Writing Teacher Training Material – Seeking Feedback

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I am considering writing up some teacher training material for adult Bible class teachers. Here are the topics I am considering. What would you add or subtract?

Lesson 1 – Why? Purpose of Teaching the Bible
Lesson 2 –  How? Study and Preparation
Lesson 3 – How? Teaching the Material
Lesson 4 – Dealing with People and Difficult Circumstances
Addendum – Communication and Administration with Church Office

I think this could be done in 3-4 hours max. Feedback? What would you want someone to cover if you were learning to teach? What is a lesson you have had to learn in teaching adults you would want to make sure was covered?

12 Responses

  1. Recent studies have confirmed again, that very little learning occurs in a lecture setting, but a lot of learning occurs in a discussion setting. Unfortunately, many teachers spend so much time preparing, they feel compelled to share what they know.

    Good teachers resist this temptation, and encourage discussion. That means the teacher may not cover every thing they planned to cover. But that’s okay … Because no one would recall it all anyway.

    1. Good point…we need to process our own difficulties and hindrances as much as we do dealing with difficult people, questions, etc.

    2. I’d strongly echo what David said regarding discussion. My experience is heavily on the teenager/student side, but studies have shown that teens are generally helpless when it comes to verbalizing their faith (see “Almost Christian” by Kenda Creasy Dean, among others), and part of this is because we haven’t given them enough opportunity to do so. This is why discussion is so important.

      Related to that, it’s not as simple as saying, “Make sure to include discussion in your class.” Writing good discussion questions is a learned skill, and creating an environment where people are willing/eager to discuss can be challenging too. So, tips on those two aspects would be helpful.

  2. Matt, I think your 4 (plus) topics are adequately broad enough to cover your bases, but are still sufficiently narrow to allow your readers to follow along with you. I have no broad category to add, only a specific suggestion that you may have already thought about. For Lesson 3 “Teaching the Material,” I believe it would be helpful for your teachers to see the various ways the same lesson could be taught. For example, it might be helpful to have an example lesson and briefly demonstrate how one could teach the material via lecture, or group discussion, or media, or small groups. This is a more inductive approach than some may be comfortable with, but I still think it could be effective.

    1. I like the idea of using the same topic and showing how to teach it from various perspectives. I probably would have done different approaches with different topics that were more tuned into the approach as often the material can direct your approach as certain approaches would work better with various topics. Would be interesting to dive into how to determine which topic you are going to use and then model it.

  3. The class content does not appear on the surface, though you may include it in your session #1. Be sure to spend some time with the concepts in John 5:39 (from Jesus) and 1Corinthians 2:2. Remind the students that we do not just “cover the material” – we teach Jesus in all of our classes.

  4. Create a safe environment where conversation is encouraged. A place where students can express their thoughts without fear of rejection.

    1. Ever since I started teaching 20s & 30s that has been hugely important to me. I can’t imagine not teaching teachers how to create that kind of environment. That might be another session on learning environments. Thanks for the suggestion.

  5. When I prepped students for oral exams in graduate school, I did not hesitate to cut them off mid answer and tell them that their answer was not going to pass but to try again. While this may be harsh for your teaching, not being able to verbalize the faith is not doing anyone any benefit but harm.

  6. Adult learning theory! We tend to teach adults as we were taught, using methods that don’t work very well today even with children, much less with our peers. Also, this training should model good instruction. I’ve listened to a lot of lectures on how not to lecture.

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