Teacher Agreement

The seminar’s goal is to give each teacher a solid grasp of the issues lying at the interface of science and religion and to support schools in their efforts to create lesson plans or to modify the existing curriculum. We are honored to assist you and your school in this exciting endeavor.

The Seminar consists of three phases. The teachers of your team who participate fully in each of these phases in a timely manner will receive a stipend and a certificate of completion, indicating the number of contact hours they have spent in the seminar. At that point, we will also refund in full the deposit paid for materials.

1. Pre-Seminar Reading Phase – 8 Weeks

In order to have a fruitful time, it is immensely helpful to wrap one’s mind around some basic concepts in science, philosophy, and religion - particularly in those fields which are not your “native subject”.

The seminar hopes to strengthen your school’s efforts of opening its students’ minds towards a fruitful and engaging dialogue between science and religion. We are aware that participation in a one-week seminar will not achieve this goal – such thought processes need time to mature, ideas must percolate and be discussed. 

For this purpose, we invite teachers to meet already before the actual event in June in a virtual seminar space called Sakai, beginning in March. We will provide weekly short readings and discussion starters which participants should engage at least once per week. For this purpose, we have compiled a reader which we will be sending you soon. We expect teachers to read about 20 to 50 pages per week and post a brief reflection (about 150 words, equivalent to approx. 10 short sentences) in our discussion forums, either engaging the texts themselves or the thoughts posted by one of your fellow teachers. These posts are not meant to be essays. Rather we hope you engage the text or a post by your fellow teacher by sharing experiences in your own classroom related to the theme of the week.

In Sakai, you will also find some presentations from past seminars for your perusal. Your Sakai log-in information will be sent to you by email. Please look for it to arrive in your email inbox and/or check with your school contact person.

2. On-Campus Seminar

We expect you to arrive on campus on Sunday afternoon, June 17, 2018. The seminar will end Friday, June 23, 2018, at noon. Early arrival and later departure can be arranged. In May, we will post in Sakai the seminar schedule and more detailed information regarding your stay. There you will also find useful travel information and a travel discussion board.

Online participants at Foundations Notre Dame are expected to be present at their remote location while the seminar is in session and to contribute to the seminar by dialoguing via a facilitator/chatroom. We expect them to engage the presenters with their questions and work with their campus colleagues on lesson plans via Skype/Facetime or Zoom sessions.

3. Implementation

Inspired by the contributions from our presenters and their fellow teachers, participants will gather many ideas of how they can collaborate in implementing new concepts into their existing school curricula or even creating new joint classes already during the seminar. We want you to leave campus with a concrete plan what you will do once the new school year starts – and we want you to share it with the Foundation community.

At the end of the seminar, or latest by July 10, 2018, we expect the teachers from each school to have developed and posted jointly a concrete action plan and/or lesson plan for a new elective or interdisciplinary curriculum block which will enrich the course offerings at their school. Teachers from schools which cannot offer a new elective course will share with the seminar community concrete ways how they will collaborate in modifying their existing classes in order to implement the material explored at the seminar.

Teachers will read and discuss each other's work online and post comments to at least two other lesson plans by July 15, 2018. We will download lesson plans and comments and create a compendium for all Foundation participants.

Your Feedback

We will send out feedback questionnaires several times during the course of the seminar. These comments are tremendously helpful and their completion part of the seminar requirements.

Admitted teachers who fully participate and complete all requirements in a timely manner will receive the refund of their deposit, a stipend and the certificate of completion attesting to up to 100 contact hours (for details, please see attached contract).

We invite schools to include also other teachers in as many planning stages as possible. Speak with your colleagues and administration. Share with them the material you receive from us. If they are interested, we can provide them with a separate Sakai log-in so they can visit the discussion forums and chime in with their thoughts and ideas.

Again, we are honored by your participation and please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns. 

Patricia Bellm and Jay Martin