Introduction to the Missionary Preparation Teacher Manual (Religion 130)
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“Introduction to the Missionary Preparation Teacher Manual (Religion 130)” Missionary Preparation Teacher Manual (2014)

“Introduction,” Missionary Preparation

Introduction to the Missionary Preparation Teacher Manual (Religion 130)

Our Objective

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 [2012], 1).

As an institute teacher, you can help achieve this objective as you effectively teach the gospel: “We teach students the doctrines and principles of the gospel as found in the scriptures and the words of the prophets. These doctrines and principles are taught in a way that leads to understanding and edification. We help students fulfill their role in the learning process and prepare them to teach the gospel to others” (Gospel Teaching and Learning, x).

The Fundamentals of Gospel Teaching and Learning will help both you and your students meet the Objective of Seminaries and Institutes of Religion as you study the scriptures, words of the prophets, and Preach My Gospel together. These fundamentals are as follows:

  • Teach and learn by the Spirit.

  • Cultivate a learning environment of love, respect, and purpose.

  • Study the scriptures daily, and read the text for the course.

  • Understand the context and content of the scriptures and the words of the prophets.

  • Identify, understand, feel the truth and importance of, and apply gospel doctrines and principles.

  • Explain, share, and testify of gospel doctrines and principles.

  • Master key scripture passages and Basic Doctrines.

“When implemented wisely and in harmony with each other, [these fundamentals] contribute to the students’ ability to understand the scriptures and the doctrines and principles they contain. They also encourage students to take an active role in their learning of the gospel and increase students’ ability to live the gospel and teach it to others” (Gospel Teaching and Learning, 10). These fundamentals should be seen as outcomes rather than teaching methods (see Gospel Teaching and Learning, 10). The teaching suggestions in this manual present ways to achieve these outcomes in your teaching.

Purpose of This Course

Religion 130: Missionary Preparation is designed to help prepare students for full-time missionary service by focusing on the doctrines, principles, and counsel found in the scriptures, words of the prophets, and Preach My Gospel. This manual, the scriptures, and Preach My Gospel are your primary texts as you prepare and teach this course. Preach My Gospel serves as the student manual for this course, so you should encourage students to obtain a personal copy for their own study and to use in class. You will bless the lives of your students as you help them become familiar with it and use it in their preparation to serve a mission.

How the Lessons Are Organized

This manual is designed to help newly called teachers as well as experienced ones. The course is designed to last one semester, and it is divided into 15 lessons. Each lesson is designed to be taught during a 90-minute class period. If your class period lasts less than 90 minutes, you may choose to either shorten the lessons or divide them into multiple parts to be taught over two or more class periods.

Each lesson in the manual consists of five parts:

  • Introduction

  • Advance Preparation

  • Suggestions for Teaching

  • Teaching Helps

  • Invitations to Act

Introduction

Each lesson begins with a brief introduction that summarizes the doctrines, principles, and major ideas covered in the lesson.

Advance Preparation

This section includes key resources to study and also lists resources (for example, videos, handouts, and so on) that are used in each lesson outline and that you will need to prepare in advance. For instance, when the lesson suggests showing a video, it may be wise to download or otherwise prepare the video ahead of time.

Suggestions for Teaching

This section gives suggestions for teaching the prescribed course topics. As the teacher, you should carefully study this section. The teaching suggestions in this manual follow the pattern described in chapter 3 of Gospel Teaching and Learning. They demonstrate how to incorporate the Fundamentals of Gospel Teaching and Learning in your teaching to help students understand and apply gospel principles and increase their personal conversion.

In the body of each lesson, you will find several key doctrines, principles, and truths that are set in bold print. These doctrines and principles are identified in the curriculum because (1) they reflect important truths found in the scriptures and Preach My Gospel, (2) they are particularly applicable to the needs and circumstances of prospective missionaries, or (3) they are key truths that can help students deepen their relationships with the Lord and prepare them for full-time missionary service. President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency has counseled: “As you prepare a lesson, look in it for converting principles. … A converting principle is one that leads to obedience to the will of God” (“Converting Principles” [address to CES religious educators, Feb. 2, 1996], 1; si.lds.org). Be aware that this manual does not attempt to identify all the doctrines and principles that might be taught in a lesson, and you may be led by the Spirit to teach other principles and doctrines that are not addressed in the lesson materials. For more ideas on adapting lessons, see the “Decide What and How to Teach” section below.

Teaching Helps

Teaching helps appear in boxes throughout the lessons, and they offer guidance on various teaching methods, skills, and techniques. They are designed to provide added insight into the basic principles of religious education. Look for ways to apply these helps effectively and consistently in your teaching.

Invitations to Act

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “My earnest hope for each of you [prospective missionaries] is that you will not simply go on a mission—but that you will become missionaries long before you submit your mission papers, long before you receive a call to serve, long before you are set apart by your stake president, and long before you enter the MTC” (“Becoming a Missionary,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2005, 45). In accordance with this concept, each lesson contains suggested activities to encourage prospective missionaries to begin thinking, acting, and serving like missionaries before they enter a missionary training center. The activities found in this section encourage class members to put into practice at home what they have learned in class. There are different ways to assign or suggest these activities. For example, you could distribute a handout during the first class that lists the recommended activities for each week in the semester. You could also write the weekly list of activities on the board or send your students a weekly text or email message.

Decide What and How to Teach

Select Teaching Ideas That Meet Students’ Needs

As you prepare to teach, you might ask yourself questions like these: What methods or learning activities will help my students understand what they need to know? What will help my students identify, understand, and explain key doctrines and principles? What can I do to help students feel the truth and importance of those doctrines and principles? How can I help students apply these doctrines and principles in their own lives?

This manual is designed to aid you in the lesson planning process. Carefully review the lesson material. Select the teaching ideas that best meet the needs of your students, and personalize them to your individual teaching style. The Holy Ghost will guide you in this process. You may choose to use all or part of the curriculum suggestions, or you may adapt the suggested ideas to the needs and circumstances of your class. As you determine how to adapt lesson materials, remember to prepare thoroughly and also allow the Spirit to guide you. Consider this counsel from Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “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” (“A Panel Discussion with Elder Dallin H. Oaks” [Seminaries and Institutes of Religion satellite broadcast, Aug. 7, 2012], 6; si.lds.org).

Provide Teaching Opportunities to Students

One of the most important things you can do as the teacher of this course is to provide students with many opportunities to practice teaching and testifying during class, since many young people lack confidence in teaching doctrines and principles of the gospel. Give students the chance to respond to questions, explain gospel truths to other members of the class, and teach the missionary lessons found in Preach My Gospel. As prospective missionaries come to understand how gospel doctrines and principles lead to salvation, they will teach the gospel with greater sincerity and power.

In addition to learning what to say and do, prospective missionaries must learn to focus on the needs of investigators and discern by the Spirit what each investigator needs in order to continue on the path to conversion. Help students understand that an investigator’s lasting conversion depends less on what a missionary says and does than on whether the investigator acts in faith. The most effective missionaries pay careful attention to what investigators say and do and then lovingly help them progress toward conversion.

Define Expectations for Students

The following suggestions may be helpful as you prepare and teach lessons:

  • Assign students to read applicable sections of Preach My Gospel or general conference messages before each lesson. Consider giving students a syllabus or course outline at the beginning of the course that explains what will be taught during each class and what students should read in preparation for each class. Students who prepare themselves ahead of time will be more likely to be taught by the Holy Ghost during the lessons.

  • Expect students to fulfill their role as learners (see Gospel Teaching and Learning, 6, 15, 55).

  • Allow students to discover gospel truths for themselves. Students are edified when you lead them through a learning process that is similar to what you experienced during lesson preparation. As students discover doctrines and principles for themselves, give them opportunities to explain these truths in their own words and to share and testify of what they know, how they feel, and what they plan to do.

  • Create an environment where students can feel the Spirit of the Lord as they teach and learn from one another (see D&C 88:78, 122).

  • Encourage students to bring a personal copy of the scriptures, a copy of Preach My Gospel, and a study journal to each class. Explain what a study journal is and how to use it.

As you decide what and how to teach, keep in mind these words by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

“I have observed a common characteristic among the instructors who have had the greatest influence in my life. They have helped me to seek learning by faith. They refused to give me easy answers to hard questions. In fact, they did not give me any answers at all. Rather, they pointed the way and helped me take the steps to find my own answers. I certainly did not always appreciate this approach, but experience has enabled me to understand that an answer given by another person usually is not remembered for very long, if remembered at all. But an answer we discover or obtain through the exercise of faith, typically, is retained for a lifetime” (“Seek Learning by Faith” [an evening with Elder David A. Bednar, Feb. 3, 2006], 5; si.lds.org).

Teaching Activities

There are a number of ways to configure the classroom teaching activities suggested in the lesson outlines. It is generally helpful to vary the configurations of activities to help keep students interested and focused. For example, during role plays, consider inviting students to rotate as both missionary and investigator and as evaluator where applicable. You could also participate in any of the roles when needed.

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Missionary Preparation: Teacher Manual: Religion 130
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Missionary Preparation: Teacher Manual: Religion 130

M = Missionary; I = Investigator; E = Evaluator

Training Model

The training model used in MTC curriculum can be adapted for use in this course to help students develop skills and abilities. The elements of this model may be used in any sequence and repeated to best accomplish the goal of helping students improve through practice.

Explain—Demonstrate—Practice—Evaluate—Repractice

Explain

Explain concepts and skills that students should know, and teach them how these skills and concepts help fulfill a missionary’s purpose.

Demonstrate

Provide an example of what students are to do. This can be accomplished with live demonstrations, videos, or other means.

Practice

Have students practice skills in pairs or groups.

Evaluate

With the students’ input, identify things they do well and ways they can improve their skills. Give them encouragement.

Repractice

When possible, allow time for repeated practice.

Online Missionary Work

As full-time missionaries, your students will use the Internet as a proselyting tool to find and contact investigators, contact members, work with local priesthood and mission leaders, answer questions, receive and contact referrals, follow up on commitments, confirm appointments, and teach principles from Preach My Gospel. Various suggestions throughout this manual will help you encourage students to begin sharing the gospel using online tools.

As the instructor for this course, you might take advantage of electronic tools by contacting your students during the week using text messages or social media to follow up on class assignments, to encourage them to study before they come to class, or to remind them to read the Book of Mormon daily.

Adapting the Manual to Those with Disabilities

When instructing students with disabilities, teachers may adapt the lessons to meet student abilities. For example, to adapt lessons for students who cannot read, you might consider reading aloud yourself, having students read, or using prerecorded materials (such as audio or video versions of the scriptures, of Preach My Gospel, and of general conference talks). When lessons call for written responses, you might encourage students to give oral responses instead. Other students may also assist those with disabilities by individually reading the materials to them or writing the responses for them.

For more ideas and resources, consult the Disability Resources page at disabilities.lds.org and the S&I policy manual section titled “Adapted Classes and Programs for Students with Disabilities.”