Teachers at Asheville Christian Academy are constantly brainstorming new ways to engage their students. In this digital age, with distractions, pressures, and new trends being thrown at them, students are flooded with information from every source imaginable. Upper School teachers at ACA are thinking of new ways to combat this barrage of distractions and engage students in unique, fun, and intentional ways. Mr. Chris Aitken, the Director of Choirs, Mr. Seth Rowe, Upper School English, History, and Bible Faculty, and Mr. Edgar Silva, Upper School Foreign Language Faculty, reflect on their favorite things about ACA, and new tactics they are adopting in the classroom to excite students.
Mr. Aitken’s classroom is filled with Upper and Middle School students on a daily basis. This is where he trains them, not only musically, and encourages them in their daily relationship with the Lord, peers, and everyone they meet. This year, when you see Mr. Aitken, ask him why he flipped his classroom. When asked what project he is most excited for this year, he noted “The Beethoven Project,” because not only will it make students think about the great composer, but it will “challenge them to look at a large scale project about music.”
If you were to take a step down the Upper School hallway, you would notice that Mr. Rowe’s classroom is one that students flock to during their free time. Mr. Rowe, who was chosen by the Class of 2017 to be their keynote speaker at graduation, is liked by all students. And, the feeling is mutual. “My favorite thing about teaching at ACA is being with the students,” Mr. Rowe said. This year, Mr. Rowe is giving students the opportunity to listen to Shakespeare audibly, in hopes that by listening as well as reading, that will further help the students understand and digest the works of Shakespeare. In his Bible classes, he is implementing a new extended devotion project “that will hopefully surprise and challenge students.”
Mr. Silva, more commonly referred to as Señor Silva, loves ACA because he can “come here and pray openly and praise God freely.” Mr. Silva is known for his fun and eye-opening projects, encouraging students to look at every day customs from the perspective of a different culture. This year with his class, Mr. Silva is going to give students the opportunity to have interactions with native Spanish-speakers outside of the classroom. This will give students another perspective on the Spanish language and culture. In order to encourage students to use Spanish in a real-life situation, Mr. Silva is assigning a Hispanic Heritage Month project, which is a research based project that is “challenging, inspiring, and it breaks a lot of boundaries.”
In addition to Mr. Aitken, Mr. Rowe, and Mr. Silva, the rest of the staff and faculty are always thinking of new and enriching ways to present education and the gospel to students. Read more about how our teachers and students use academics to show God’s love.
Special thanks to Jax Ledford for conducting these interviews.