, up to 1990. The educational system has been under continuous reform for decades, plus the influx of immigrants has shifted school demographics quite dramatically, so probably very little of my experience is relevant any more.

Greek teachers are appointed by the state, picked from among holders of a relevant degree; in the case of RE, that would be theology. There are no seminaries as such: there are theology departments in the universities of Athens and Thessaloniki. Most graduates are laypeople, and a good percentage are women. It's not a particularly popular career path (at least it wasn't back then; now the possibility of employment might drive more people without a vocation to it), so priests filled in when necessary.

I don't remember very much about my own classes, apart from that wonderful Year 6 material, but I do remember there was a different focus every year. OT, NT, church history, ethics in the final year. It was entirely Orthodox in focus, and those of other religions could be excluded from taking the class (though I don't remember anyone in my classes ever did, not even the one JW I knew), but it was treated as another academic discipline, like history or philosophy. Nothing pastoral or comparative about it at all. It's this last bit that I imagine has changed a lot since then...

OK, So in your case, anyone with a degree could qualify for the position of a RE teacher. I assume they did some test screening offcourse as they do for other teaching positions at school.  From the look of it, I believe that there are two possibilities in traditionally non-Orthodox countries:
1- request Orthodox RE class at the elementary/secondary school where children of Orthodox background make a significant percentage.
2- create a private school as the ones in Chicago in Toronto and have them become accredited by the state.

Questions for all - Do you think there is enough will/interest and power to implement such requests in other cities as well? What alternatives are there?  Is Sunday school enough as it is?

I was fortunate to have attended some classes at elementary school in Greece (no, I am not Greek  Grin ) and remember a whole school having a prayer (I believe it was "Our Father") prior to beginning of classes. A teacher always chose a student who would in front of 100s other students narrate it out loud. Other kids who knew the words would join. It was a beautiful sight.  I don't see such a thing happening in N.A. unless we are talking about a private/parish/orthodox/ school.
It was a great experience because we did not have that in Serbia.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 08:08:37 PM by Putnik Namernik » Logged
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« Reply #23 on: February 20, 2013, 12:44:35 AM »

I liked religion class. I talked hypostatic union and Patristics in class with my teacher who was an RC priest. The rest of the class never knew what we were talking about. It was all Greek to them  Smiley

ha ha!
did yr colleagues guess now that you are Christian?

i was taught religious education by an atheist in mid 1980s.
we used to argue about the existence of God etc.
it was hard going as he hated Christians (i was protestant Christian from a young age) and no-one else argued with him.
he had long hair and thought he was a hippy. he looked really weird as all the young folk back then had short hair (esp. women!) and tight clothes, and 'hippy' was old fashioned.
i wonder where he is now? may God have mercy on him.

Your prayer may have already been granted.  Sounds just like someone who is very regular in attendance at our parish.  One parishioner who studied at that university during those years remembers being warned away from his classes due to his dislike of Christians. 
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« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2013, 01:28:47 PM »

If you don't mind sharing with us (without having to use personal info) what else do you find to be a con for having RE as a class at schools? I am honestly interested in seeing what would be the biggest turn off for the kids? Thanks.

The biggest issue is changing "relationship with Christ" into something like Algebra or Science.

Quote
Also, how/why do you perceive Sunday school to be so different from RE without taking marks into consideration?

They do not have that major drawback. They are also attended by people who want to, not by the wants because they do not want to stand out from the crowd and be mocked.
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« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2013, 02:21:26 PM »

I liked religion class. I talked hypostatic union and Patristics in class with my teacher who was an RC priest. The rest of the class never knew what we were talking about. It was all Greek to them  Smiley

I realized the best way to get an Evangelical to shut up about the Bible is to bring up the Greek words from the original text.
Yeah it does serve a somewhat good apologetic to them.

Get them going on the difference between Hades and Gehenna.
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« Reply #26 on: February 20, 2013, 02:46:51 PM »

velsigne, what country are u in?
(u can answer by private message if you want)
i am in uk, and was there at school too.
(i don't plan to die / retire there but that is another matter!)
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« Reply #27 on: February 20, 2013, 03:03:07 PM »

If you don't mind sharing with us (without having to use personal info) what else do you find to be a con for having RE as a class at schools? I am honestly interested in seeing what would be the biggest turn off for the kids? Thanks.

The biggest issue is changing "relationship with Christ" into something like Algebra or Science.

Quote
Also, how/why do you perceive Sunday school to be so different from RE without taking marks into consideration?

They do not have that major drawback. They are also attended by people who want to, not by the wants because they do not want to stand out from the crowd and be mocked.

1 - Such a perception is flawed. Such course would provide children with basic foundation of Orthodoxy such as the purpose of Liturgy, so they would not be simply standing in the church bored but instead would be more intrigued in finding more things about their faith. I know this for a fact. Once a week (during the Sunday school) is not often enough...at the same time I don't think that there is a need to burden children with too much, but step by step children will have a better appreciation of what they are doing and not just following what their parents tell them to do.  You don't want children to be bored but instead to engage in worship. Orthodox classes are not just classes but are in coherence with a more practical approach of the theoretical side of faith. Children would not just pray but but understand why and how.  
2- if it is an elective course, then that will not be an issue. Just take a peak in this manner - if instead of Orthodoxy being just a Sunday school where kids have to attend because parents tell them to do...Orthodox classes can become something that is more universally acceptable as someone studying another language, or as you mention Algebra or Science.  At the same time this does not take out the essence of Orthodoxy, but it only provides additional educational information for the children...not to mention the missionary significance of this to non-Orthodox. I am sorry, but I am still failing to see the "problem".
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« Reply #28 on: February 20, 2013, 03:07:27 PM »

1 - Such a perception is flawed.

Such perception is shared by all the students I personally know.

Quote
Such course would provide children with basic foundation of Orthodoxy such as the purpose of Liturgy, so they would not be simply standing in the church bored but instead would be more intrigued in finding more things about their faith. I know this for a fact. Once a week (during the Sunday school) is not often enough...at the same time I don't think that there is a need to burden children with too much, but step by step children will have a better appreciation of what they are doing and not just following what their parents tell them to do.  You don't want children to be bored but instead to engage in worship. Orthodox classes are not just classes but are in coherence with a more practical approach of the theoretical side of faith. Children would not just pray but but understand why and how. 

I know nothing about American education system but I really doubt any school will allow and pay for a class that won't meet any of the formal requirements like other classes have.
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« Reply #29 on: February 21, 2013, 12:35:52 AM »

velsigne, what country are u in?
(u can answer by private message if you want)
i am in uk, and was there at school too.
(i don't plan to die / retire there but that is another matter!)

I sent you pm so as not to distract the thread too much.
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« Reply #30 on: February 21, 2013, 12:42:57 AM »

1 - Such a perception is flawed.

Such perception is shared by all the students I personally know.

Quote
Such course would provide children with basic foundation of Orthodoxy such as the purpose of Liturgy, so they would not be simply standing in the church bored but instead would be more intrigued in finding more things about their faith. I know this for a fact. Once a week (during the Sunday school) is not often enough...at the same time I don't think that there is a need to burden children with too much, but step by step children will have a better appreciation of what they are doing and not just following what their parents tell them to do.  You don't want children to be bored but instead to engage in worship. Orthodox classes are not just classes but are in coherence with a more practical approach of the theoretical side of faith. Children would not just pray but but understand why and how. 

I know nothing about American education system but I really doubt any school will allow and pay for a class that won't meet any of the formal requirements like other classes have.

1 - I am very sorry to hear that. Is their explanation of why they don't like RE same as your -  comparison to science and algebra? Thanks for your input. Is there any form of RE that would be acceptable for you?
2 - I think you are right about the classes being accepted. Perhaps something can be done about it.
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« Reply #31 on: February 21, 2013, 10:40:47 AM »

1 - Such a perception is flawed.

Such perception is shared by all the students I personally know.

Quote
Such course would provide children with basic foundation of Orthodoxy such as the purpose of Liturgy, so they would not be simply standing in the church bored but instead would be more intrigued in finding more things about their faith. I know this for a fact. Once a week (during the Sunday school) is not often enough...at the same time I don't think that there is a need to burden children with too much, but step by step children will have a better appreciation of what they are doing and not just following what their parents tell them to do.  You don't want children to be bored but instead to engage in worship. Orthodox classes are not just classes but are in coherence with a more practical approach of the theoretical side of faith. Children would not just pray but but understand why and how. 

I know nothing about American education system but I really doubt any school will allow and pay for a class that won't meet any of the formal requirements like other classes have.

1 - I am very sorry to hear that. Is their explanation of why they don't like RE same as your -  comparison to science and algebra? Thanks for your input. Is there any form of RE that would be acceptable for you?
2 - I think you are right about the classes being accepted. Perhaps something can be done about it.

American public schools, from what I have seen locally, are letting teachers of subjects like art and music go due to budget problems.  If there is money it seems to go to sports.  In fact, the entire high school schedule is set to allow for football practice, which is why high school classes begin early in the morning when teenagers are least able to learn anything. 

There has long been a debate as to whether the Pledge of Allegiance should be recited in the classroom.  In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower added the words 'under God' to the Pledge.  It goes as follows, if you're not familiar with it:  I pledge my allegiance to the flag, of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.  Children were to stand each morning, with hand over heart, facing the flag, and recite the Pledge.  This is not acceptable to many people, most notably in the Supreme Court cases, to Jehovah Witnesses and atheists.  There are arguments over any type of Christianity being taught in schools, due to the Establishment (of religion) clause in the Constitution.  Any type of reference to God in a state environment is being fought.  Some have even tried to get the words "In God We Trust" removed from US currency.  World religions may be taught as general education, but serious religious education cannot be taught in a state funded school, and even if it were being taught, it would likely not be Orthodoxy, but some type of Evangelical Protestantism.  There is more tolerance for teaching Islam than for Christianity in many areas.  Some of this is spill over from the political climate of the country.  There are also debates about teaching evolution, and something called 'creation theory' or something. 

Private schools can teach religion, but the parents have to pay for the education.  The Ku Klux Klan and the Freemasons tried to shut down private schools years ago, actually infiltrated state government to pass a law against them, because back in those days private school meant Catholic school, and they didn't like Catholics.  When there weren't and black people or Asian people to pick on, they would pick on Catholics. There was no real Orthodox presence in any numbers across the nation.  The Catholics fought back through the courts and otherwise at more personal, local levels, winning a great freedom for people against religious persecution in this country.

I know of only one pan-Orthodox grade school for children in the US, situated in a parish, that teaches Greek, etc.  It is very small.
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« Reply #32 on: February 21, 2013, 11:11:24 AM »


American public schools, from what I have seen locally, are letting teachers of subjects like art and music go due to budget problems.  If there is money it seems to go to sports.  In fact, the entire high school schedule is set to allow for football practice, which is why high school classes begin early in the morning when teenagers are least able to learn anything. 

That's not quite true. Most extra-curricular activities in US High Schools are not in the budget at all. Things like Orchestra, Band, and Sports are usually almost completely funded by groups of parents and well-wishers known as Boosters. Also, the schedule is not set up specifically for football practice, I believe it was set up to give high school students the time to work part time or participate in any number of extra-curriculars of which football is just one.
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« Reply #33 on: February 21, 2013, 11:37:18 AM »


American public schools, from what I have seen locally, are letting teachers of subjects like art and music go due to budget problems.  If there is money it seems to go to sports.  In fact, the entire high school schedule is set to allow for football practice, which is why high school classes begin early in the morning when teenagers are least able to learn anything. 

That's not quite true. Most extra-curricular activities in US High Schools are not in the budget at all. Things like Orchestra, Band, and Sports are usually almost completely funded by groups of parents and well-wishers known as Boosters. Also, the schedule is not set up specifically for football practice, I believe it was set up to give high school students the time to work part time or participate in any number of extra-curriculars of which football is just one.

As far as scheduling, I learned that in a grad school class for secondary teaching certificate.  They discussed the fact that teenagers are biologically more apt to stay up late at night and not function well in the morning.  They cited studies that show how poorly teenagers learn in the early morning hours.  Beyond that I don't know.  I opted out of the grad program because I decided that the public school system wasn't something I wanted to deal with as a job.  After talking with many school teachers who reported that you would be lucky to get one or two really bright, interested students a year, and looking at the mountain of student loan debt I would owe after private university grad school compared to the salary, the fact that most programs are being done away with, I went back to my previous work. 

In my area they just moved all the elementary school music teachers, librarians and so forth into special ed and ESL teaching positions.  People who have taught music their entire career suddenly have to teach something totally out of their area.  So, evidently, Boosters are saving everyone everywhere.  This probably really depends on the state in one which lives.  I happen to live in an area that does better than many places with public education.  The local football field has state of the art turf though, because, I was told, sports generate money. 
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« Reply #34 on: February 21, 2013, 12:06:51 PM »

1 - I am very sorry to hear that. Is their explanation of why they don't like RE same as your -  comparison to science and algebra?

IMO most of them (except those who cared most) disliked them because they were terribly carried and boring. That laicisation argument bother mostly people who actually really wanted to gain something from them.
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« Reply #35 on: February 21, 2013, 12:08:18 PM »


As far as scheduling, I learned that in a grad school class for secondary teaching certificate.  They discussed the fact that teenagers are biologically more apt to stay up late at night and not function well in the morning.  They cited studies that show how poorly teenagers learn in the early morning hours.  Beyond that I don't know.

It's probably true but remember, the US was mostly a rural, agrarian society back in the day so school times were chosen to reflect that. They had let the kids out early to help with jobs on the farm/wherever. Now there's enough inertia that it's very difficult to change school times because then all sorts of other things will be affected. Besides, with all the activities students do these days, it would probably just end up pushing their sleep times back, resulting in no net gain.

In my area they just moved all the elementary school music teachers, librarians and so forth into special ed and ESL teaching positions.  People who have taught music their entire career suddenly have to teach something totally out of their area.  So, evidently, Boosters are saving everyone everywhere.  This probably really depends on the state in one which lives.  I happen to live in an area that does better than many places with public education.  The local football field has state of the art turf though, because, I was told, sports generate money. 

Like I said, School budgets are completely different from sporting budgets. Private citizens and business pay for most of the sporting equipment, but the school itself is funded by the county. Your complaint is with the county not the football team.
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« Reply #36 on: February 21, 2013, 07:00:44 PM »


It's probably true but remember, the US was mostly a rural, agrarian society back in the day so school times were chosen to reflect that. They had let the kids out early to help with jobs on the farm/wherever. Now there's enough inertia that it's very difficult to change school times because then all sorts of other things will be affected. Besides, with all the activities students do these days, it would probably just end up pushing their sleep times back, resulting in no net gain.

It could be true, or not.  I was just trying to relate to the OP some of the issues and what the general societal values are so they can understand why it would be difficult to put actual religious teachers teaching actual piety in a public school in the USA without a trial going all the way to the Supreme Court (which has been done over and over just on the two words "under God").  The state cannot establish one religion, and there are so many who will not be happy with one or the other religion.



Like I said, School budgets are completely different from sporting budgets. Private citizens and business pay for most of the sporting equipment, but the school itself is funded by the county. Your complaint is with the county not the football team.

I don't have a complaint, just trying to give some insight to American public schools and values.  I have to admit I did wonder why those people paying for a state of the art football field chose to invest there, and not in keeping actual teachers employed and programs running.  You can probably tell I'm not too interested in sports, especially ones I can't participate in, but maybe sports are a good thing for some people.

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