“Simplified Approach to Teacher Training,” Ensign, June 1993, 75
Local Church leaders have been instructed by the Church to take a simplified approach to teacher training in their individual units. A letter from Church headquarters to priesthood leaders authorizes bishoprics and branch presidencies to call a ward teacher development coordinator and begin quarterly teacher training meetings.
“This teacher in-service training meeting replaces all other priesthood and auxiliary teacher in-service meetings. … Teacher in-service training is no longer a part of priesthood and auxiliary leadership training meetings,” the letter states.
“To be a teacher is a great and sacred responsibility. To be an effective teacher, a member must live worthy of the influence and direction of the Spirit and must make prayerful preparation,” the letter continues. “The Lord has counseled, ‘If ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach.’ (D&C 42:14.) It is this Spirit that teaches us ‘all things.’ (Moro. 10:5.) When both the learner and teacher are filled with the Spirit, ‘both are edified and rejoice together.’ (D&C 50:22.) No learner or teacher should attempt to receive or convey an understanding of the gospel without the Spirit.”
The instructions state that the purpose of teacher development is to help members teach the gospel effectively and to continually train and support priesthood and auxiliary teachers.
The ward teacher development coordinator is responsible for conducting the Teacher Development Basic Course during Sunday School as needed; organizing and conducting teacher training meetings quarterly for teachers of all organizations; and encouraging the bishop or branch president to make teacher development a regular agenda item at ward council meetings.
The manual for both the Teacher Development Basic Course and the quarterly teacher training meetings is Teaching—No Greater Call. “If possible, all teachers and leaders should have a personal copy of this manual,” the letter instructs.
Also outlined are the following responsibilities:
“The stake presidency is responsible for effective teaching in the stake. A counselor in the stake presidency works with a high councilor to oversee teacher development in the stake.
“The stake should not hold special teacher training meetings. Rather, stake leaders should promote improved teaching with ward and branch leaders and members. … Stake leaders should emphasize that the program needs to be flexible to accommodate differing needs in the wards and branches.
“The bishopric or branch presidency is responsible for effective teaching in the local unit. …
“Priesthood and auxiliary leaders are responsible for teaching in their own organization. They should support teachers with sensitivity and great love.”
Suggestions given to priesthood and auxiliary leaders include visiting classrooms regularly, as scheduled with the teacher; interviewing teachers periodically to learn the needs of teachers and class members; consulting with teachers and class members in order to encourage and assist them; and being a resource to teachers. The teacher development coordinator can assist with these duties.
In addition to availing themselves of teacher training resources, teachers and leaders have the responsibility to train themselves by following the examples of past and present Church leaders; by studying the scriptures; and most of all, by emulating the Savior, the Master Teacher.