10 The Role of the Holy Ghost in Gospel Learning

Teaching The Gospel A CES Resource for Teaching Improvement, (2000), 38–39


Principles to Emphasize

Teachers and the Role or Functions of the Spirit

“A teacher may do many things that can influence whether or not the Spirit will be present,” but “no man or woman, no matter how righteous or faithful, can fulfill [the] functions of the Spirit” (Teaching the Gospel: A Handbook for CES Teachers and Leaders [1994], 12).

The Spirit and Mastery of Methods or Skills

“Though the various methods and skills of teaching are important, a teacher can master many of these and still fail to provide an edifying learning experience if the Spirit is not present” (Teaching the Gospel: A Handbook, 12).

Teaching by the Spirit

“Teaching by the Spirit is defined as taking place when the Holy Ghost is performing his role or functions with the teacher, with the student, or with both” (Teaching the Gospel: A Handbook, 12).

Suggested Training Activities: Teachers and the Role or Functions of the Spirit (20 minutes)

Handbook

Invite teachers to carefully read the first paragraph of the section entitled “The Role of the Holy Ghost in Gospel Learning” (handbook, 12). Ask teachers:

  1. What is the role of the Holy Ghost in gospel learning? (see handbook, 12).

  2. What can teachers not do, despite their own righteousness or faith? (see handbook, 12).

  3. How might teachers inadvertently attempt to assume the role of the Holy Ghost? (see handbook, 12).

Scripture Activity

Read together Alma 18:1–5, 33–35. Have teachers look for what Ammon taught King Lamoni about the role or functions of the Holy Ghost. Ask teachers:

  1. How did Ammon know the thoughts of King Lamoni’s heart?

  2. What did Ammon teach King Lamoni about the role or functions of the Holy Ghost?

Group Work

Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles outlined a list of do’s and don’ts regarding a teacher’s influence on the presence of the Spirit in gospel learning. The list is on handout 10. Distribute a copy of the handout to each teacher, and group the teachers into pairs. Have the partners read the do’s and don’ts to each other, one reading the first do and the other the first don’t, and so on. Then discuss the following items with teachers:

  1. Consider items 1–3. What has helped you become settled and serene or meek in preparation for gospel teaching?

  2. Review items 4–5. How could preparing one-liners help give a simple focus to the principles being taught?

  3. Look at items 6–7. What makes an application relevant?

  4. Consider items 8–9. When have you had the experience of learning from what you said?

  5. Review items 10–11. Why is it important not to “sell” the doctrine?

Writing Exercise

Invite teachers to identify several of Elder Neal A. Maxwell’s suggestions they would like to implement in upcoming lessons. Have teachers write the specific ways they will implement his suggestions to improve their teaching. Invite teachers to share their intentions with the in-service group.

Suggested Training Activities: The Spirit and Mastery of Methods or Skills (10 minutes)

Quotation

Read and discuss the following statement by President Howard W. Hunter, who was then President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Teach with the Spirit

“There is so much in our world that destroys the feeling of the Spirit and so much that would keep us from having the Spirit with us. We need to do all we can for these young people who are assaulted and barraged by worldliness all around them. We need to do everything possible to let them feel the sweet, reassuring presence of the Spirit of the Lord. Your classrooms are weekday sanctuaries where they should be able to find that.

“In one of the most basic revelations of this dispensation, the Lord said, ‘And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach’ (D&C 42:14).

“I take this verse to mean not only that we should not teach without the Spirit, but also that we really cannot teach without it. Learning of spiritual things simply cannot take place without the instructional and confirming presence of the Spirit of the Lord” (Eternal Investments [address to religious educators, 10 Feb. 1989], 3).

Ask teachers: What keeps us from having the Spirit in class?

Handbook

Invite teachers to carefully read the second paragraph of the section entitled “The Role of the Holy Ghost in Gospel Learning” (handbook, 12). Ask teachers:

  1. What is the relationship between the mastery of methods or skills and the Spirit? (see handbook, 12).

  2. What could you do to be more sensitive to the Spirit?

Suggested Training Activities: Teaching by the Spirit (25 minutes)

Video

Show presentation 11, “Helping Others to Be Spiritually Led” (10:45). In this presentation, Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles discusses how to help students be led by the Spirit. As they watch the presentation, have teachers look for possible answers to the questions in the first paragraph of the section entitled “Teaching by the Spirit” (handbook, 12). Ask teachers:

  1. What does it mean to teach by the Spirit?

  2. Will a teacher always know if he or she is teaching by the Spirit? Explain.

  3. Will students know? Explain.

  4. What will students be experiencing if the Spirit is present?

  5. What constitutes a true spiritual experience for a person?

Handbook

Have teachers read the second paragraph of “Teaching by the Spirit” (handbook, 12). Ask: How is “teaching by the Spirit” defined?

Discussion

Draw the following diagram on the board and discuss the interaction between the Holy Ghost, the teacher, and the student in gospel learning.

Interaction triad
  1. What difference does it make when a teacher petitions the Lord for the influence of the Spirit in gospel teaching?

  2. What difference does it make when a student petitions the Lord for the influence of the Spirit in gospel learning?

  3. What happens when a student sees his or her interaction with the teacher as one-way?

  4. What happens when a teacher sees his or her interaction with the students as one-way?

Video

Show presentation 12, “Teaching by the Spirit” (3:22). In this presentation, teachers and students testify about the importance of having the Spirit in the classroom.