If you have looked through our activities for children’s Bible lessons or the Bible lessons for teens, you may have noticed something called a “Guiding Question”. The guiding question really is to be shared with your students as you begin the lesson. You don’t expect them to be able to answer it, as it is the focus of what you will be teaching during your activity or class. In fact, you can present it as a rhetorical question or even a statement. (“Today we will be finding the answer to the question…”)
If you have never used a guided question before, you may wonder whether it gives away the lesson, leaving students bored. Actually, it is designed to help your students get even more from your lesson. The guided question helps students focus on the most important aspect of what will happen in your class that day. When they get distracted, being reminded of the question also reminds them of the main purpose of your class that day. If they leave your room entirely confused, they can at least tell their parents the question and they can help your student understand the topic a little better.
It is easy for any of us to get distracted during the course of an hour. Before a student realizes what has happened, he may have gone from wondering what made Jonathan and David such great friends to trying to figure out how the arrow went past the target and the boy fetching the arrow didn’t suspect anything. Suddenly hearing you ask the class “Remember our guiding question? Why do you think David and Jonathan were such great friends?”, pulls the students back to focusing on godly principles about friendship. If there were no guiding question, this student may leave the room asking his parents for a bow and arrow instead of asking them if they think he has made good choices in friends.
Guided questions aren’t just for classes for children. They also are helpful in classes for adults and teens. Classes for these older groups often include a lot of discussion. It can be easy for even the teacher to get totally off track from the intended purpose of the class. Sometimes that is great, because the new issue was weighing heavily on the hearts of students who want godly guidance. If it happens frequently, the topics someone believed were crucial for your class to learn have been entirely discarded.
For any age group, you may want to consider writing the guiding question on a white board or having it up on your Power Point screen as students enter the room. It gives them some extra time to think about the topic and any questions they may have before class begins.
The guiding question can be a great tool for your class. Focusing teachers and students on the most important goal of the day can help keep your class on track. Sometimes that little extra bit of focus can help your students learn a new godly principle that will be so important to practice in their lives. Give the guiding question a try the next time you teach. You may find it was just the extra tool you needed.