I caught my 17 year old HS Sr. "preparing" for Sunday School one morning
before church...I like this new program!
A suggestion: this new program patterns the "Reflections" technique used
in scouting instruction. An insightful discussion of that technique is in Brad
Harris's book "Trails to Testimony." Drawing out knowledge from
class participants has always been a valid method of teaching. The new
application in Sunday School can be used anywhere--especially in families!
Excellent article! Of course, the best and most famous 'Sunday School'
lesson ever taught didn't really involve student participation (other than
listening). It didn't take place in a classroom setting with books, Nooks,
or multimedia. There probably weren't even chairs on the Mount.That said, if we are calling it Sunday SCHOOL, then where are the desks or
tables? For me, arranging the chairs in a circle is ideal only if they are
behind tables. Otherwise, the circle thing is a little (and for some, very)
To Gram Cracker:I have used the "circle" sitting concept for my
institute classes as well as adult classes for years. The key to overcoming the
initial discomfort is to use round table or short rectangle table sitting in 1
or 2 groups, whenever possible. This facilitates the discussion method and
seems to produce insights as to how well the student is absorbing the key
concepts of the lession.
I was unsure at first of how this new format was going to go. I now find it more
powerful in spirit. I assign 1-2 students a week to present something from the
lesson for the following Sunday. I also give weekly challenges to my students
that they write down in a journal and try to complete by the following week. I
never read the scriptures, my youth do! I keep in touch with my youth and their
parents through email, facebook,and weekly discussions.
90/10 is not the goal. The goal is to elicit thoughtful, personal, insightful
and relevantly revelatory discussions. Without an enlightened and prepared
mentor/facilitator, the youth will run amok with insipid idiotics. A could
educator educes. As for conventional, you simply mean the false traditions of
the fathers imposed by paranoid curriculum mongers. The instructor is still the
key, but study "The Last Days of Socrates" for insights into the
inductive methodology that empowers and incites depth and testimony and
revelations before your very eyes. Then, don't expect the minimum but a day
of Pentecost should be the goal!
No matter how you change the formats, curriculum superficialities, and emphasis,
LDS teaching will always continue to be a "mutual admiration society"
that is, ultimately, just a big monologue.Invite the local Baptist
Bible Study group into Gospel Doctrine. Schedule some debates. Open up and air
out the stodgy "discussions" (that are so thick with confirmation bias
you can cut it with a chainsaw).
GiveMeLibert,You seem to have misunderstood. She didn't say to not
read scriptures, she said that the teacher shouldn't read a scripture that
a student should instead be reading. The "tell" was the telling of a
story and is the same thing, students can tell the stories (if prepared ahead of
time), or read them if the story is long or the student wasn't prepared.Regarding teaching method and sitting in circles, for adult classes the
controlling issue is class-size. The average Gospel Doctrine class-size
isn't amenable to being seated in a circle and not everyone can have a
chance to participate. Having said that, my experience is that most Gospel
Doctrine classes have always been run more like the new youth curriculum.I hasten to also point out that many, many youth teachers in the Church
have been teaching this way all along as well. Those that weren't were
just modeling the teaching that they experienced as a youth and didn't know
any other way. For them, and the youth that are accustomed to the "old"
way, it is an adjustment. I think everyone will adapt quickly.
How does any of the apply to adults in Sunday school though? Specifically Young
To Gram CrackerI like circles. Try sitting in a circle more than once -
they may be squeemish the first week but then they'll realize their voice
matters in the group and that no one wants them to slump in the back row.
Her quote was "tell or read" emphasis on the "read" for
scriptures, I'm sure. This has always been my preferred method,
particularly for youth, who generally are trying hard to engage as adults, but
are seldom given the chance by "know-it-all" leaders. Bravo,
Excellent article. I might change one thing ... sitting in a circle. Whenever we
are required to sit in a circle, it causes quite a bit of uncomfortable
squirming. No one knows where to look. Sitting in the usual rows is much more
normal, at least for us.
I agree with everything but the "don't have them read a scripture they
can tell." Too many times in classes people "quote scripture" that
doesn't exist so fallacies of doctrine are accidently created.Reading scriptures is also one of the great ways to either get the Spirit into
the class or get it stronger.Lastly, having students turn to and
read the scriptures helps them create and reinforce the habit to turn to the
Why not make this the style for adults as well.. nothing, nothing, in our
manuals teaches us to plan lessons other than how the lessons are planned for
the youth...For crying out loud teachers... READ the INTRO to the SS
manual. There is TOO much content to teach on any given Sunday, pick what best
fits your audience.... Never interrupt a good discussion to get back to
something you've planned to present... It's not just the youth that
are wanting more for lessons on Sunday.
You have some very lucky youth in your class! I think that it applies well to
family home evening or Sunday family time as well.