Inviting Class Discussion

Consider One or More of These Ideas

  1. Each chapter in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith contains questions. Use these questions to encourage discussions about the lesson (see Teaching, No Greater Call: A Resource Guide for Gospel Teaching [1999], 68–70).
  2. Pause after you ask a question and after you ask class members to share experiences. “Do not be afraid of silence. People often need time to think about and reply to questions or to express what they are feeling” (Teaching, No Greater Call, 67).
  3. “To help learners prepare to answer questions, you may want to tell them before something is read or presented that you will be asking for their responses” (Teaching, No Greater Call, 69).
  4. “Questions written on the chalkboard before class will help learners begin to think about topics even before the lesson begins” (Teaching, No Greater Call, 93).
  5. Before asking a class member to read from the scriptures, let everyone know that you will be asking for a discussion. For example, you could say, “Listen to this passage so that you can share what most interests you about it” or “As this scripture is read, see if you can understand what the Lord is telling us about faith” (see Teaching, No Greater Call, 69).
  6. Ask more than one class member to respond to a question. For example, before asking a question, you might say, “I’d like to get a number of you to respond to this question.” Then, after you ask the question, allow more than one class member to respond (see Teaching, No Greater Call, 63–64).
  7. “Be open to promptings you receive to call on specific people. You may even feel impressed to ask a person who has not volunteered to express his or her views” (Teaching, No Greater Call, 63).
  8. “Be sensitive and prayerful as you consider each individual. You may decide to ask for a person’s opinion about a topic rather than ask a factual question that he or she may not be able to answer” (Teaching, No Greater Call, 64).
  9. “You can help those you teach feel more confident about their ability to participate in a discussion if you respond positively to every sincere comment” (Teaching, No Greater Call, 64).
  10. “Never ridicule or criticize any question or comment, but show courtesy and love as you do your best to respond. When people feel that their comments are valued, they will share their experiences, feelings, and testimonies more freely” (Teaching, No Greater Call, 64).
  11. “Respond to incorrect answers with respect and courtesy. Ensure that the individual still feels comfortable participating.” Consider responses such as “I appreciate that thought. Let’s see if the scriptures can clarify that” or “Thanks for bringing up that idea. Let me read from the manual to clarify that point” or “That’s an interesting idea. Let me research that during the week, and I’ll get more information” (see Teaching, No Greater Call, 69).
  12. “Make every effort to listen sincerely to learners’ comments. Your example will encourage them to listen carefully to one another” (Teaching, No Greater Call, 64).
  13. “When someone asks a question, redirect it to others rather than answer it yourself. For example, you could ask, ‘Would anyone care to answer that question?’” (Teaching, No Greater Call, 67).
  14. “If you do not understand someone’s comment, ask a question. You might say, ‘I’m not sure I understand. Could you explain that again?’ or ‘Could you give me an example of what you mean?’” (Teaching, No Greater Call, 64).
  15. “Be careful not to end good discussions too soon in an attempt to present all the material you have prepared. Although it is important to cover the material, it is more important to help learners feel the influence of the Spirit, resolve their questions, increase their understanding of the gospel, and deepen their commitment to keep the commandments” (Teaching, No Greater Call, 64).
  16. “Divide the class into small groups. Give each group a few questions to consider. Then have each group report their answers to the class” (Teaching, No Greater Call, 70).
  17. “Be careful not to ask questions that promote argument or highlight sensational issues. Do no ask questions that create doubt or that lead to discussions that fail to edify” (Teaching, No Greater Call, 69).
  18. “Listening is an expression of love. It often requires sacrifice. When we truly listen to others, we often give up what we want to say so they can express themselves” (Teaching, No Greater Call, 66).
  19. “Teachers who lecture most of the time or answer every question themselves tend to discourage learners from participating. You should be careful not to talk more than necessary or to express your opinion too often. These actions can cause learners to lose interest. Think of yourself as a guide on a journey of learning who inserts appropriate comments to keep those you teach on the correct path” (Teaching, No Greater Call, 64).