This is article nine of a ten part series. Click here to view the previous article.
Principle Six: Examination
Let’s review some of the statements made during this series of blog articles:
- Definitions: Learning is discovery. Teaching is facilitating discovery. A teacher is a coach to discovery.
- The teacher’s task to set up experiences so the learner can discover for himself Bible truths that transform.
- Transformational Philosophy: Where there is no involvement there is no learning.
- Philosophy Question: How do we keep learners actively Involved as they examine the Scripture passages?
Involvement can be as simple as connecting learners in pairs for discussing an idea; connecting 3-5 learners in small teams for answering questions; asking teams to tell back and demonstrate the biblical truth they discovered in their assigned passage using a creative method. Methods might include: art, drama, music, verbal, paper/pencil, games. Usually, the procedures in the Leader Guide provide creative methods that can be used or adapted to meet the needs of learners. But, I’ve found that when procedures do not
fit my group, I use the following Methods Processthat involves learners:
- Divide group into learning teams of 3-5 learners each.
- Each team is given written assignments. These are decided in planning meeting. The statement I hear more than any is, My class won’t do any of this creative stuff. How can I get them to do it? ALWAYS give written assignments! This creates a sense of responsibility on the learner. Even senior adults respond to a written assignment. Then, gently hold the group accountable for doing the assignment by encouraging and coaching them; giving them suggestions; and affirming what they do. Remember, the product is not important; it’s the process of learning that is significant.
- Steps in Methods Process: Read, Research, Discover, Create, Present
(1) Read: Each team is assigned a portion of the focal Bible passage. Usually the passage is divided into 3-4 sections. The leader asks the team to select a member to read their assigned passage aloud so all learners can hear the passage at the same time. This keeps slow/non-readers involved.
(2) Research: Each team is assigned the corresponding commentary in the Learner Guide, Leader guide, or commentary. Again, the team asks a member to read the commentary aloud.
(3) Discover: Each team is given 3-4 questions to discover the answers and briefly discuss:
(4) Create: Assign to each team a suggested creative method to use to tell back and demonstrate to the group the Bible truths discovered. The method can range from simply writing the answers to the Discover Questions on a visual or to using one of the basic methods: Art, Paper/Pencil, Drama, Verbal, Games. Change creative methods to keep this approach fresh. Remember, the best method is the one the team chooses to do, so they may ignore your suggestion.
(5) Practice and Present: Teams have 15 minutes to prepare a 3 minute presentation. Teams are given adequate time to complete assignment, then teams present work to large group. It is frustrating and ineffective to use this approach if teams are not given adequate time to discover, prepare, and complete their assignment. However, encourage teams to answer quickly the Discover Questions and move to the creative part ASAP. The leader sits while teams present, and then uses information shared plus information from the Leader Guide Commentary to add to and tie together the facts and Bible truths presented by each team. The leader then facilitates discussion of the relevance of Bible truths for today and encourages learners to share stories of where the passage intersects with life experiences. The focus stays on the Bible Truth for the session and relates to the unit as a whole.
This past Sunday we studied Joshua 1:1-18. Here’s a sample team assignment:
Read: Joshua 1:1-18; focal passage vv. 5-9
Research: P. 16, Rely on God’s Presence – Learner Guide
Create: Interview Joshua and one or more of the Israelites. What were they feeling; what were their fears?
How did they express confidence in God; Joshua?
Present: You have 15 minutes to prepare a 3 minute presentation.
Phil Stone is the State Sunday School Director for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.