Archive | Mentoring

Mindfulness in Bible Classes for Kids and Teens

Mindfulness in Bible Classes for Kids and Teens - Teach One Reach OneIf you keep up with trends in society or education, you may have heard about “mindfulness”. For those of you who were kids during the 70’s, you may have associated it with meditation or yoga and many proponents do suggest them as a way to practice mindfulness. As a Bible class teacher though, you may wonder whether disciplines often associated with religions like Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism have a place in Bible classes for kids and teens.

Thankfully, modern researchers have included Christian disciplines in some of their research. Studies show prayer, reflecting on scripture and fasting (which usually incorporates highly focused prayer and scripture reflection), produce the same benefits as meditation and yoga. (Meditation is actually also a Christian discipline. See Psalm 1:2, Philippians 4:8 and others for more details.)

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The One Quality Sunday School Teachers Must Have To Be Effective

The One Quality Sunday School Teachers Must Have To Be Effective - Teach One Reach OneI guess the first question we must ask is, “What defines effective Sunday School teaching?” If we asked 100 different people, we would probably get 100 slightly different answers. I would imagine for most of us though, we would consider ourselves effective if we made a positive difference in the spiritual foundation building of our students.

We sometime allow ourselves to forget the purposes of Sunday School (or any Bible class for that matter). Initially, Sunday School was created (educated guess, I grant you) to assist parents in teaching their children about God and what He wanted for them and from them. It was an opportunity to reinforce what the parents were already teaching at home. If done really well, it also provided additional practice in Christian Life Skills, teaching areas of the Bible not yet taught at home and more.

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Do You Actually Like the Kids or Teens in Your Bible Class?

Do You Actually Like the Kids or Teens in Your Bible Class - Teach One Reach OneJohn Maxwell – a leadership expert – wrote “How can you lead people when you don’t like or respect them?”  (Winning With People p. 21) As you know, Teach One Reach One strongly believes every volunteer who works with children or teens is a leader. So my question for you is “Do you actually like the kids or teens you teach?”

Your students don’t all wear the same shoes.  They were created by God to be individuals. Their environments and experiences also make them different. Even identical twins are not exactly alike. Some of those differences will naturally create an emotional distance between you and some of your students.

If you have a student who misbehaves or is disrespectful or even reminds you of someone (possibly yourself) you don’t like, you may bristle every time you see him or her.

Yet to really effectively point your students to God, you absolutely must find a way to like each one of them. For some, that will be easy. For others, you may always struggle with liking them. Yet, try you absolutely must. As John Maxwell might say – they can tell if you don’t like them and they won’t want to hear what you have to say – even if you are quoting God.

If you find yourself struggling to like a student, you might want to try some of these tips to help.

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Teen Bible Classes and Socrates

Teen Bible Classes and Socrates - Teach One Reach One

Socrates Jail Cell in Athens, Greece

When I ask teens what happened in their Bible class, I often hear about how the teacher was using the “Socratic Method” to teach the class. When I probe a little more, what I find is that the teacher asked a big important faith question and then let the teens shoot out lots of answers – some biblical, many not so much or not at all. Then the teacher ends class without commenting on the validity or lack thereof in the various answers. This leaves every teen believing their answer was indeed correct.

It’s vitally important to understand this is not the Socratic Method. At all. Even if it were, this is not the way to guide teens to learning godly truths from scripture. The Socratic Method was never meant for a teacher to ask a huge, important question, let their students spout all sorts of answers, then walk away without guiding them to the correct answer. If someone has encouraged you to teach that way or if someone is teaching your child that way – please stop or say something.

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The Power of “Why” In Bible Classes For Kids and Teens

The Power of "Why?" in Bible Classes for Kids and Teens - Teach One Reach OneTeach One Reach One spends a lot of time training Bible class teachers to ask students questions on a variety of levels. These varying questions will help young people process the Bible and form faith foundations in increasingly more complex ways. If you haven’t seem them before, you might want to read our free handouts on Bloom’s Taxonomy for Bible Classes and Asking Better Questions In Bible Classes.

Perhaps one of the most important questions you can ask your students is “Why?”. It is a crucial question for assessing whether your students are not just learning the facts, but understanding why they are important. It can help you discover whether or not your students understand why God wants them to do something. It can even reveal a bit of their hearts and minds, if you ask it in non-threatening ways.

Want to conduct a little teacher experiment? I will warn you, this is only for the brave and may very well break your heart. Ask your students the following why questions. Their responses will give you a hint as to how much of a faith foundation their parents, their church and Bible class teachers like you have helped them build so far.

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