LDS teachers play a vital role in the church. They plant seeds of knowledge in peoples’ minds, impart wisdom, satisfy curiosity, and improve understanding of gospel principles.
Here are some nuggets of wisdom that can help LDS teachers teach more effectively.
Know your audience
Preparing a lesson can be a lot easier when you know your audience. Knowing your audience will direct you to use examples and stories that they can relate to, ask questions that are parallel to their level of understanding of gospel doctrines, and teach in a way that will best suit their age and interest.
Avoid using jargon without explaining what they mean
Jargon are words that are mostly used only among people who belong to a particular group. Members of the LDS church use a lot of jargon: words such as “ward,” “stake,” “fireside,” “seminary,” “institute,” “temple sealing” and many others. This jargon can be used in teaching but teachers must give a brief explanation of what the jargon means because these words are alien to members who recently joined the church or people who are investigating the church.
Focus on lessons learned more than the history
One of the reasons why prophets and apostles keep records of their lives, is so that those who read the records can learn from their experiences. Of course it is important to know the details of how the Lord’s church was established and restored in these last days, such as dates or places, but there are gospel principles that can be learned in these accounts and not just history. When the audience learns principles from the history they are studying, they become more engaged and interested in knowing more. They may even study the subject further even after the lesson has been taught.
Let your audience share their thoughts
A lesson can become more effective when you let the class participate and share their insights. This can be achieved by asking thought provoking questions. The attention span of a human being is limited but it can be prolonged when they are not listening to only one person. The wisdom of thirty is far richer than the wisdom of one.
Be a facilitator, not a teacher
You should not be the only teacher in the room. In fact, you are a facilitator who guides the discussion in the class. When you build the impression that everyone in the room is a teacher, most, if not all, will feel comfortable in sharing their ideas knowing that their words are welcome in the class.
Finish on time
This may be the simplest piece of advice, but it is one with a big impact. Sometimes, there are people waiting to use the room next, or the audience has other classes they have to attend next, but they cannot because you are not finishing on time. Regardless of why you think a class should extend for a little bit, a class must finish on time. It’s not that the audience only signed-up for a 3-hour church service, but Sunday is also family time for many. To achieve this, it is best to start on time and keep track of the remaining minutes you have. Plan accordingly and allocate the amount of time you will use for each section of the lesson.
Teaching is worthwhile and fun, especially when delivering the lesson well is not the sole focus but what the audience learns and feels after it has been taught. Do you want to write an open letter to LDS teachers too? Feel free to add on in the comments section below.