By Study and Also By Faith

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

Saturday, March 26, 2005


This morning I went to a Teacher Development class at church. It was great! First, they enticed us with breakfast (mmmm!), then they had a really good teacher for the class. That ought to be a given, but it isn't always!

I love to teach, particularly the adult classes, although if I had more experience with the kids, I'd probably like that just fine, too. I enjoy the preparatory study. I usually learn something new--a new way of looking at things, a quote I'm not familiar with, something. There is so much to keep in mind when teaching.

I feel that praying about the lesson and trying to be really in tune with the Holy Spirit is the most important thing. Next would be being familiar enough with the material so that the Spirit can have something to work with in guiding you in what to say or how to say it.

One thing that was discussed a bit was eye contact with the class and showing that you know they are there and are glad. I teach Gospel Essentials and so I have guests often--investigators, new members, and people who come with their friends. I want them to feel welcome and to want to come back. My co-teacher, who is a new convert, said something that I really appreciated--he said that I made him feel welcome when he first came to the class and that it was important that he was there. I thought that was so nice of him to say that because that is one thing I try to do, but I never know how it comes off.

I'm not one for a lot of handouts (though I probably should use them some in classes where there is a list of points or some good quotes) or decorations or anything like that. However, we often sing in my class. There are some hymns and Primary songs in the back of the Gospel Principles manual and we have a couple of singers in my class who can get us started on the right note! People seem to enjoy that. We usually have 10-20 people (some are old members who just like to come to my class) so if someone doesn't want to sing, they don't feel they have to because no one notices. That's another thing that I think is important--not embarassing anyone or putting them "on the spot."

I always write a few things on the board before class starts (which lesson it is, some key verses, and what to look under in the Topical Guide and/or Bible Dictionary) and sometimes I will make a list during class. Our teacher today mentioned using simple little pictures or diagrams to illustrate a point. I hadn't thought about that, but it's a good idea. A teacher could plan them out ahead and keep it simple. Artistic ability isn't required--stick figures and other simple line drawings are fine and are quickly and easily done. Then there are pictures from the Gospel Art Kit. I have my own, but they are available in the library. One or two is sufficient and prevents cluttering.

I think that the manual, Teaching--No Greater Call is very good for learning how to teach and giving ideas on what to do in class. The teacher can bring his own personality and do what he feels comfortable with, but a little variety can be helpful in sustaining interest. Sometimes there are articles in the Ensign about using questions to teach or teaching by the Spirit or other topics of concern.

I think it is good to work on improving our teaching, but I think it is also important to enjoy it. Don't make yourself crazy, but do look for simple little things you can do to improve--line upon line, precept upon precept.

And if you are a student, try to participate. Read the lesson ahead and offer a comment or ask a question. Don't hog the floor, but do participate. Often it gives others the courage to say something, too.

We hear a lot of talks and go to a lot of classes in our church. If the talks and classes are interesting, it is so much easier to pay attention and get something out of them.



Blogger pate said...

Great timing. Improving our quorum instruction is a big priority right now. I've been going back through the Teaching -- No Greater Call manual and I have to say that I agree with you. It's a great resource. I just wish we had a better track record at using it.

Thanks for sharing.

9:28 PM  
Blogger Amira said...

I loved teaching Gospel Essentials. I can't understand why _No Greater Call_ isn't used more often since so many people say they are uncomfortable with teaching. It made a huge impact on me when it came out. It's nice to see you post again.

8:14 AM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Thanks for your comments! I love teaching and I have really gotten a lot out of Teaching--No Greater Call. I didn't post about everything we talked about, but I wanted to post some about teaching because it is so important.

4:05 PM  

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