In order to teach a Sunday School class effectively, adequate preparation is imperative! First of all, the teacher needs to be familiar with the make-up of the class. Factors such as age, educational background, and special needs must be considered for optimal results. For instance, vocabulary usage would be different for a children’s class as opposed to an adult class. Educational status would affect the reading ability of class members. Special needs might require accommodations for those who don’t hear well or see well.
Secondly, preparation is essential to set the tone for the class. The teacher needs to make class expectations clear. Everybody should understand that reading/studying the lesson prior to class enhances the ability to understand the subject matter. Doing additional research on the subject allows the teacher to anticipate questions that class members might have. He/she should make sure that any unfamiliar vocabulary/terms are clarified so that the members get a better understanding of the subject matter. If the teacher is prepared, then more than likely the class will see the need to come prepared as well.
In the third place, preparation allows the teacher time to gather materials that might enable the class to understand better the subject of the lesson. Visual aids such as diagrams, pictures from various artists that are relevant, poems that illustrate certain points of the lesson – all can hold members’ interest.
In addition, the teacher should be aware of different learning styles. Some people are visual learners, while others may be auditory learners. The effective teacher should strive to keep everyone focused/engaged- not just a few.
Finally, delivery of the lesson is of utmost importance. The well-prepared teacher should be able to ask probing questions – not just factual ones. That leads to higher level thinking – taking facts and being able to apply the material so that the lesson is relevant in today’s world. In essence, what does this lesson offer us today? Why is it important? Furthermore, the well-prepared teacher can keep the class involved by making good eye contact, engaging the members in a lively discussion, and putting everyone at ease if he/she needs to ask questions. As a result, the class will be focused and receptive!
by Carol Moss / Sunday School and Small Groups / Baptist State Convention of North Carolina
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