FASTLY - Faith & Science Teaching

Strategy: Response


Learning about faith and science requires us to engage with questions that demand a personal response. This includes:

  • deciding where we stand on a contentious issue.
  • evaluating our lifestyle choices in light of what we learn.
  • committing to behaviors that respect others as we encounter disagreements.
  • giving ourselves to the further learning needed to deepen our understanding.

Teaching and learning FASTly enables us to focus on how we respond to what we learn, who we become through our responses, and how those responses shape the character we take forward into our future engagements with faith and science. We must wrestle with big questions that demand commitment, such as the sources of truth, the kind of community we build, and how we live. What accounts of the world merit our trust? How should we treat the natural environment? How will we show ourselves responsible for what we have learned?

Inviting serious response does not mean imposing specific commitments on students or conducting altar calls in science class. The goal is not to elicit a coerced response, but to make space for meaningful, personal responses by creating opportunities for students to consider and respect their own choices. This might involve, for example,

  • creating opportunities at the end of activities for quiet personal reflection and journaling in which students consider the implications for themselves of what they have just learned. Activity: Praise & Lament 
  • providing concrete opportunities for students to serve each other and the local community, inviting them to turn their vision outward toward the wider world and actively commit to serving others. Activity: Driver Safety
  • challenging students to decide on a viewpoint or take a stand on an issue in an informed and respectful way, and helping them think through the implications. Activity: Christian Differences Today – Creation/Evolution
  • creating learning activities that allow students to experiment with committing to changes in their own behaviors toward others or the natural world. Activity: Creation and New Creation

Teaching FASTly means more than students accurately repeating information or reaching correct answers on tests. Take a few moments to inventory the ways students in your classes are asked to respond to what they have learned. Are there kinds of responses you hope for, but have not intentionally made space for in your teaching? How can we call students to thoughtfully respond with commitments that will shape their future thinking, motivations, and life choices? Look out for more examples of strategies for fostering personal response in other FASTly activities.