By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Teaching, Part 2

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Easter today!

I've been thinking about teaching all weekend. I've thought of a couple more things we talked about in the class yesterday.

One thing is that a teacher should strive to live the gospel as best they can. One reason is to be more receptive to inspiration from the Holy Ghost. Another is to set a good example for your students. A teacher doesn't have to be perfect--none of us are--but to do the best you can and to try to grow as a person in faith and testimony is a good thing for you and beneficial for your class.

On a more minor note, we talked about not starting your lesson (or talk) by saying you are not prepared or you are nervous or by telling about how the Bishop called and asked you to talk (if it's a talk you are giving). This is a negative because immediately the class can lose interest, thinking that it's not going to be good so why listen? It is just a negative note that you don't want to play. Ironically, yesterday afternoon I got a call to teach in Relief Society this morning. Talk about last minute! But I was good and didn't say a word about it.

Another incident happened to me last summer. I had been asked to speak at a baptism on the topic of the Holy Ghost. I prepared my talk and was all set. I arrived at the baptism about 10 minutes early and sat around visiting. Then I spied the programs, so I got one for a keepsake. I opened it up and saw that I was listed as speaking about baptism and another person was listed as speaking on the Holy Ghost. Naturally, I assumed it was a misprint, but I am good friends with the other speaker so I just asked him if his talk was on baptism. He said no, it was on the Holy Ghost. He had been a member of the church for many years, but had only recently become active and he was scared silly about giving his talk and had been working on it a great deal and had it all written out. No way was I going to mess him up. I had my scriptures with me, so I turned to the Bible Dictionary and looked up "Baptism." I gave a short talk based on that--not reading it, but using it as a springboard for comments and to give me a couple of scriptures to read. It worked very well and I mention it here because if you are unexpectedly asked to teach or talk on a subject, see if there is something in the Bible Dictionary. Also, you could, if you have time, run (well, walk) to the library and get a copy of the Gospel Principles manual. It has a chapter on all the common subjects we deal with in the church and would help you out if you have to give a lesson or a longer talk.

Another thing would be to write outlines or talks for common subjects. This is good for your own edification, but would be very helpful if you had to teach or talk and didn't have much time to prepare.

And don't forget to pray for guidance and inspiration. Even if you don't have much time to prepare, you can still teach by the Spirit and edify those who hear you.

Happy teaching!



Blogger Pink Floyd said...

One of the (few) things I remember from one of my college speech classes is something the teacher told us: "Never admit you are unprepared or not a poor speaker. You audience will soon find out on their own..."

Glad your back Mary

8:09 PM  
Blogger Pink Floyd said...

Another good resource is the new little booklet "True to the Faith" or the "Especially for Youth" pamphlet.

8:12 PM  
Anonymous Barb said...

Oops! I think the last time I spoke at Church, which was more to share a poem and bear testimony that I mentioned that the Bishop had asked me to share the poem and bear testimony. Well, a lot of people seemed to like my poem as it was about Christmas. Then, I had to contrast my poem with a them of humility and being pure in hurt with my testimony where I tried to be too be eloquent. Fortunately, most people at Church are so kind! Mary, way to go preparing a last minute talk on baptism! I am actually one of those strange breed of people who has found it easier at times in my life to give speeches or act rather than relate one on one or in group social situations. Ironically, when I was the most withdrawn in my life, I did some of my best acting and Oral Intrep. One thing that I liked about giving speeches and acting is that if you are prepared you know what you are going to say. Being reticent and not fast-thinking at one point, I really had nothing to say. Now I tend to go to the other extreme and talk too much! Another thing that I like about speaking is that you have a clear point when you are supposed to start speaking as opposed to conversation where timing can be tricky especially if you are trying to strike up a conversation. Well, I had the advantage of having a mom who coached me early on in Oral Interp as she was gifted in that area. Also, my sophomore Speech Teacher was one of those people with a ready, open smile. What a blessing to talk to such receptive and encouraging woman who had such an interesting way of viewing things. To those who are in the audience, you can do so much to help a speaker by having a pleasant look or smile on your face and by nodding from time to time. Try not to whisper or talk to other people as that can make a speaker nervous as they may think that you are saying something about their speech! Also, participating in questions posed by the teacher goes a long way to helping the teacher feel competent and making things run smoothly. As usual Mary, you are such a springboard for my thoughts! Thank you!

6:10 AM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Thanks for the comments, Pink Floyd, and for adding a couple of resources I hadn't thought of.

I'm glad I'm back, too! I haven't lost interest in my blog. I have just had distractions. I really do want to try to post more regularly.

4:45 PM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Barb, for some reason your comment didn't show up until I replied to Pink Floyd. I think there is some problem with the server today as I've had some trouble with comments. I think it is working now. I hope. I love to get a little feedback on my posts here.

I'm with you that it is easier to give a talk or teach a lesson than to engage an individual in a conversation. Somehow I missed out on getting the gift of being social--I like to say I was off somewhere reading a book when Heavenly Father was passing out the sociality!

You made some good points about being in the audience or being a student. It helps the speaker/teacher to feel that at least some are paying attention and are willing to participate.

4:51 PM  

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