Generating Excitement about Learning in Sunday School, Part 4

Wednesday 19th March, 2008

I said in Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, if attenders are asleep, not interested, or the lesson does not "feel" like it applies to them, they will learn less. If they are bored, their attention is not in the room, they are not involved in the class, or the same teaching method is used week after week, they will learn less. I mentioned Marlene Lefever's article entitled 38 Ways to Wake Up Your Class, Previously, I have shared the first twenty-nine of her suggested ways to wake up your class. Now, consider which of the final nine of her suggestions (in all capitals followed by my commentary) you could use with your class this week:

  • TRY PAIR DISCUSSION INSTEAD OF GROUP DISCUSSION TO GET EVERYONE INVOLVED. In pairs, everyone in the class will be involved. Most people who are shy in groups feel comfortable participating in pairs, even with someone they do not know. I like Lefever's suggestion, "Increase discussion benefits by having two pairs join to share what they have found." Personal discussion can lead to great opportunities for affinity discovery and for learning.
  • IN TRIAD DISCUSSIONS, ROTATE WHO TALKS AND FOCUS ON SHARING WHAT WAS HEARD. I have heard Lefever's suggestion as a listening exercise. Here is what she said, "Label themselves A, B, and C. When a topic is assigned, A and B discuss and C listens. Then B and C talk and A listens. Finally A and C talk and B listens. Then people share what they heard, not what they said." Sharing what they heard heightens attention and learning.
  • USE DRAMATIC READINGS OR READER'S THEATER IN CLASS. This is like doing a drama except that no one has to memorize their lines. They simply read their parts--ideally with a dramatic emphasis appropriate to the part. This can bring great questions and situations into the classroom with no preparation and lots of involvement.
  • USE VERY SHORT VIDEO CLIPS TO ILLUSTRATE A TRUTH OF A LESSON OR TO GET STUDENTS INVOLVED IN THE TOPIC. The hardest part may be choosing a clip that communicates clearly what you want to illustrate. Short is important. I have used sports movies, biblical movies, and others. Tie into an interest of a group, capture their interest, and build on the truth in such a way attenders will learn and remember.
  • TRY COOPERATIVE LEARNING EXPERIMENTS. Get small groups working on projects together in class or between classes. Set goals, check on progress, set up a time for a report, provide resources and encouragement, etc. Watch how the groups interact and learning increases.
  • USE SMALL PAPER CLIPS OR PIPE CLEANERS TO MAKE SCULPTURES THAT ILLUSTRATE SOMETHING ABOUT THE LESSON. This addresses the kinesthetic learner and gives the artist an outlet, and yet it is not too difficult for the nonartist since the work is abstract. Give them an opportunity to explain what their creations mean.
  • BRING IN ITEMS FOR SHOW-AND-TELL. This sounds like a children's activity, but it is not. Call it object lessons, if show-and-tell sounds too childish. Get learners to bring in something that illustrates a truth and explain it. The time spent to think about and plan this will result in real learning and memory of the Bible passage and truth.
  • EXCHANGE FLOURESCENT BULBS FOR [INCANDESCENT] BULBS. This may sound strange, but flourescent lighting ca n cause distractions and/or headaches in some learners. Plus, incandescent has a warmer feel. Make the room, equipment, and furnishings comfortable and help there to be nothing in the learning environment which creates health hazards or distractions.
  • PRAY FOR EVERY STUDENT BY NAME EVERY WEEK. This is essential. This can impact preparation and presentation of lessons. Pray for God to speak through you as you lead learners to encounter God in Bible study. Ask God to help you to be aware of illustrations He wants you to use from your week prior to the lesson.
Which one of these can you use in your lesson this week to generate even more interest? Don't forget to review Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Make the Bible study session exciting! Get learners involved. Shake them out of their boredom! Capture their attention. Teach them to listen and apply. Be revolutionary.

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