“Introduction to the Foundations of the Restoration Teacher Material (Religion 225),” Foundations of the Restoration Teacher Material (2019)
“Introduction to the Foundations of the Restoration Teacher Material (Religion 225),” Foundations of the Restoration Teacher Material
Welcome to Foundations of the Restoration! Thank you for accepting the opportunity to help your students deepen their conversion to Jesus Christ and His restored gospel.
The Objective of Seminaries and Institutes of Religion states:
Our purpose is to help youth and young adults understand and rely on the teachings and Atonement of Jesus Christ, qualify for the blessings of the temple, and prepare themselves, their families, and others for eternal life with their Father in Heaven. (Gospel Teaching and Learning: A Handbook for Teachers and Leaders in Seminaries and Institutes of Religion , 1)
This course is designed to help students:
Strengthen their testimony of Jesus Christ and His restored gospel.
Increase in their desire and effort to live principles and doctrine of the gospel and become more like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Apply principles of acquiring spiritual knowledge and gain experience evaluating sources of information.
Identify and explain foundational doctrine, revelation, and historical events of the Restoration.
The contents of this manual are designed to help students have meaningful, edifying experiences both outside and inside the classroom. Each lesson is composed of preparation material and teacher material.
The preparation material is intended to be studied by both you and your students in preparation for class. It includes pertinent historical context and images, teachings from the scriptures and Church leaders, and a “Want More?” section that identifies additional resources related to the lesson.
The preparation material also contains questions and activities meant to help deepen students’ learning experiences in class. For example, in the preparation material for lesson 6, “The Book of Mormon—the Keystone of Our Religion,” you and your students are given the opportunity to study teachings from Church leaders regarding how the Book of Mormon helps us draw nearer to God and blesses our lives in additional ways:
How have studying and living the teachings found in the Book of Mormon helped you draw nearer to God? What are some scripture passages from the Book of Mormon that have helped you become more like Him? Record your answers to these questions in the space provided. Come to class prepared to share your thoughts.
Elder Kim B. Clark of the Seventy taught about the preparation and sincere effort required to learn deeply:
If you really desire to learn deeply, if your heart and your mind are open to learning, and if you act on that desire, the Lord will bless you. When you do your part—pray in faith, prepare, study, engage actively, and do your very best—the Holy Ghost will teach you, magnify your capacity to act on what you learn, and help you become what the Lord wants you to become. (“Learning for the Whole Soul,” Ensign or Liahona, Aug. 2017, 27)
The teacher material is designed to help teachers invite students to discuss what they learned in their preparation and help students deepen their understanding and testimony of the Lord and His restored gospel. In the introduction for each lesson you will find a description of the lesson’s intended outcomes. This is followed by suggested teaching ideas that provide lesson structure, content, discussion helps, and application ideas.
The following is an example of how the teacher material draws on the students’ preparation, again from lesson 6:
Divide students into small groups, and invite them to share and explain Book of Mormon passages that have helped them draw nearer to God. (Students who have studied the preparation material can refer to what they wrote at the end of section 4.) You might also invite students to discuss in their groups how living the teachings recorded in the passages they chose helps them become more like Jesus Christ.
As you read the lessons in this manual, pay attention to how the teacher material regularly draws on the students’ preparation. Consistently relying on students’ preparation will help them feel the importance of preparing for every class.
The teacher material also models the fundamentals of gospel teaching and learning (see Gospel Teaching and Learning, 10, 23–31, 38–41). These include helping students to identify, understand, and feel the truth and importance of doctrine and principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as well as inviting them to explain, share, and testify.
You will bless your students by expecting and encouraging them to fulfill their role as learners both outside and inside the classroom. Some ways that you can do this are by relying on students’ preparation, inviting them to ask questions about the preparation material or lesson topic, giving them opportunities to explain doctrine and principles in their own words and to share relevant experiences and testimony, and inviting them to more fully live the truths of the restored gospel.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has taught:
We can be more powerful teachers than we sometimes are. In approaching such a daunting task, please … remember that a student is not a container to be filled; a student is a fire to be ignited. (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Angels and Astonishment” [Church Educational System Training Broadcast, June 12, 2019], ChurchofJesusChrist.org/broadcasts/article/article/2019/06/14holland)
The lesson structure suggested in the teacher material should help you provide enough time in class for students to recognize and follow spiritual promptings. The materials should also help you invite students to apply what they are learning and to become more like our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Consider this example from lesson 19, “Redemption of the Dead”:
This course is designed as a semester-long course with 28 lessons written for 50-minute class periods. If your class meets only once each week for 90 to 100 minutes, combine and teach two lessons each class period. Rather than being concerned with covering all of the content in the teacher material, focus instead on helping students to deepen their understanding of doctrine or principles that are especially relevant to them and on helping them to more fully live by those truths.
Heavenly Father will assist you as you prepare and teach His children. Your efforts to diligently live the gospel will help you qualify for the Spirit in your preparation to teach.
As you prepare, consider ways you can appropriately adapt the teacher material to meet the needs and circumstances of your students. Follow this counsel from President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency in making adaptations:
President [Boyd K.] Packer has often taught, in my hearing, that we first adopt, then we adapt. If we are thoroughly grounded in the prescribed lesson that we are to give, then we can follow the Spirit to adapt it. But there is a temptation, when we speak about this flexibility, to start off by adapting rather than adopting. It’s a balance. It’s a continual challenge. But the approach of adopting first and then adapting is a good way to stay on sound ground. (Dallin H. Oaks, “A Panel Discussion with Elder Dallin H. Oaks” [Seminaries and Institutes of Religion satellite broadcast, Aug. 7, 2012], broadcasts.ChurchofJesusChrist.org)
You may find it helpful to ask yourself the following questions as part of your preparation to teach:
Have I prayed to receive the guidance of the Holy Ghost?
Have I studied the preparation material?
Do I feel sufficiently grounded in the teacher material? Is there anything that I need to adapt to meet the needs of my students?
How can we effectively learn from the scriptures in class?
How can I help students focus on the Savior and learn from the Holy Ghost in this lesson?
How can I most effectively help my students learn, understand, and grow in their testimony of the principles pertaining to these aspects of the gospel?
What can I do to meaningfully incorporate what students have learned from their class preparation and their life experience?
How can I help each of my students fully engage in the lesson?
How can I vary the learning activities and approaches I use in each class?
As you prepare to teach, be mindful of students who have particular needs. Adjust activities and expectations to include them and help them succeed (see the Disability Resources page at disabilities.ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
To receive credit toward institute graduation, students are required to:
Study the preparation material for at least 75 percent of the lessons.
Attend 75 percent of the classes held.
Complete one of three learning experiences: keep a study journal, write responses to three essay questions, or design and complete a learning project (with teacher approval) of their own that is related to the content of the course. Find more details here: ChurchofJesusChrist.org/si/institute/learning-experiences.
If students record responses to all of the questions and activities in the preparation material, this would also satisfy the learning experience requirement. Students do not need to submit their responses to you. At the end of the semester they simply need to show you what they completed.