Last week I shared what I see as some typical bad habits of Sunday School teachers that lead to less-than-ideal lessons even though they have the best intentions.
As a fun experiment, I wanted to challenge myself to provide a list of tactics any Sunday School teacher could use, no matter their skill level, and increase engagement in their class.
So, here it goes…
Don’t plan a lesson, plan a list of questions
If you desire to facilitate a class discussion, sharing of spiritual witnesses, and an all-around unifying experience for your ward, a lesson plan isn’t going to do it.
Of course, in the weeks leading up to your lesson, you are going to read and re-read the Come Follow Me scripture block.
But instead of preparing a lesson to teach, prepare a list of questions you can ask as the Sunday School discussion facilitator.
Push yourself on this list of questions.
Don’t be satisfied with superficial questions.
What questions are going to get the class thinking and talking?
Invite a team to prepare
Most Sunday School teachers go it alone during the lesson preparation stage.
Instead, invite others to prepare along with you, that way you show up to class with a team of people ready to share their personal experiences with the scripture text.
This includes making sure the entire class knows the verses of scripture you are going to focus on during your lesson.
By also inviting four to six people in advance to think about some specific questions related to the Come Follow Me scripture block, you now have people ready to go to get your discussion moving.
Warmup the class
Have you ever taught a class and struggled to get people to make comments?
There is no such thing as resistance, only the lack of safety.
In other words, if people aren’t making comments they don’t feel safe or comfortable enough to make comments in that classroom setting.
To avoid this, the teacher must warmup the class.
There are a variety of ways to do this, but the simplest way is to ask a fun, lighthearted question at the very beginning of your class.
I call this priming the pump.
You can READ THIS ARTICLE for more details.
Get the class talking in groups
You will feel resistance from the class at first, but push through it.
Getting people to speak in groups does a few things.
It engages those who don’t typically participate in the class discussion.
It allows those who make a lot of comments to make the comments without dominating the entire focus of the class.
It also allows the teacher to cover more material because more people can comment at the same time.
Prep a 5-minute sermon
Instead of a 45-minute lesson, you should prepare a 5-minute sermon.
You will either share this at the beginning to set the tone and invite the Spirit to get to work, or most likely, as you bring the attention of the class back together at the end you will share your 5-minute sermon and testimony and end with a spiritual bang.
This is my most basic format for Sunday School that anyone could use.
What is yours?