I began work in the Lagan Valley area in Autumn 1977, where a good teacher training programme already existed. The model taught at Kilchzimmer was of weekly classes providing everything needed for the weekly Good News Club. Workers adapted this to suit their teachers; in Lagan Valley some classes were held fortnightly and others monthly. These resulted in good relationships with teachers, and being able to give help and support as it was needed.
In the 1980s news crossed the Atlantic of a different approach which had been pioneered in South America where distances made regular classes unworkable. Known as Teaching Children Effectively™ (TCE™), this began at level 1 and progressed to levels 2 and 3. Those completing the courses were equipped with the skills needed to teach children from God’s Word independent of regular input from CEF workers.
Permission was given for TCE to be adapted for Europe and a team set up under the leadership of Paul Reid. Different aspects of level 1 were delegated and my task was to bring it all together aiming to produce what was acceptable to European CEF. The next step was to have an Instructor of Teachers (IOT) course at Kilchzimmer in Spring 1992. There was excitement at this new venture but it wasn’t all plain sailing as we tried to work through different issues. I remember late nights, tears but also laughter.
Chris and Jennifer Haaijer piloted TCE1 in Ukraine while the first IOT in Ireland was held in Spring 1993. As I looked at the faces of the CEF workers present, I sensed there were many questions. Would it work in Ireland? Who would teach it? Would we lose the regular contact with teachers? We didn’t find all the answers but it was an important beginning.
Teacher training methods may change but never the goal to equip believers to faithfully present the Word of God to children, depending on the Holy Spirit to lead them to know Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord and walk a life worthy of Him.
This article first appeared in the Autumn 2019 National Newsletter.