Learning Experience 4: Cultivating an Environment of Love, Respect, and Purpose
    Footnotes

    “Learning Experience 4: Cultivating an Environment of Love, Respect, and Purpose,” New-Teacher Training Resource: A Teacher-Improvement Companion to the Gospel Teaching and Learning Handbook (2016)

    “Learning Experience 4,” New-Teacher Training Resource

    Learning Experience 4

    Cultivating an Environment of Love, Respect, and Purpose

    Overview

    This learning experience covers the following concepts:

    • Understanding the influence of Christlike love

    • Cultivating an environment of love and respect

    • Establishing a sense of purpose in the classroom

    Key Concepts

    “When teachers and students love and respect the Lord, one another, and the word of God, learning is enhanced. A shared sense of purpose focuses efforts and expectations and gives direction to the classroom experience” (Gospel Teaching and Learning: A Handbook for Teachers and Leaders in Seminaries and Institutes of Religion [2012], 13).

    Christlike Love: An Influence for Good

    Our lives are made richer and fuller by the influence of Christlike individuals. As we reflect upon our lives, each of us can identify the kind acts of caring people who have influenced us for good.

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    Think of a teacher, leader, or other person who demonstrated Christlike love and made a difference in your life. How did he or she help you feel, and why? Record your insights and impressions in a study journal or another place where you can refer to them and share them with your inservice leader or group.

    Just as the person you reflected on had a positive influence on you, as seminary and institute teachers, we can make a difference in the lives of our students. We do this by cultivating an environment of Christlike love and respect in the classroom.

    Gospel Teaching and Learning Handbook Activity

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    The following activity will deepen your understanding of the need to cultivate a learning environment of love and respect and how to create that environment.

    Study section 2.2.1 (“Love and Respect”) on pages 13–14 in your Gospel Teaching and Learning handbook. Underline words or phrases that help deepen your understanding of (1) why it is important to have a classroom environment of love and respect and (2) how to cultivate that environment.

    Cultivating an Environment of Love and Respect: Why and How

    The following videos illustrate many of the principles and practices identified in section 2.2.1 (“Love and Respect”) of the Gospel Teaching and Learning handbook. Watch these videos and ponder your answers to the questions that follow the video descriptions below.

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    Watch the video “Teach with Charity” (1:44), available on LDS.org. In this video, Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles declares that it is essential that teachers be filled with the pure love of Christ. As you watch, look for how the Lord showed love for those He taught.

    After you have watched the video, write in your study journal brief answers to the following questions:

    • How did the Savior demonstrate His love for those He taught?

    • How can I show love and respect for those I teach?

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    Watch the video “Sister Egan’s Class” (2:17), available on LDS.org. In this video, Sister Egan, a called seminary teacher, illustrates how to effectively cultivate an environment of love, respect, and purpose. Watch for how she and her students care for one another and create such an environment.

    After you have watched the video, write in your study journal brief answers to the following questions:

    • What did Sister Egan and her students do to cultivate an environment of love and respect?

    • What can I do to cultivate a learning environment of love and respect in my classroom?

    Reaching Out to All Students

    Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:

    Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

    “If [students] are unresponsive, maybe you can’t teach them yet, but you can love them. And if you love them today, maybe you can teach them tomorrow” (“Teaching and Learning in the Church,” Ensign, June 2007, 102).

    Students may struggle with varying challenges: family stress, illness, learning disabilities, physical disabilities, and so on. Be sensitive to their individual circumstances and needs. Not all students will respond immediately to your efforts to cultivate an environment of love and respect. The following video illustrates how teachers can reach out to influence students who may at times seem unresponsive in class.

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    Watch the video “Reaching the Individual” (1:28), available on LDS.org. As you watch this video, look for how a teacher’s Christlike love and kindness invited change into the heart of a student.

    Cultivating a Sense of Purpose

    “A sense of purpose shared by teacher and student can increase faith and give direction and meaning to the classroom experience. Students should understand that they are attending class to come to know Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, and to progress toward eternal life through a study of the scriptures and the words of the prophets” (Gospel Teaching and Learning, 15).

    In the classroom, it is just as important for teachers to cultivate a sense of purpose as it is for them to cultivate an environment of love and respect.

    Gospel Teaching and Learning Handbook Activity

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    The following handbook activity will help you understand how important it is to cultivate a sense of purpose in your classroom.

    Read section 2.2.2 (“A Sense of Purpose”) on page 15 in your Gospel Teaching and Learning handbook. In your handbook, underline words and phrases that deepen your understanding of:

    • What it means for you and your students to share a sense of purpose.

    • How you and your students can cultivate this environment in the classroom.

    Practices That Help Cultivate a Sense of Purpose

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    Watch the video “A Sense of Purpose” (8:32), available on LDS.org. In this video, several teachers and students share practices that help cultivate a sense of purpose in their classrooms. As you watch this video, look for ways to cultivate a sense of purpose in your classroom.

    Questions to Help Teachers Cultivate an Environment of Love, Respect, and Purpose

    Periodically reflecting on the following questions as you teach your students will help you cultivate an environment of love, respect, and purpose:

    • Do my students know that I love them?

    • When I find it hard to be caring, do I pray to be filled with charity, the pure love of Christ (see Moroni 7:47–48)?

    • In what ways do the Savior’s teachings and example influence how I interact with my students and how they interact with each other?

    • What simple actions do I take to regularly serve, bless, and pray for my students?

    • Do my students understand that the purpose of our class is to fulfill the Objective of Seminaries and Institutes of Religion—to help them understand and rely on the teachings and Atonement of Jesus Christ?

    • Do the learning activities I choose help fulfill our purpose and not distract us from achieving the Objective of Seminaries and Institutes of Religion?

    • Have I taken the time to study and understand the scripture block and to see how the Savior is central to the lesson?

    • Am I prepared to give proper focus to my students from the moment they arrive to the moment they leave the classroom?

    • In what ways do I regularly train and invite my students to fulfill their role in spiritual learning?

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    Summary and Application

    Principles to Remember

    • When you and your students love and respect the Lord, one another, and the word of God, learning is enhanced.

    • You can develop genuine love for your students by seeking the gift of charity through sincere prayer, as instructed by the prophet Mormon (see Moroni 7:47–48).

    • A sense of purpose shared by you and your students can increase faith and give direction and meaning to the classroom experience.

    • A sense of purpose can be cultivated when you and your students understand that they are attending class to come to know Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, and to progress toward eternal life through study of the scriptures and the words of the prophets.

    President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

    “Think of the purest, most all-consuming love you can imagine. Now multiply that love by an infinite amount—that is the measure of God’s love for you” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Love of God,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 22).

    “Therefore, What?”

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