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Heaton teaching at Cedarville University

Teacher training model fosters change at home and abroad

by Madi Cannon and Clem Boyd, Public Relations Staff

Cedarville University professor Dr. Timothy Heaton has created a curriculum and discovered a way to deliver it to teachers that he hopes brings positive results for Christian schools in the United States and society-impacting change in Africa.

Heaton, who teaches in Cedarville's School of Education, unveiled this innovative model for teacher development at the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) Higher Education Forum for Teacher Educators earlier this year. He observed the model of teacher training in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) when he taught there in 2014.

In most U.S. public and private schools, teacher training is delivered through one- or two-day in-service programs. According to Heaton, the trainer delivers the content, and how well that information is transferred from lecture to reality largely depends on the teacher. “The research says the traditional approach is not effective,” he said.

Under the African model, the professional trainer still delivers the initial content during an intensive one- or two-day workshop, but he or she also trains a “champion” in the school — a principal, assistant principal, classroom instructor — who facilitates and monitors the implementation of that content throughout the school year.

According to Heaton, this gives the school more ownership implementing the professional development topic and the accountability to create the change they want to see.

This curriculum also includes teaching strategies and Christian school philosophy. Heaton used the teacher “champion” training model to deliver a biblically integrated curriculum to Congolese education leaders.

This past April, he met with teacher-trainers from the Congo and learned that his curriculum is being used in the DRC’s capital, Kinshasa. Plans have been formulated to teach the Elephant Project throughout the DRC.

“Christian schools and evangelical churches in all of Africa are experiencing explosive growth,” Heaton said. “Evangelistic rallies are attracting 10,000 or more people an evening. In Africa, education is power, and the Christian community sees biblically integrated curriculum in Christian schools as a way to improve countries educationally and to eliminate strife and corruption.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,760 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit

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