Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ten Commandments for Dynamic Teaching

I'll be teaching Bible in the next two weeks and I have to admit that this task is hard to do. I'll be teaching church leaders from different tribes and what makes it difficult is the language barrier. Here I want to share with you an interesting article from my sister about teaching. The first 3 relate to the teacher, the next 3 relates to the teaching process and the last 4 focus on the learner’s response.

1. Power of the Spiritthou shalt depend upon the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish spiritual goals (1 Cor. 2:10-15).

The biblical understanding of teaching and learning process, it is the Holy Spirit who teaches, indwells, enlightens, and empowers both the teacher and the student. He is the teacher (Jn. 14:26). He does not only guide the student into all the truth, He is the truth (Jn. 16:13; 14:17). The help of the human instrument and the structure of situations may be designed so that there may be a time to study but the Spirit alone affects the learning. The Spirit helps the learners reassess and change their understandings, attitudes, values, and motives. To appropriate the power of the Holy Spirit, one needs to have (1) a prayerful preparation—for understanding the Bible and for sensitivity to the learner’s needs; (2) prayerful presentation—for effective use of methods; (3) prayerful follow-up—for achieving lasting results in the pupil’s lives.

2. Example of the Teacher—
thou shalt be what you expect your pupils to become (1 Tim 4:12)

there are two indispensable things that an effective teacher counts on: (1) the power of the Holy Spirit and (2) the proof of the holy life. The teacher needs to know and embody the truth.Know the truth. Dedicated incompetence is still incompetence. The teacher needs to know the truth in its biblical framework, seeing God as the source of all truth (Co; 2:3).

As a teacher he will have as his goal the experiential knowledge of Christ in whom all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom dwells (Col 2:3), the one in whom all things consists (Col1:17) and the one who is the truth (Jn 14:6). The teacher will further appreciate the limitless scope of the subject matter. He will be inspired by the magnitude of his task—that is the unveiling of the glory of God in every phase of the curriculum.

Embody the truth. The most compelling method is the embodiment of the truth—living a life of Christlikeness. The quality of teaching is not only the impartation of information but the impartation of one’s life as well as what one believes. The ideal teacher is described by Lawrence as whole mind into his preparation, whole soul in his presentation, and whole life into his illustration.

3. Relationship of Love— thou shalt demonstrate Christian love for your pupils (1 John 3:23).

The Spirit is the enabler for the teacher to embody the truth, He is also the one who engenders Christian love (Gal 5:22). Building a loving relationship with the student is time consuming—and sometimes costly. But be reminded that our Master teacher never gave anyone money. He rarely gave them food. He gave them love and service. He gave the greatest gift of all. He gave himself (Jn 4:4). Love brings life to a dead doctrine. By this all men will know that you are my children if you love one another (Jn. 13:35).

4. Methods that Involve—thou shalt select appropriate methods to get the attention and hold interest (Jn 4:7)
It was said that one can know the good teacher from a novice teacher in just two minutes. The new teacher looks at the notes, and the proficient teacher looks at his class. A dynamic introduction gains interest and suggests, “let’s not get bored today!” Methods are employed to catch attention and hold interest. Involvement brings fullest result to any teaching-learning experience. Teachers need to develop the skill of creativity as a teaching tool.

Communication with clarity—thou shalt choose words and concepts that are clearly understood (1 Cor 2:4, 14:9)..

Good communication begins in the mind of a teacher. Sort out precise messages and determine how to project such thought into the mindstream of the students. Graendorf summarizes some guidelines to expedite communication: (1) Step down the high voltage of thought so that it can be grasped and appreciated by the students (Jn 6). (2) Avoid technical words if common ones can carry the message. (3) Clarify simple words when there is danger of misunderstanding (Jn 21:15-17). (4) Use multi-sensory approach if it will expedite learning. Use visuals.

6. Pattern of Appreciation—thou shalt move from the known to the unknown by easy, simple, natural steps (Jn 4:7-29; Heb 5:12).

One of J. Herbart’s greatest contributions to education is Apperception. It is the idea of connecting new ideas with the old. John emphasizes the need to adapt teaching to the pupils’ developing maturity (1 John 2:12-14). Paul adapts new truths to former concepts, shown in the way he uses figures of speech and illustrations. Jesus employed the same principles in his parables, illustrations, and visual aids. Teachers are being encouraged to present lessons small enough for students to follow. Do not give too much information too fast.

7. Joy of Discovery—thou shalt stimulate discovery, not mere listening (Ps 34:8).

Gregory once said, “Knowledge cannot be passed on from mind to mind as apples are from one basket to another, but must in every case be recognized and rethought by the receiving mind.” Education is about finding the truth, first by the teacher and then by the student with the guidance of the teacher. It is the teacher who opens the gate for learning and understanding. It is a dynamic situation wherein the teacher may ask a question which lights a fuse.

Discovery learning needs preparation. The teacher needs to: (1) focus on the learner’s need; (2) identify the relation of the study to the felt need; (3) select methods that will involve the students in participation, evaluation and application.

On the other hand, the learner needs to: (1) identify the relation of the study to his need; (2) study the Bible to find solutions, and observe how the Bible appeals to his personal interests, problems, and needs. But the teacher continues to guide. This kind of learning gives the satisfaction describable as “the joy of discovery.”

8. Appeal to the Heartthou shalt elicit emotional response by the pupil (Rom 10:10).

The teacher needs to be aware that after the students have already recognized and interpreted the truth in their mind, a deeper response must be expected. Depth is experienced in what is called, “belief in the heart” (Rom 10:9; Eph 1:18).

The common mistake a teacher often commits is to believe that the learners know exactly what to do. On the contrary, learners do exactly what they want to do. It is the teacher’s role to make use methods that will appeal to students and make them respond positively to the lesson. The balance approach to touching the mind, the heart, and the will must be taken into consideration.

Many teachers are uncomfortable to bring down the lesson to the heart level of the student. Unknowingly, the heart is usually the driving force for the human will to respond. Jesus as the Master teacher used stories to elicit a response on the emotional level. He used parables to elicit response from the hearers (Matt. 13:34).

9. Response of the Will—thou shalt give sample opportunity for volitional response (Jn 17:17).

Truth when learned properly produces result. Evidently, an effective learning experience touches the mind, the heart, and the will. The student finds a need to act. It is the role of the teacher to provide the suitable stimuli in order to elicit the expected positive response. Ideally, the response may include the learner’s entire personality. It is advisable to provide ample time for the student to respond to an appeal to the heart. Make sure that at the end of each lesson, the teacher has left room for the Holy Spirit to work—and to allow the student to express such change in conviction.

10. Living Demonstratorsthou shalt help the pupil to embody the lesson in everyday living (James 1:22-25).

The teacher in general should be able to let the leather-bound Bible to be transported into shoe leather relating Bible facts to human acts. Impressions need to be consummated into expressions.

Life needs to reflect the truth that has been acquired. Learning is completed as the objective truth becomes the subjective experience of the learner.

The teacher’s skill is not only measure on the facts imparted but more on the character formed in the students. Developing a person is the aim. That development is to desire for each of the learners becomes a true disciple, follower of Christ, acknowledging His lordship, and conforming in his image.

The Bible teacher reaches for such an ambitious goal, however, one needs to acknowledge the facts, that, “Apart from Me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5), and just like the claim of Paul, “I can do all things through Him” (Phil 4:13.

1 comment:

George said...

This is good!