The Church Workers Handbook is filled with practical information that you may not have learned in Bible college or seminary. If you haven't already learned this information in the school of hard knocks, you need this series of blogs. This will be information for anyone who serves in any capacity in a church (from senior pastor up to janitor).
Edwin Lint, BS, ThB, MA
Much of the Drawbridge content is political in general and anti-Obama in particular.
I am still convinced that Obama is America's worst president, bar none. However, I have decided to give Obama a rest on the Sundays of 2012 and concentrate on spiritual and/or educational content, only.
Today, I am continuing a series of blogs based on my book Church Workers Handbook.
Last Sunday, I presented Part 2 of Chapter 1. Speaking and Praying in Public.
This book is available at the DiskBooks Electronic Publishing Free Downloads in pdf format.
If you wish to download the entire pdf file of 205 pages, click this link: Church Workers Handbook
The individual chapters are shown in the Table of Contents: [html format]
For an expanded version of this document, click this link
Guidelines For Christian Educators and Teachers Who Have No Formal Training in Teaching Techniques
You Can Be a Teacher, Too is written for persons who have educational responsibilities on the job or in the community, but who have no college work in education.
You have known people who have done an excellent job teaching you things, but who have had no college degrees, no certificates, and no status as a professional educator. You have known other people with college degrees and teacher certification, but no real ability to teach anything to anyone.
What makes the difference?
These guidelines will explain what can make that difference and show how you can be an effective Christian educator or teacher, even without professional training and certification as a teacher.
First, let me introduce myself, and explain my personal qualifications. This is not to brag. However, you have a right to know that I'm not just writing off the top of my head. Although this book is designed to show how you can be an effective teacher even though you've never been to college a day in your life, I do have a college education and state teaching certificates.
I have a master's degree in education and six education certificates from two states. I have over 36 years experience as a professional educator and have worked as a teacher, supervisor, principal, assistant superintendent, and education advisor for a state department of education. Right now, I'm an educational consultant specializing in the areas of curriculum development and microcomputer utilization.
The following education certificates hang on my office wall, to my left, as I write this:
Now, let let's find out about you. I'd like you to think about your own abilities by completing the self-evaluation checklist shown below.
Check each item which describes you.
The Four Basic Skills Of Effective Teaching
You need these skills regardless of the age or circumstances of the students involved. Sunday school ... Junior church ... Vacation Bible school ... Day care ... kindergarten ... elementary school ... middle school ... high school ... college ... graduate school ... pre-service and in-service training -- there are no exceptions to these rules.
If you fail to master these four concepts, you'll never be an effective teacher, regardless of the number of college degrees you earn or professional certificates you acquire.
Here they are, listed in order of importance:
1. Compassion: This is your ability to treat other persons as you like to be treated, as Jesus stated in the Golden Rule.
2. Communication: This is your ability to transport ideas, concepts, and facts from your brain to someone else's brain.
3. Content: This is the accumulation of information which you are responsible for conveying to your students. If it's not in your brain, you need to know how to teach your students to find it.
4. Control: This is your ability to structure the learning environment so all students have a chance to learn. If you've mastered skills one through three, number four pretty much takes care of itself.
You may have developed or learned these skills in the school of hard knocks. Or, you may have acquired these skills in a formal teacher training program in college. Regardless of how it happened, if you have these skills, you are an effective teacher. If you do not demonstrate these skills in the way you deal with your students, you are not an effective teacher. I know that's blunt. But that's it.
If you're reading this book on the fly, stop and jot down these four words:
Make a bookmark. Later, when you have more time, you can come back and read the fine print. Return to the Table of Contents For an expanded version of this document, click this link
Good teachers like people. In other words, good teachers are people people. They like people in general and students in particular. This doesn't mean good teachers never get annoyed at what students do. However, this momentary annoyance is never translated into psychological or physical abuse. Teachers who don't like students should find other areas of service.
Perhaps you are still in high school and are considering a career as a professional educator. I want to talk with you specifically for the next paragraph or so. The rest of you can tune in also, if you want.
By now, you surely know if you like people well enough to teach them. If you're serious about a career in education, your budding resume should show some evidence of this career preference. If it doesn't, it's not too late to start volunteering right now. Your church and Sunday school, the scouts, or even your school district may be looking for help in working with kids. Don't wait until you take student teaching in your senior year of college to discover that you really don't like kids well enough to teach them. By then, it may be too late to make a career change without a significant loss of time and money.
The effective teacher must:
The ability to share ideas with others is critical to the teaching process. A gifted musician or athlete may have the ability to perform but not the ability to teach someone else to perform. At the same time, another musician or athlete can be an average performer while teaching the gifted performer how to do a better job.
Every once in a while, you'll find an expert in a content area who is also an expert communicator. That person is more precious than rubies in the educational environment.
Effective teaching is hard work. The teaching process is mentally and physically exhausting, when you're doing a good job. Right now, I'm talking about the communication process, especially. The business of getting information from your brain to the brains of your students is hard work. When folks talk about how good teachers have it, working five hours a day, for ten months a year -- forget it.
The teacher who is an effective communicator is equal parts of showman, clown, actor, mime, and orator. And a five-hour day? Forget that, too! No full-time teacher worth his/her salt works a mere five hours a day.
Here is a frequently-quoted fallacy:
"Those who can -- do. Those who can't, -- teach."
Here is the truth of the matter: "Some who can do, can also teach. Some who can do a little, can teach a lot. Some who can do a lot, can't teach at all."
To be an effective communicator, you must master the following processes and concepts:
Here's an activity you can use to test your ability to communicate with the learner by relating to things which are known.
Draw a simple diagram, made up of a triangle, a rectangle, a circle, and a straight line. Make sure all elements of your drawing are adjacent to each other or connected in some way. Label the elements A, B, C, and so forth. Click for a Sample.
Now seat three people at a table and stand in from of them. Keep your picture of the diagram out of sight. Tell them how to reproduce your diagram on their paper, using simple instructions. Don't respond to any questions except "Will you repeat that, please?" Don't look at their papers while they're still drawing.
When you say "Draw a box," the unanswered questions may be: "How big is the box?" How should I hold my paper?" "Do you want an outline or a 3-D picture of a box?
Next you might say "Draw an outline of a shoe box." Now the unanswered questions will be fewer because your students already know the shape of a shoe box.
You will be on your way to being an effective communicator when you can get a small group of adults to reproduce your diagram in the proper size and configuration on their paper. Now try it with children.
A working knowledge of the Plan of Salvation is the foundation on which all Christian education lesson content must be built. The primary purpose of the Bible is to share this Plan of Salvation with us. If we, in turn, are to share it with our students, we must understand it ourselves. By the way, the Plan of Salvation is not learned by memorizing a packaged witnessing program such as the Four Spiritual Laws, the Roman Road, or the Kennedy "Evangelism Explosion" plan. The Plan of Salvation is the Biblical concept on which these witnessing programs are built. It must be the concept on which your teaching is based as well.
Here is a simple outline of the Plan of Salvation with sample scripture references. If you don't understand it, study it. When you do understand it, memorize it. When you've memorized it, build your teaching around it.
The Plan Of Salvation
In mastering general content, you must:
1. Know what your students need to know when your instruction is over. Many educators refer to this process as "Outcome-Based Education" . Unfortunately, outcome-based education has a bad reputation in some church circles because if has been unfairly paired with liberal philosophies of education, religion, and politics. See the OBE Chapter of Church Worker Handbook for more on this topic. For now, you need to know that good teaching always is aimed at the outcome, not the method.
The terms Outcome and Objective both relate to the concept of knowing the target of your teaching, and can be used more or less interchangeably.
2. Know the difference between Learning Objectives, Methods, and Materials.
The "Learning Objective" is the specific skill you are teaching. A Method is a game or activity which you use to help your students achieve the Learning Objective. "Materials" are the tangible things you use to carry out the Methods as you move the students toward the Learning Objective.
This difference between Objectives and Methods/Materials is a fairly simple concept, but many teachers fail to understand the distinction. Teachers often decide on what to teach based on the contents of their closet, or the items listed in the school supply catalog -- rather than the educational needs of their students.
3. Be able to break a task into sequential learning objectives The "sequence" is the order you will teach the tasks.
Here's a simple process for writing and sequencing objectives. Example: You want your students to be able to cook an egg.
4. Identify appropriate methods and materials for teaching specific learning objectives. Here lies a major pitfall for the untrained (as well as trained) teacher. Do you use a method or material because it is familiar, readily available, and popular with the students? Or do you seek out methods and materials which are ideally suited for teaching a particular objective?
In outcome-based education, each method and material is specifically selected as being best suited for helping the students achieve a particular objective.
5. Adjust methods and materials to meet the learning styles of the students.
A method or material which worked with last year's group may not be suitable for this class. The seminar leader may have had a great idea but it just won't work for you. Tailor your methods by adapting, adjusting, and augmenting what others have found successful.
If a student has a specific ability or disability, select methods and materials which tend to maximize abilities and minimize disabilities.
6. Test what the students have learned. Testing can be as simple as asking a few verbal questions after telling a story: "How did the man who couldn't walk get to see Jesus? Why did his friends make a hole in the roof? What did Jesus think when a sick man came down out of the ceiling on a rope?" Or, testing for older students can be in the form of a written quiz or performance monitoring.
In the example of choking the egg above, one form of evaluation would be to eat the egg: does it look, smell, and taste good?
The true purpose of testing is not to give grades but to discover what has been learned. Of course, no test can ever truly measure intelligence or knowledge. A test measures performance and from that performance, we draw inferences on what has been learned.
The much talked-about IQ (intelligence quotient) test shows how a given student or group of students performs mentally in comparison to most students of the same age.
For example, Johnny is 10 years old. We say his chronological age (CA) is 10. However, when tested, he is able to do the mental work of the average 8-year-old. We say his mental age (MA) is 8.
We then arrange this basic information into a division problem. In the answer (quotient), we drop the decimal and call the number a percent.
MA / CA = IQ
(In these examples, the slash mark (/) means divided by.)
8 / 10 = 80
Johnny can do 80% of the mental work of an average 10-year-old, so we say his Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is 80.
Let's try another example. Jenny is also 10. However, when she is tested, she can do the mental work of a student who is 12. Again, this information is put into a simple division problem:
MA / CA = IQ
12 / 10 = 120
Of course many students will do the mental work of students their own age. Then the IQ equation looks like this:
MA / CA = IQ
10 / 10 = 100
7. Talk to the students, don't teach at them. Good teachers don't sound like "teachers". They sound like a normal person talking to a group of normal persons. Tape your lessons and listen to yourself teach. Watch your volume and pitch. If you always use high volume and pitch, you have nowhere to go when you want to add emphasis.
8. Tell it, don't read it.
When presenting a story to young students: (a) read the story during your preparation time and absorb the gist of what it says; (b) if you can't remember the details of the story, write some cues on 3x5 cards; if you have pictures to hold up, tape your cue cards to the back of the pictures; (c) when presenting the story, look the students straight in the eyes and "tell" them the story; (d) if the story is from a book with pictures, hold the book facing the group and turn the pages as you TELL the story. This technique makes your presentation more effective and helps you keep better control of the group.
For students who are "too old" for stories, limit your in-class reading to scripture and passages of lasting literary value. Always read scripture from a Bible and not the quarterly. The students must see God's authority for what you teach as the Bible and not something from a publishing house. Don't read anything else from the quarterly, either. The material in the teacher's edition should be read during your preparation time and then woven into your classroom presentation.
9. For preschool and primary-age students, do all writing in upper/lower case manuscript (printing) style. This kind of writing provides more visual cues than solid capitals. All students, even adults, can profit from the visual cues of upper/lower case writing. This applies when the copy is type-set, as well as hand-written.
When you type in solid caps, the copy is harder to read than when you use normal upper/lower case. The human eye and brain use graphic cues to help decode printed characters into words and ideas. Look at the word girl, for example. The G goes below the line, and the L goes above it. On the other hand, GIRL is a solid block with fewer visual cues than girl.
Anyone who can read, can read solid caps. Solid caps just cause subliminal irritation, something you want to avoid.
10 Know the difference between concepts and facts.
Fact: Jesus had 12 disciples.
Concept: Jesus trained His disciples to carry on His work after He was gone.
11. Prepare a lesson plan. The plan should be in outline format so it can be used for quick reference during the lesson. During your preparation time, learn the lesson so well that while you are teaching, a quick glance at your lesson plan can trigger the next sequence of events. It doesn't have to be a script which is read word for word. In fact, you already know you should seldom read anything to students unless it has lasting literary value.
All good teachers rehearse their lessons. Beginners may need to do this with an audience (from within the family or friends). As you get more experienced, you may do your rehearsing mentally. When I know I am going to speak before a group, I always do a mental rehearsal. Some of this activity involves actual mental word-for-word dialogue between me and the group.
Scripture Memorization. When teaching memory verses, make sure the students understand the concept and context of the verse. Here are the four elements of scripture memorization, listed in order of importance. The example is: "Jesus wept." John 11:35.
1. Concept: "Jesus had human emotions and feelings, just like we do. When He was sad, He cried." The concept has primary importance because here is where the kernel of truth lies. If a student forgets the text, forgets, the reference, forgets the context, but remembers the concept -- he/she has indeed hidden God's word in the heart.
2. Context: "A very good friend named Lazarus had died and the man's sisters were very sad. Their sorrow made Jesus sad, too." The context gives the setting for the verse: What is happening? Where is this happening? Why is this happening? Who is speaking? To whom is this person speaking? A knowledge of the context helps students remember the concept of the verse. In addition, this knowledge helps the student guard against false teachings which are based on scripture quoted out of context.
3. Reference: "John 11:35" . The ability to find a scripture verse in the Bible gives the student opportunity for further study of the concept and context.
4. Text: "Jesus wept." As a general rule, the King James Version should be used for memorization. The language of the KJV has a literary quality not found in the modern-language translations. However, the students should understand that the Elizabethan pronouns (thee, thy, thine, thou) were not reserved for deity in 1611 when the KJV was translated. Therefore, they have no divine significance now. Return to the Table of Contents For an expanded version of this document, click this link
In any society, control is necessary or chaos results. This applies to teachers and students, also.
There is a philosophical difference between discipline and punishment. The purpose of discipline is to improve future behavior. The purpose of punishment is to provide a negative reward for past behavior. Try to think in terms of discipline and not punishment.
To have control in your classroom, you must:
1. Establish rules and limits. Your students may act like they don't want limits but many humans thrive in a controlled environment. Make sure everyone knows and understands your rules.
2. Enforce established rules and limits. Don't make empty threats. You may say, "The next time you talk without raising your hand, you will sit in the time-out chair 2 minutes." But if you say it, make sure you do it. Count on one thing: you will be tested by your students.
3. Understand and be able to use the basic principles of such behavioral techniques as contingency contracting, positive reinforcement, behavior shaping, and delayed reinforcement.
Contingency contracting: A contingency contract is based on an if/then statement and God is the original contingency contractor. In the Old Testament He said, "IF you obey my laws [Ten Commandments], THEN all land you walk on will be yours and every battle you fight you will win." In the New Testament He says, "IF you will accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, THEN you may have eternal life."
For younger students, contracts are always verbal. For older students, they may be written. Here are some sample classroom contingency contracts:
IF you will be quiet during the story, THEN you may have a snack.
IF you don't touch the microphone, THEN you may stand in the front row of the cherub choir.
IF you memorize 10 of the 13 memory verses for this quarter, THEN I will give you a new Bible. Return to the Table of Contents
Positive reinforcement: Many students (of all ages) exhibit poor behavior because they want your attention and/or the attention of the rest of the group. The trick is to reward positive behavior while ignoring negative behavior. (Negative behavior which involves danger to self or others should not be ignored. Use a more structured technique such as time out.)
Instead of giving a handful of Fruit Loops to everyone as a snack, try using them as positive reinforcers. When you see Tom, Dick, and Harry misbehaving, do this: "Mary is in her seat and ready for the story. Mary gets a Fruit Loop. Joe is in his seat and he gets a Fruit Loop. Billy is quiet. He gets a Fruit Loop, too." Say absolutely nothing to or about Tom, Dick, or Harry. If their negative behavior is based on a need for attention, this technique will get to them over a period of time. Return to the Table of Contents
Behavior shaping: Sometimes a child cannot meet your rules and standards. Therefore, you must accept, and reinforce his/her ability to conform on a graduating scale. Use this technique in connection with positive reinforcement. Harry is a new student in the community who has never been to Sunday school before. At first, you might reinforce him with a Fruit Loop for not disturbing others while he is out of his seat. Later, you reinforce him for being in his seat even though he is not attending to what you are doing. Over successive sessions, you can gradually increase the requirements for reinforcement until he performs on the same level as the other students. Return to the Table of Contents
Delayed reinforcement (token economy): A token economy is based on delayed reinforcement. Again, God invented delayed reinforcement: Blessed are you when men shall revile you for my name sake...for great is your reward in Heaven. Instead of using edibles (Fruit Loops) for immediate reinforcement, use tokens for delayed reinforcement. You can make tokens out of small squares of colored construction paper. Return to the Table of Contents
Time out: You will find the need for a time out area where students can go whose negative behavior cannot be tolerated. This may be a corner of the room (a time-honored tradition) or a chair. Keep time out periods short. You might use an egg timer to keep track of the time. A rule of thumb is one minute for each year of age.
You may need different time-out areas for different students. In Sunday school, the ultimate time out may be returning the child to his/her parent(s) for the rest of the period -- and don't be afraid to use it unless that's what the child wants.
Be consistent across programs In order for behavior techniques to be effective, your program must be consistent across all Sunday school and junior church programs. Behavioral techniques have less chance of working if all adults involved in the program are not using the same reinforcement procedures. This is especially true for students with behavior problems. Involved adults must confer on the various techniques which will be used.
Not all troubled students are troublesome. Sometimes the quiet child may need your attention but doesn't know an acceptable way to compete for it. One of the benefits of positive reinforcement is the boost the self-concept of such a child gets each time the Fruit Loops or blue tokens are passed around for good behavior. Return to the Table of Contents For an expanded version of this document, click this link
Supervision and Administration of Christian Education Programs
The basic concepts of the following guidelines can apply to secular education programs, also
The most common trap into which a Christian education manager can fall sounds something like this:
Question: Aren't these people volunteers who work as a good-will service to their church and for God?
Answer: All the more reason to apply sound educational management principles! We are doing far more than preparing these students for life. We are preparing these students for eternity! By definition, eternity is heaven or hell forever, worlds without end.
Basic principles for all quality education, secular as well as Christian.
1. Each educator will have a written job description and relevant performance standards. Of course, such a job description should reference competence in our four main areas: compassion, communication, content, control.
2. All educators will receive pre-service and in-service training in how to fulfill the requirements of their job descriptions and meet minimum performance standards.
3. Each educator will be given a regular performance evaluation to assess on-the-job competence as measured against the relevant job description and performance standards. Such an evaluation will include the following areas: compassion, communication, content, control.
4. Educators who show evidence of failing to perform satisfactorily will participate in a corrective action program designed to improve performance in the deficient area(s). 5. Educators who fail to respond to an appropriate corrective action program will be considered for dismissal.
6. Dismissal will be the final disciplinary action, following these progressive disciplinary actions:
7. All new workers entering the program will be interviewed in terms of the likelihood that they will be able to perform satisfactorily in reference to the relevant job description and performance standards.
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This blog provides conservative information on political, spiritual, economic, educational and social issues Monday through Saturday.
On Sunday, the content is spiritual and educational only.
|Jesus said: What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs. Luke 12:3|
|If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)|