In Part 1, I mentioned that I ran across a great article by Richard Dodge on the LifeWay Christian Resources website entitled Best Practice 8: Teach to Transform. In the article, Dodge shares eight transformational teaching actions. The action statements below in bold are from Dodge’s article. All comments are my own. Last time I shared the first four of Dodge’s actions: (1) know how your learners prefer to learn, (2) involve learners in learning, (3) create a sense of value in your teaching, and (4) create a good learning environment. In Part 2, I will share the final four transformational teaching action statements:
Provide a safe environment. It will be difficult for learners to encounter God in His Word if they are distracted, cold, or afraid. We should make sure to remove health and safety hazards as well. That means that it is essential to remove things like mildew, loose flooring, electrical hazards, and more. Even litter can lead to a slip. When an accident occurs, there is a natural loss of attention, retention, and possibility for change.
Mix things up. The worst teaching method is the one you use all the time. The ideal method is the one that communicates the truth of a specific passage of scripture to a specific group of people at a specific moment in time. Seek the Spirit’s leadership in your preparation. Be willing to use a new method if that will work best. Be willing to rearrange the room. Be willing to take the group on a walk or to a new location. Start or end differently. Change can add expectancy and interest.
Stay connected. Stay connected can mean several things. Continuing the lesson beyond Sunday morning. Make assignments. Ask them questions. Get them to read the scripture passage. Expect obedience. Also, as a teacher it is important to stay connected with learners as well relationally. Trust builds from time spent together. When attenders trust, they are willing to risk transparency and revelation of need. They are willing to try new things. They are willing for God’s truth to get into the cracks and crevices of life to bring about transformation.
Never stop learning. Transformational teaching requires continual time spent with God in prayer and Bible study. It begins with seeking a personal encounter with God in His Word prior to any lesson planning. In addition, a transformational teacher will seek to grow in his/her understanding of teaching-learning, the Bible, Bible times and customs, Bible places, as well as characteristics of the age group that is taught. Transformational teachers are learners.
Like I asked in Part 1, 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? Raise your awareness. Increase your expectations. Teach to transform. Make disciples rather than teach lessons. Be revolutionary!