Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Call for Help

I'm beginning to think I have a big flashing "sucker" sign on my forehead. I was asked several months ago to teach a class for the Relief Society in Stake Leadership Meeting. It was postponed because of Prop 8 and I almost forgot about it. Then, I got the call that it was rescheduled for this Thursday. Not a problem, except I started back to school on Monday and I've been up to my elbows in alligators. I love teaching, so I'm not dreading the class, I'm just a little braindead right now.

So, I thought I would ask for help. The topic is teaching. Simple enough. I'm going to focus on teaching by the Spirit and specific methods for improving participation and learning. It's not a hard topic and I actually have more information that I can possibly cover. What I need is personal experiences. So, if you have felt the Spirit in a lesson, would you please tell me about it? And, if you've seen effective teaching methods, would you please share them? I promise to give you credit. I will gladly repay the favor upon request.


  1. I can't think of anyone more qualified to teach this class. You will be great. I actually took an honors class at BYU on teaching. It covered teaching in every situation and I thought it was fascinating. One of the things the professor taught that I will never forget from that class was that when we are teaching in a church setting, as we gather stories and personal experiences to share, we need to ask ourselves with each one, why am I sharing it? Is it to bring the spririt? To help instruct? or is it just to glorify myself or basically make myself look cool. I always think of that when I add a personal experience because I want to make sure that I'm sharing it to enhance the lesson and not to glorify myself. But with that said, I think personal experiences really bring the spirit and help teach a point. People relate to them and especially with my Young Women--I always shared personal experiences. Sorry for the long long comment. That's just my two cents.

  2. Thanks so much, Brooke. Actually, one of the points that seems to appear in many articles is avoiding self-promotion - called priestcrafts. I really like the way you put it. It's important to ask why you're sharing the experience. I will definitely use that.

    You gave more than two cents....thanks!

  3. Oh boy what a great question. I need the answers to this one for sure! I will think about it for a few hours and be back tomorrow to respond and read what others had to say. I wish I could be there to hear your lesson--you'll have to post about it.

  4. Well everything I learned about teaching I learned from you, so.....a few more things I have learned along the way are- be passionate about what you are teaching. Your audience will buy into what you are saying. Love em up!! Show the group you care about them and your topic. Never just talk the whole time, include them as much as possible. Lastly, share personal stories but not to many. It makes yout topic real. There is no one better to teach on "teaching" than you. You are the best teacher I have ever seen. Record this?

  5. So Brooke stole my idea, but it's so true. I think when you relate something personal, it touches people, because they can see how it touched you. It makes it so real!

    I have a lady in my ward that teaches our book of mormon study group every third time. I LOVE it when I know it's her turn. So I asked her one day, what makes her class different. All she could tell me was that she prays and fasts alot when she's studying the lesson, and that she leaves it up to the Lord to fill in the gaps! When she teaches she is so FULL of the spirit. I can genuinly feel her love for the Lord and his teachings. So as a student, and not so much a great teacher, I say fast and pray and teach with the spirit!

    I think this is a total seminary answer-I'm no help!

  6. Amy-
    Thanks for the suggestions. I think you've hit the nail on the head. We all have been taught that the spirit converts and I think that is especially true in teaching. I've found that some of the least dynamic teachers are the most successful when they prepare in all ways to receive the promptings to which they are entitled.


  7. I love what the others said. My class was just studying in Acts about how 3000 people are converted on the Day of Pentecost bc Peter taught with the Spirit and the Spirit pricked them in the heart. But it's so much easier to know that than to actually make sure you have the Spirit as you teach.

    I usually feel the days that go the best are the days when the students say a LOT and I say a little. So I would say spend time preparing good questions that will encourage responses. I don't always have good personal examples, but sometimes I can get one out of student, and that is spectacular. (Lots of times I get cold silence and blank stares. . . . )

    I also think it's important to read words directly from the scriptures instead of relying wholly on summaries and stories. The words of the scriptures are powerful.

    I love Kelly's thoughts about loving the kids. My lessons stink when I am focused on plowing through material; they go much better when I pay attention to the students and take the lesson where they want it to go.

    I also love hearing music during lessons.

    Ok, sorry for the long comment. I'd really love to get a copy of your outline, notes, whatever you use!

  8. Ashley -

    We're on the same page. I think good open-ended questions are the key. I'm going to emphasize seeing yourself as a "facilitator" rather than a teacher because I think it's important that class members take responsibility for their own learning. Questions get them involved and promote thinking. I like the suggestions about reading directly from the scriptures, too. I think I'll check out Acts and the story of Peter.
    Thanks so much for taking the time to give me such great suggestion. I'm gettin excited to use all the great ideas everyone has sent.

    Kelly -
    I agree about being passionate about what you're teaching. That requires knowing what you're teaching - so preparation is so important.
    Thanks for your very kind words although you may have slightly exaggerated.

  9. Joining the discussion again--I love what Kelly said about loving those you teach. I think this is huge. If the people we teach don't feel like we genuinely love and care about them--they will not learn anything from what we are teaching. I noticed a huge difference in how well my lessons went when I taught the youth after I had been in YWs for a while and knew them each personally. The girls were much more willing to contribute to the lessons and thus--learned so much more because they were helping teach. You will do a great job--I wish I could come listen! By the way Kelly, I need your email address. I want to know how YWs in going for you and more importantly, if you've passed that kidney stone yet. Yikes!