Every week, in Sabbath school classes across the world, someone will be talking. It’s estimated that the normal pace for English speaking averages between 120 to 160 words per minute. That translates to 5400 – 7200 words for the typical 45 minute Sabbath school class.
How many of those words are being spoken by you, the teacher? If your answer is that you are speaking the majority of those 5400 – 7200 words, you are more than likely missing the mark as an effective Sabbath school teacher.
Sabbath school teachers have to consciously fight the tendency to lecture and preach to the members of their classes. One of the two biggest complaints about Sabbath school teachers is that they do all or most of the talking and don’t involve the class members.
Although the information shared may be true and useful, we have to be wise in our manner of presentation. The evidence shows, without question, that members learn more and enjoy the process of learning even more when there is an opportunity for meaningful interaction and dialogue.
Guiding a class that is consistently known for a great discussion takes a lot of preparation and forethought. Preparing your materials and talking points and devising stimulating questions is a process that demands time from the teacher. To simply lecture a class or read the lesson out loud not only short changes the members of the class but also stunts your growth as a teacher.
To give members “something to talk about” means that you have guided your class in a manner where they are actively participating and the learning is mutual and shared. Here are a few dos and don’ts to aid you in having great discussions:
• Do prepare thought-provoking questions for each part of your theme
• Do anticipate the answers you’ll receive and have follow-up questions ready
• Do make your questions appropriate for visitors as well as long-time members
• Don’t answer your own questions. Let the class answer the questions.
• Don’t limit the answer to the 1st response. Build on it and re-launch it
• Don’t ignore raised hands in an effort to get to your points of interest
Following these simple guidelines can enhance any class for any teacher. When they come to your session this week, make sure that you give them “something to talk about.”