Carrie Birmingham

Afternoon Seminar

“The Intersection of Christian Faith and Public Schools”

CS Lewis spent nearly his entire life in school. Although most of his work about education addresses university-level practices, he did write some texts that explicitly address and many that implicitly address the education of children and adolescents. This seminar explores issues at the intersection of Lewis’s work, Christian faith, and public schools, especially K-12 (to use US terms) schools. The seminar will provide background knowledge about education theory and practice as well as plenty of opportunities to discuss both lofty ideas and practical issues. This highly interactive seminar will be appropriate for anyone involved in or concerned with public and private K-12 schooling—teachers, administrators, (grand)parents, and concerned community members.

Day 1: We will learn about CS Lewis’s own distinctive education pathway and what he wrote about his school experiences. Drawing on Surprised by Joy, early letters, and some less-read essays, we will build a picture of Lewis’s schooling before he entered Oxford and what he thought of it. We will explore the major philosophies underlying contemporary education and connect them to familiar—and unfamiliar—school practices. Seminar members will be encouraged to relate education theory to their own school experiences and Lewis’s early schooling.

Day 2: We will attempt to answer the question, “What does Christian faith have to do with public education?” Drawing on ideas addressed in the previous day as well as additional work by Lewis (The Abolition of Man and essays), scripture, and theological concepts, we will explore the varieties of Christian responses to the varieties of public schooling. If time permits, we will discuss current issues in public education, such as the place of technology, standards and testing, privatization, English learners, pluralism and diversity, and poverty.

Carrie Birmingham

Carrie Birmingham has been a professor of education at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA, for eighteen years, where she teaches courses for prospective teachers in educational foundations, instructional methods, and English language development. She has been a teacher in public and private schools in Kentucky, Colorado, and California. She also teaches English to adult beginners.

Carrie has written and presented on a variety of topics, including the role of Christian teachers in public schools, bilingualism and reading, hope and wisdom in teaching, mothers of children with autism, and Harry Potter.

Besides reading C.S. Lewis, Carrie enjoys Shakespeare, knitting, classical music, reading about education, and listening to people. Her current project is an exploration of Christian faith and teaching.To learn more about Carrie, visit here site here:

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