Do’s and Don’ts for Teaching Adults in Sunday School

Wednesday 24th October, 2007

Sharon Ellard has written a great article entitled A Teacher's List of Do's and Don'ts. While the article is focused on those who teach children, there are several that can apply to adult Sunday School. When the word, adult(s), appears in brackets, it is replacing child(ren). Other words in brackets have been added to Ellard's list. Consider the following Do's:

  • Do ask the Holy Spirit to help you be a good Christian role model for the [adults].
  • Do look happy to be at church with the [adults].
  • Do [ask to] enroll the [adult] in the class the first Sunday he attends.
  • Do check the room regularly to see if it is safe. Notify your [Sunday School director] or the church custodian if there is a hazard or something needs repairing in the room.
  • Do use encouraging words.
  • Do say "I'm sorry," if you need to be forgiven by [an adult].
  • Do pray aloud for the [adults] during [class] time, using their names occasionally.
  • Do make church a happy place to be; comfortable and peaceful.
  • Do vary the use of large group, small group and individual activities.
  • Do use a soft voice when you want the [adults] to listen.
  • Do ask the Lord to help you love (and like) each [adult] and not show favoritism to any [adult].
  • Do ask the Lord to help you lay the foundations of love for the Lord that will lead to salvation in each [adult's] life.
  • Do follow up between Sundays.
  • Do make sure your students see you worshipping in the church services.
  • Do leave the room clean and orderly for the next service.

While this list is not comprehensive, they are good reminders in several important areas. What other Do's would you add to this list for teaching adults? In addition to the Do's, Ellard offer the following Don'ts--only here they are retasked for adults:

  • Don't yell at the [adults].
  • Don't read from your teacher's quarterly (hold a Bible instead. If you need to, insert a small page of notes in your Bible).
  • Don't make [adults] sit and listen for long periods. [They] may be able to sit 10-15 min. maximum, in a teacher-directed activity before being bored.
  • Don't expect all [adults] to find the activity you've prepared to be meaningful.
  • Don't point out the [adult's] mistakes.
  • Don't be rude to [an adult] who is talking to you.

Consider asking your class members to make a list of do's and don'ts for the teacher. Or if you are a Sunday School director, ask your teachers to do the same. It can lead to great conversation about an effective teaching environment and experience! Be revolutionary!

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