I ran across a great article by Richard Dodge on LifeWay Christian Resources’ website. The article was entitled Best Practice 8: Teach to Transform. In the article, Dodge shares eight transformational teaching actions. The open actions in bold are from Dodge’s article. All comments are my own. In Part 1, I will share the first four of Dodge’s actions:
- Know how your learners prefer to learn. There are several ways to discover attenders learning preferences. One is to observe learners during Bible study sessions. Do they respond with more enthusiasm when certain types of teaching methods are used? Do they seem to remember certain lesson more than others? What methods did you use? These questions can help you identify some of their learning preferences. Another way to discover their preferences is to use this Assessment and Key. Even though they are written for teenagers, the still work with adults.
- Involve learners in learning. Help your attenders to do more than listen. Lead them to open God’s Word. Ask questions. Make them think. Lead them to apply the truth. Put them into groups to three to five. Give them assignments. The more they are involved, the more they will remember. The more they remember, the more likely they will be to enjoy the class and to put the truth into action in their lives. Plan your lesson with a variety of teaching methods designed to meet God in Bible study and be involved in the lesson.
- Create a sense of value in your teaching. Help learners understand how the lesson applies to them. In other words, help them understand why the lesson is important or valuable. Use illustrations based upon affinities of attenders. Lead learners to consider personal actions they need to take to live out the truth of each lesson at home, school, work, and play. Share stories based upon the age group/life stage of the class.
- Create a good learning environment. Remove distractions from the space. Seek the right balance of lighting and temperature. Keep the space free from litter, clutter, excessive noise, and odor. Intentionally address arrangement of chairs, furnishings, and equipment. Move toward circles and semicircles where space allows. Start new classes to avoid overfilling classrooms. Use furnishings and equipment designed for the age group using the classroom. Add visuals to the learning space.
How does your teaching measure up? On which of these four actions are you doing the best job? On which of these actions, do you need to work? What can you do this week to address your weakest area? In Part 2, I will share the final four transformational teaching actions: provide a safe environment, mix things up, stay connected, and never stop learning. Raise your awareness. Increase your expectations. Teach to transform. Make disciples rather than teach lessons. Be revolutionary!