Lesson 11: Improve upon Your Talents

"Lesson 11: Improve upon Your Talents," Part G: The Teaching the Gospel Course, ()


Purpose

To help class members understand how to continually improve as teachers.

Note to the Teacher

As Enoch journeyed among his people, he heard a voice from heaven commanding him to preach repentance to the people. “When Enoch had heard these words, he bowed himself to the earth, before the Lord, and spake before the Lord, saying: Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?” (see Moses 6:26–31).

“And the Lord said unto Enoch: Go forth and do as I have commanded thee. … Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance. … Behold my Spirit is upon you, wherefore all thy words will I justify; … and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me” (Moses 6:32, 34).

Enoch went forth as he was commanded, and the Lord blessed him with the ability to teach with power.

Some class members may feel somewhat like Enoch did when he received his call to preach—aware of their weaknesses and unsure of their abilities. This lesson is designed to help them know how they can improve as teachers. The lesson focuses on the help available from resources such as Church curriculum materials, leaders’ support, and teacher improvement meetings. However, it is important that you remind them that the Lord is their greatest source for help. As they humble themselves and exercise faith in the Lord, He will “make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27).

Preparation

  1. 1.

    In advance, ask a class member or a ward leader to prepare to read the statement by President Brigham Young on page 235. Also ask this individual to prepare to tell about an experience in which he or she has seen the truth of this statement.

  2. 2.

    Ask a teacher from one of the priesthood or auxiliary organizations to come to class and talk for three to five minutes about how support from a leader has helped him or her.

  3. 3.

    Ask a priesthood or auxiliary leader to come to the class and talk for three to five minutes about how leaders can support the work of teachers. Ask this person to base the presentation on the information on page 28 of this book. Ensure that this person prepares to discuss the importance of teachers contacting leaders in order to share experiences, discuss the needs of individuals in the quorum or class, and seek help and counsel. (It might be helpful to ask a leader who serves with the teacher who is giving the presentation outlined in item 2.)

  4. 4.

    Study the section of this book titled “Improve upon Your Talents”(pages 21–28).

  5. 5.

    Review the information about teacher improvement meetings on pages 7–9 in Improving Gospel Teaching: A Leader’s Guide. Prepare to talk for three to five minutes about how teacher improvement meetings can help meet the needs of individual teachers. As part of this presentation, tell class members when the next teacher improvement meetings will be held and who should attend these meetings. (If you are not the teacher improvement coordinator, you may want to ask the teacher improvement coordinator to make this presentation.)

  6. 6.

    Prepare to share one or two things that you would include in the chart on page 25.

  7. 7.

    Before class, set up a display of current Church-produced teaching resources that are available in your area. Prepare to spend three to five minutes describing these materials. If the materials listed on page 105 are available, include them in the display.

Suggested Lesson Development

In our efforts to reach each person we teach, we should continually strive to improve.

Introduction

Have the assigned class member or ward leader read the following statement:

President Brigham Young said that the Lord “gives a little to his humble followers today, and if they improve upon it, tomorrow he will give them a little more, and the next day a little more. He does not add to that which they do not improve upon” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1941], 90).

Ask the assigned individual to tell about an experience in which he or she has seen the truth of this statement.

Teacher Presentation

Point out that this principle taught by President Young applies to our efforts as gospel teachers. We receive the Lord’s help as we continue to improve upon what He has given us. This lesson focuses on things we can do to improve our teaching. It also discusses the resources that are available in the Church to help us in these efforts.

The Church provides resources to help us improve as teachers.

Reports

We should continually reflect on our effectiveness as teachers.

Notebook Activity

Explain that we should continually reflect on how our efforts are helping those we teach. Then ask class members to turn to the chart on page 25 of this book. Have them copy the chart in their notebooks.

Ask class members to think back over the weeks since the beginning of this course. Invite them to consider assignments from previous lessons. Then help them use the chart to briefly evaluate their progress as teachers. Have them write one strength that they have as teachers and one weakness. Encourage them to write one thing that they can do now to improve and one skill that they need to develop. (For an explanation of how to do this evaluation, see the example on page 25.)

Explain that this will help them get started. They should complete the chart on their own. As they do so, they may want to review “Making a Plan to Improve Your Teaching,” on pages 24–27 in this book.

Teacher Presentation

After class members have had time to write in their charts, express your own desire to improve as a teacher. Share with class members one or two things that you would include for yourself in this chart (see “Preparation,” item 6).

Quotation

Assure class members that the Lord will help them in their efforts to improve. Have a class member read the statement by President James E. Faust on page 21 of this book.

Conclusion

Teacher Presentation

Repeat the statement by President Brigham Young. Share your feelings about the importance of the principle. If time permits, share the account of Enoch as presented in the note to the teacher on page 234.

Testimony

Bear testimony as prompted by the Spirit.

Assignments

Encourage class members to:

  1. 1.

    Contact individual leaders in their organizations to share experiences, discuss the needs of individuals in the quorum or class, and seek help and counsel. (If class members do not have callings as teachers, encourage them to talk with a family member, with the teacher improvement coordinator, or with you to discuss what they have been learning in this course.)

  2. 2.

    Review the principles taught in this lesson by studying the section of this book titled “Improve upon Your Talents”(pages 21–28). Continue to work on their plan to improve.

  3. 3.

    Come to class next week prepared to make presentations on what they have learned or how they have grown in connection with this course. The presentations should be three to five minutes long, depending on the number of class members. They should include reports on (a) how they have changed as teachers because of the things they have learned and (b) what they plan to do to continually improve as teachers.