Group Study Guide for

Teaching That Transforms

[Cover of Teaching That Transforms]

Why Anabaptist-Mennonite Education Matters

by John D. Roth

Study Guide written by Dale Shenk, Bethany Christian Schools, Goshen, Indiana.

These questions are intended to expand and deepen appreciation for Roth's book. Although page numbers are not provided in most cases, the questions are given in the approximate sequence that the themes occur in the chapters. These questions are also available for download as a Word document or in PDF format.

Also see Teaching That Transforms in the MennoMedia online catalog.

Introduction Chapter 4
Chapter 1 Chapter 5
Chapter 2 Chapter 6 / Conclusion
Chapter 3  

Chapter 5: Keeping the Conversation Alive

  1. This chapter raises many of the significant questions faced by Mennonite schools. Set up a role-play that invites two people to discuss these questions while taking opposite sides. It is often useful to ask people to take the opposite position from the one they would take naturally.
  2. In this chapter, the author raises many questions for conversation. Also explore the following ideas or conversation topics.
    • Explore the tension between the values taught in schools and the values that parents want their children to embrace. Is what children learn at school the same as at home? Why or why not?
    • Many families have some discretionary money for things like material possessions, special vacations, lake cottages, or education. What is the spending pattern in your community? Where does education fit in?
    • Some states are discussing a voucher system where tax dollars would go to the same schools that the students are attending. Is this a good or bad idea? What are the implications of this for poor families? How might it dilute the mission of the Mennonite schools?
    • This book makes a clear case against the assumption that children can effectively witness to Christian faith in a school setting. Do you agree? How does this happen or not happen in the public schools in your community?
    • What are the ways that church schools enhance students' ability to articulate faith?
    • Think about the social interactions between different cultural groups of high school students. How well do students engage other groups? What do schools do to enhance these interactions?
    • Assess the visibility of students in your congregation. What is the level of support for different school programs? Is it fair or reasonable?
    • How is the giving to religious education expressed in your congregational budget? Is there conversation about supporting non-Mennonite or non-Christian schools? How does Roth frame this discussion?
    • What does it mean for a school to have an explicit denominational identity? Develop a list of markers that identify a school as Mennonite, such as school name, staff background, courses taught, board members, etc. Which of these are the most important? Why?
    • The book suggests a program bias toward struggling students. Is this true in church schools you know? How might a school balance the needs of gifted and struggling students?
    • The author notes that formative moments are relational rather than due to particular kinds of facilities. Is this true? Tell stories of significant experiences that took place in less-than-ideal facilities.
    • Where were the pastors of your congregation educated? What are the implications of this for the place of church schools?
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