18 Decide the How

Teaching The Gospel A CES Resource for Teaching Improvement, (2000), 66–67


Principles to Emphasize

Consider What Students Will Do or Feel as They Learn

When deciding how to teach the content of a lesson, teachers should consider “what students will do or feel as they learn” (Teaching the Gospel: A Handbook, 19).

Search, Analyze, and Apply

Teaching methods or activities can help students “search for information, analyze what they are studying, or help them apply it in their own lives” (Teaching the Gospel: A Handbook, 37).

Fundamental Considerations

There are some fundamental considerations in deciding how to teach a lesson (see Teaching the Gospel: A Handbook, 23):

  1. 1.

    Effective teaching edifies.

  2. 2.

    Focus on learner readiness, participation, and application.

  3. 3.

    Choose methods that teach the content in a way that edifies.

  4. 4.

    Use a variety of methods and approaches.

  5. 5.

    Determine pacing.

Note: The training suggestions in this lesson build on the activities in lesson 17, “Decide the What.”

Suggested Training Activities: Consider What Students Will Do or Feel as They Learn (5 minutes)

Handbook

Have teachers read the first paragraph of the section entitled “Decide What to Teach and How to Teach It” (handbook, 19). Then ask teachers:

  1. What is the how of teaching?

  2. What are some of the methods or activities a teacher can use?

List on the board the activities and methods suggested by the teachers. Invite them to turn to the contents page in the handbook (p. iii) and list any additional methods identified under the section entitled “Gospel Teaching: Skills for Effective Teaching.” Ask:

  1. In deciding how to teach, how do you know which of these methods to use?

  2. How does considering what students will do or feel as they learn help in deciding which methods to use?

Have teachers read the content of the gray box under “Decide What to Teach and How to Teach It” (handbook, 19). Ask teachers:

  1. What should be considered when deciding how to teach a gospel principle?

  2. What do you think the relationship is between feeling and doing?

Suggested Training Activities: Search, Analyze, and Apply (35 minutes)

Handbook

Explain that when considering what students will do or feel as they learn, teachers should try to figure out how methods and activities can be used to lead students to application. Invite teachers to carefully read the section entitled “Ask questions that stimulate thinking and encourage student response” (handbook, 37). Have teachers identify three things that stimulating questions can lead students to do. After teachers have named all three things, write the following statement on the board: Questions can be asked that lead students to: (1) search for information, (2) analyze what they are studying, and (3) apply it in their own lives.

Suggest to teachers that other teaching methods can also lead students to search, analyze, and apply. Select one of the methods or activities previously listed on the board, and invite teachers to consider:

  1. How can this method be used to lead your students to search for information?

  2. How can this method be used to lead your students to analyze what they are studying?

  3. How can this method be used to lead your students to apply gospel principles or doctrines in their lives?

Repeat the above discussion with a few more methods or activities from the board.

Caution: A variety of methods and activities can be adapted to all three of the purposes of searching, analyzing, and applying. Teachers should avoid categorizing any method or activity as being used exclusively for any one of the three purposes.

Quotation

Read together the following statement.

Understanding Precedes Application

“Students cannot effectively apply scriptures they do not understand, and having students who merely understand the scriptures is not our goal. . . . Once a teacher learns how to teach for both understanding and application, he can move through the scriptures with his students and teach them effectively. . . .

“As a general rule, understanding must precede application. There may be exceptions to this rule, but most of the time students need to understand what they have read before they can effectively apply it” (The Growing Edge, Jan./Feb. 1983, 1).

Ask teachers:

  1. What is the relationship between understanding the scriptures and applying them?

  2. What happens when teachers ask students to make personal application without first teaching for understanding?

  3. What happens when the focus of learning remains at an understanding level?

Video

Show presentation 20, “Decide the How” (15:17). Ask teachers to look for:

  1. What Sister Butler intends to have her students do or feel as they learn.

  2. What Sister Butler does to invite her students to search for information, analyze what they are studying, and apply the principles and doctrines to their lives.

Following the video, ask teachers:

  1. What do you think Sister Butler intended to have her students do or feel as they learned?

  2. What methods or activities did Sister Butler use to help her students search for information?

  3. What methods or activities did Sister Butler use to help her students analyze what they were studying?

  4. What methods or activities did Sister Butler use to help her students apply the principles and doctrines to their lives?

  5. How did Sister Butler illustrate the need to help students search and analyze before applying?

Distribute handout 18 and point out the “How” column. Explain that this handout is a review of handout 16 (used in lesson 17), but that handout 18 goes on to tell how Sister Butler taught the principles and doctrines. Review with teachers the relationship between what Sister Butler decided to teach and how she decided to teach it.

Writing Exercise

Invite teachers to retrieve handout 17, which they used during lesson 17. Have them decide how they are going to teach the content they have listed under the “What” column on the handout. Have them then fill in the “How” column.

Suggested Training Activities: Fundamental Considerations (10 minutes)

Handbook

Have teachers review the five fundamental considerations listed on page 23 of the handbook. Then ask:

  1. What evidence was there that Sister Butler’s teaching was edifying?

  2. How did Sister Butler show that she focused on the conditions of learner readiness, participation, and application?

  3. What methods did Sister Butler use to teach the content in a way that edified?

  4. How did she demonstrate the use of a variety of methods and approaches?

  5. How did she avoid the common mistake of taking too much time on the first part of the lesson?