I Have a Question
October 1974

“I Have a Question,” Ensign, Oct. 1974, 44–45

What is the teacher development program?

Rex A. Skidmore, Chairman, Teacher Development Committee: Although there have been teacher training programs in the different auxiliaries in the past, teacher development is the current training program for all priesthood and auxiliary teachers in the Church.

In October 1968 the First Presidency called a committee to suggest ways to improve the quality of teaching throughout the Church; the committee was to create and implement a program to assist teachers to improve. The First Presidency wanted the program to be priesthood-sponsored, to help present teachers do better, and assist prospective teachers with the training necessary to be more effective.

The priesthood-sponsored teacher development program was announced at general conference in October 1970, and implementation began January 1, 1971. It is to be carried out in all stakes, wards, districts, and branches throughout the world. Flexibility and options are built into the program so that Church units with limited membership, geographical problems, or other challenges can adapt accordingly.

The teacher development program consists of an 11-week basic course and monthly inservice lessons. The course is supported by personal help from a teacher development director or inservice leader who is skilled with teacher development procedures.

By now most of the active teachers in the Church have completed the basic course. More than one million manuals have been distributed in 16 languages, and success stories have come in from all over the world attesting to the effectiveness of this teacher improvement program. The charge from the First Presidency to improve teaching has become a reality.

The basic 11-week course is offered on a ward or branch level and is open to both present and prospective teachers. It is a practical kind of course, limited ordinarily to eight participants at a time, and offers a rich opportunity for improving teaching skills. It provides learning by experience.

The inservice lessons are taught monthly in each auxiliary, giving opportunity for all teachers to receive specific advice on how to make lessons come to life and assist the members in living gospel principles.

Priesthood and auxiliary teachers can benefit by the teacher development program. It is an integrated system for improving teaching, a system to help all teachers build spirituality and change lives for good.