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How can I become a better teacher?

Effective teaching is an important part of building the Lord’s kingdom, and we all have many opportunities to teach. Even though we may not have a formal calling to teach, we have teaching opportunities in our families and as neighbors and friends. We can become better teachers by honestly evaluating our own strengths and weaknesses, humbly seeking the Lord’s help, and diligently seeking to develop the abilities and qualities that matter most in gospel teaching.

Prepare yourself spiritually

Prayerfully study these scriptures and resources. What will help the youth understand how they can become better teachers?

Ether 12:27 (The Lord will help us make weak things become strong)

D&C 42:14 (We must have the Spirit to teach)

D&C 88:78 (Teach diligently)

Dallin H. Oaks, “Gospel Teaching,” Ensign, Nov. 1999, 78–80

David M. McConkie, “Teaching with the Power and Authority of God,Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2013

Making a Plan to Improve Your Teaching,” Teaching, No Greater Call (1999), 24–27

Teaching the Gospel,” True to the Faith (2004), 168–70.

Teaching in the Savior’s Way,” Teaching the Gospel in the Savior’s Way (2012), 4–5

Make connections

During the first few minutes of every class, help the youth make connections between what they are learning in various settings (such as personal study, seminary, other Church classes, or experiences with their friends). How can you help them see the relevance of the gospel in daily living? The ideas below might help:

  • Ask the youth to briefly recount a favorite family home evening, seminary, or church lesson.
  • Invite the youth to think about a favorite teacher who has inspired them to live the gospel. What was it that made this teacher effective? What qualities did he or she have that the youth would like to emulate? Ask the youth to read the section titled “Qualities That Matter Most” on page 26 of Teaching, No Greater Call, and look for additional qualities of effective teachers. How do effective gospel teachers help build God’s kingdom?

Learn together

Each of the activities below can help the youth learn how they can become better teachers. Following the guidance of the Spirit, select one or more that will work for your class:

  • Divide the class into three groups, and ask each group to read one of the following scriptures: Ether 12:27; D&C 42:14; D&C 88:78. Ask them to ponder and discuss what these scriptures teach about becoming better teachers. Encourage them to look up the scriptures in the footnotes for these verses to gain additional insights about becoming better teachers, and ask them to share what they find. Invite the youth to read the section titled “Teaching the Gospel” in True to the Faith (168–70) and make a list of ways they can be more diligent as teachers.
  • Invite the youth to find and list on the board the six fundamental principles of teaching in section III of Elder Dallin H. Oaks’s talk “Gospel Teaching.” Ask them to evaluate how well they are applying these principles in their teaching. Invite them to choose one of these principles that they want to learn more about or improve in their own teaching. Ask them to study that principle in Elder Oaks’s talk and share what they learned and what they plan to do to apply this principle the next time they teach others.
  • Divide the class into two groups. Invite one group to read “Assessing Your Own Strengths and Weaknesses,” on pages 24–25 of Teaching, No Greater Call and the other group to read “Making a Plan for Improvement” on pages 25–26. Ask them to discuss what they learned in their groups and share with the other group the main points of their discussion. Ask the youth to think about a recent experience they had teaching (for example, in family home evening, a Church class, or as a home teacher). Invite each youth to fill out a chart like the one on page 25 to make a plan to improve as a gospel teacher.
  • Write on the board, “What can I do to become a better teacher?” Invite the youth to read David M. McConkie’s talk “Teaching with the Power and Authority of God” or “Teaching in the Savior’s Way” from Teaching the Gospel in the Savior’s Way (4–5) looking for answers to this question. Invite them to share what they find and specific ways they will apply what they learned to their own teaching.
  • Invite the youth to read “Methods of Teaching” in True to the Faith and list on the board the teaching methods they find there. When have the youth seen these methods used? Ask each youth to choose one of the articles of faith and spend a few minutes in class preparing to teach it to a group of children, using one of the methods on the board. Ask the youth to share what they prepared.

Ask the youth to share what they learned today. Do they understand how they can become better teachers? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be worthwhile to spend more time on this topic?

Invite to act

Invite the youth to share any impressions they have had during class. What will they do to improve as teachers? Encourage them to share their experiences in future classes.