Learning Experience 13: Deciding How to Teach: Exercising Faith
    Footnotes

    “Learning Experience 13: Deciding How to Teach: Exercising Faith,” New-Teacher Training Resource: A Teacher-Improvement Companion to the Gospel Teaching and Learning Handbook (2016)

    “Learning Experience 13,” New-Teacher Training Resource

    Learning Experience 13

    Deciding How to Teach: Exercising Faith

    Overview

    This learning experience covers the following concepts:

    • Having confidence in the power of the word of God

    • Exercising faith in the Lord and in the Spirit

    • Trusting in your students

    Key Concepts

    Three Core Beliefs

    The “teach” paragraph of the Objective of Seminaries and Institutes of Religion states: “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 of the gospel 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: A Handbook for Teachers and Leaders in Seminaries and Institutes of Religion [2012], x).

    This paragraph implies that the actions of effective teachers reflect three important core beliefs:

    1. We can have confidence in the power of the word

    2. We can exercise faith in the Lord and in the Spirit

    3. We can trust in the students

    In this learning experience, you will explore key concepts designed to deepen your understanding of and belief in each of these three elements.

    3-legged stool

    Like the individual legs of a three-legged stool, each of the three core beliefs is essential. Teachers will be more likely to experience success when their methods are consistent with all three of these core beliefs.

    2-legged stool

    However, sometimes teachers’ methods are not consistent with what they believe in their heart. Just as a three-legged stool cannot balance successfully with a broken or missing leg, the Gospel Teaching and Learning handbook suggests that when teachers are not successful, it is often because one of the following elements is lacking:

    1. Confidence in the power of the word

    2. Faith in the Lord and in the Spirit

    3. Trust in the students

    video icon
    Watch the video “Three Core Beliefs” (1:47), available on LDS.org. In this video, Chad Webb, administrator of Seminaries and Institutes of Religion, talks about a time when he felt his teaching approach was not consistent with his core beliefs. Note what he resolved to do because of this experience.

    Confidence in the Power of the Word

    Read the two paragraphs under the subheading “Confidence in the power of the word” in section 4.1.3 of the Gospel Teaching and Learning handbook (pages 47–48). Then read the following scripture passages:

    While reading from the handbook and the scriptures, do the following:

    • Look for words or phrases that indicate the blessings the scriptures can bring into your life and the lives of your students.

    • Ponder experiences when the scriptures have blessed your life or the lives of others. Consider recording your thoughts and impressions.

    video icon
    In classrooms where teachers and students have confidence in the power of the word, the scriptures occupy a central role in teaching and learning. Watch the video “Scripture-Centered Teaching” (3:20), available on LDS.org. In this video, Brother Webb explains what this might look like in a classroom and why it is important. As you watch, keep in mind the following questions:

    • What will you see in a classroom where the scriptures are at the center of teaching and learning?

    • Why is it important for teachers to make the scriptures the center of students’ classroom experiences?

    share icon
    Record your responses to these questions in a study journal or another place where you can refer to them and share them with your inservice leader or group.

    Faith in the Lord and in the Spirit

    Read the two paragraphs under the subheading “Faith in the Lord and in the Spirit” in section 4.1.3 of the Gospel Teaching and Learning handbook (page 48). While reading, look for how exercising faith in the Lord and in the Spirit can make a difference in the lives of your students.

    video icon
    Watch the video “The Lord Knows Every Need” (0:45), available on LDS.org. This video will help deepen your understanding of how exercising faith in the Lord and in the Spirit can bless both you and your students. As you watch, keep in mind the following questions:

    • As a teacher, what are some ways you can demonstrate faith in the Lord and in the Spirit?

    • How will your trust in the Lord and in the Spirit be a blessing to your students?

    share icon
    Record your responses to these questions in a study journal or another place where you can refer to them and share them with your inservice leader or group.

    Trust in the Students

    Read the first four paragraphs under the subheading “Trust in the students” in section 4.1.3 of the Gospel Teaching and Learning handbook (page 48). While reading, look for words or phrases that indicate why you can trust your students’ abilities to learn, teach, and apply gospel doctrine and principles.

    video icon
    Watch the video “Expecting More from Your Students” (2:21), available on LDS.org. This video illustrates how one teacher’s expectations and trust in his students helped them “feel the stirrings of the Spirit” (Bonnie L. Oscarson, “Greater Expectations” [Seminaries and Institutes of Religion satellite broadcast, Aug. 5, 2014], lds.org/broadcasts) and influenced their conversion. As you watch, keep in mind the following question:

    • How might a class with a teacher who trusts in students’ abilities to learn, teach, and live the gospel be different from a class where a teacher has low expectations or little confidence in the students?

    share icon
    Record your thoughts about this question in a study journal or another place where you can refer to them and share them with your inservice leader or group.

    Summary and Application

    Principles to Remember

    In order to teach effectively, your teaching methods must be consistent with the following three core beliefs:

    1. We can have confidence in the power of the word of God.

    2. We can exercise faith in the Lord and in the Spirit.

    3. We can trust in the students.

    From time to time it can be helpful to ask yourself how your methods and actions in class reflect the application of these core beliefs.

    Elder Henry B. Eyring

    “I beg of you, for yourselves and for the students, to have faith that they will want to read [the Book of Mormon], not that you must drive them to it, but that it will draw them to it” (Henry B Eyring, “The Book of Mormon Will Change Your Life” [Church Educational System symposium on the Book of Mormon, Aug. 17, 1990], 2).

    “Therefore, What?”

    To conclude this learning experience, write down some things you will do based on the principles you have learned today.