In the front of each Sunday School lesson manual there is a section called Help for the Teacher. It gives basic guidelines for how to use the lesson manual. It explains that each lesson contains certain section including: purpose, preparation, attention activity, discussion and application, conclusion, and additional teaching ideas. The one section described as “the main part of the lesson” is discussion and application. Notice that the main part of the lesson is not teacher lecture. Monologues are for sacrament meeting and dialogues are for Sunday School.
Avoid Context Questions
Don’t Control the Discussion–Steer the Discussion
Once your lesson preparation ends and it is time to teach, there is no doubt you have discovered some fantastic concepts to share. Many have deep spiritual experiences as they prepare a lesson, which is exactly the reason teaching is one of the best callings in the church. Your spiritual preparation gets you excited to share your lesson plan. This excitement causes many teacher to launch into a lengthy lecture leaving the class wide-eyed and barely blinking. A teacher must come to terms with the idea that your detailed ideas and thoughts may never be heard in your lesson. You are not there to create lesson content you are there to steer the discussion.
The difference between a bad lesson and a good lesson is engagement. The only job you have as a teacher is to make sure engagement is in the room. The reason you planned for hours before the class is to step in when the classroom discussion goes stale of off topic.
Ask Questions in Advance
Point & Ask a Question
Stop with the “White Slip” Madness
Every Saturday night across the general body of the church there are thousands of teachers cutting out slips of numbered paper with quotes on them or scriptures references. They eagerly pass these out before the lesson and consider class participation in the bag. Maybe this works for some teachers, but it is simply just a way to create artificial classroom participation. Remember the engagement graph above? Just because you have people reading a slip of paper does not mean engagement is increasing.
The same goes for calling on individuals to read a select verse of scriptures–engagement is still not increasing by this task. I prefer the teacher read the scriptures because then they can take their time to accentuate specific parts of the verse that they would like to focus on.
I’m sure there are other tips teachers are using in order to get the class talking. What ideas have you found helpful? Comment below.