Dordt College News

Andreas Center Conference focuses on education

October 22, 2013

Does Christian education make a difference in the cultural and civic lives of its students? In an attempt to spur discussion of this important issue, the Andreas Center for Reformed Scholarship and Service along with the Christian Educator’s Journal will host a conference on October 31 through November 2, on the campus of Dordt College.

The conference, titled “Rooted in, Responsive to, Reaching out,” will consider the task and impact of Christian education from a variety of angles and perspectives. It is open to parents and educators in traditional Christian day schools, homeschool organizations, online educational organizations, and organizations supporting Christians teaching in public schools.

The public is welcome to attend the Thursday and Friday night plenary addresses without needing to register.

On Thursday, Ray Pennings will open the conference with “Heart, Soul, and Mind: Measuring the Fruits of Christian Education.” Pennings is senior fellow and director of research at Cardus, an emerging think-tank that is trying to influence the way government, the market, and the individual shape our society. He has contributed to seven books and hundreds of journal articles.

Friday’s morning speaker, Dr. Mary Kooy, will present “Opening the Black Box: Questions, Queries, and Conversations on Christian Education.” Kooy is a professor in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. She teaches graduate courses in communities of learning, teacher induction, curriculum innovation in teacher education, and improving teaching through learning.

Friday afternoon, Finn Laursen will present “The Role of Christian Educators in Public Schools.” Laursen is executive director of Christian Educators Association International, a professional association for Christian educators in both public and private schools. Prior to his appointment, Laursen was a public school educator in Ohio for 32 years, working as teacher, middle and high school counselor, assistant principal, and superintendent.

Finishing the day on Friday, Dan Beerens will present “Facing the Future Fearlessly: Focusing on Nurturing a Flourishing Faith.” Beerens, the head of DB Consulting, is an education consultant, author, international speaker, and educational leader. He served as vice president of learning services and director of instructional improvement at Christian Schools International from 2006 to 2010.

The three-day conference will also feature breakout sessions on a variety of topics including “Financial Literacy and 21st Century Disciples,” “The Task and Impact of Christian Education in Creating an Inclusive Worldview,” and “Responding to the Needs of Today’s Christian Educators: Building Capacity for Technology Integration.”

A full schedule, additional speaker information, and registration are available online at

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