Teach One Reach One was designed to help volunteer teachers in Christian programs working with kids and teens. After decades of working with these men and women, I realize they are often people who love children, but may have little formal training in education. We want to help these wonderful, loving Christians by equipping you with some of the basics covered in education training programs. This extra knowledge will help you and your students have a more positive, productive experience in your class.
One of the first things an education major learns is Bloom’s Taxonomy. Or you may have heard a teacher throw around the term “scaffolding”. Both communicate the idea there are different levels of learning and understanding. Over time you want to plan activities which will move your students understanding of the Bible and godly principles from the lower levels to the higher ones.
So what are the levels in Bloom’s Taxonomy? What does each mean and how can you move your students from one level to the next? It will take several posts to cover everything, but here are the basics of Bloom’s Taxonomy:
- Remembering – The student is encouraged to remember the basic facts of what has been taught. Unfortunately, most Bible classes for children and even teens can get stuck on this level and never move past it. This means students can quote facts from the Bible, but have no idea what they mean or how to apply them in their own lives.
- Understanding – In understanding, the student is encouraged to put the facts learned into their own words. Christianity has some difficult concepts and words. Just because your student can remember someone was called righteous, does not mean he understands what righteousness is.
- Applying – Some Bible classes for children will include a bit of application. This should actually be a major part of every Bible lesson. Can your student tell you how to take the information in the Bible lesson and put it into practice in her daily life? Honestly, if your students can’t tell you practical ways to use what you have taught them, the lesson you have taught has been rendered practically useless.
- Analyzing – Can your students compare the actions of the Apostle Paul to the Fruit of the Spirit? How did Peter and the other Apostles use the Armor of God in their ministry in Acts? Can your students look at their own lives and analyze their behaviors and choices in light of God’s commands and principles? This is a skill rarely taught to young people, but so vital for living the Christian life.
- Evaluating – Can your students defend why they believe what they believe about God and the Bible? We hear discussions of teens making their parent’s faith their own, but we rarely show them how. I love the words generally associated with this level of the taxonomy: appraise, argue, defend, judge, select, support, value, evaluate. Teaching your students to evaluate God’s teachings, select to support and value them and helping them learn how to defend their faith are all essential tools you can give them. It can also help them avoid false teachings by helping them learn how to take something someone claims is from God and teaching them how to evaluate it in light of the Bible.
- Creating – This is my favorite level and one seldom reached in Bible classes with kids and teens. We aren’t talking about coloring pages or foam cut-outs. What we are talking about is life-changing, world-changing creativity. Can your students take God’s Words and create a life which is a life of ministry – creating ways to serve others and share their faith? If you can get your students to this level of learning, you have given them the tools they will need to be active, productive Christians in God’s Kingdom.
If you feel excited your students leave the room barely remembering the name of the person in your lesson, this can seem overwhelming. Over the next few posts, I will give you some tips and tools to help move your students along this taxonomy. You really can help your students master these life changing levels.