“Learning Experience 5: Experiencing the Learning Pattern,” New-Teacher Training Resource: A Teacher-Improvement Companion to the Gospel Teaching and Learning Handbook (2016)
“Learning Experience 5,” New-Teacher Training Resource
This learning experience covers the following concepts:
Introducing a learning pattern
Getting the gospel into students’ hearts
Understanding the learning pattern
Applying the learning pattern in gospel study
Latter-day prophets and apostles have charged teachers in Seminaries and Institutes of Religion with teaching students to identify, understand, and apply the doctrine and principles of the gospel found in the scriptures and the words of the prophets. Concerning this charge, President J. Reuben Clark Jr. (1871–1961) of the First Presidency taught:
“You are to teach this gospel, using as your sources and authorities the standard works of the Church and the words of those whom God has called to lead His people in these last days” (The Charted Course of the Church in Education, rev. ed. , 10).
As students learn the gospel of Jesus Christ as found in the scriptures and the words of the prophets, it is essential that gospel doctrine and principles sink deep into their hearts. To help this process take place, Seminaries and Institutes of Religion emphasizes a basic learning pattern that allows teachers and students to discover, understand, and apply gospel truths in their lives. This pattern consists of the following fundamentals:
Understand the context and content.
Identify doctrine and principles.
Understand doctrine and principles.
Feel the truth and importance of doctrine and principles.
Apply doctrine and principles.
The more you come to understand and use these fundamentals in your own gospel study, the better you will be able to help students implement them.
The purpose of this learning experience is to give an overview of the five fundamentals of the learning pattern. Each fundamental will be addressed in more detail in learning experiences 6–8.
The parable of the gems helps us understand the fundamentals of the learning pattern. Read the descriptions below to learn more about each fundamental.
- Understand the context and content:
The young woman searching for gems in the sand symbolizes a learner searching for eternal truths in the scriptures and in the teachings of prophets. The sand represents the details of the scriptures or teachings—the story line, people, places, dates, and so on. The young woman sifting through the sand for gems is like a learner sifting through the details of the scriptures in search of doctrine, principles, and other basic truths. This process is referred to as understanding context and content.
- Identify doctrine and principles:
The young woman discovering gems in the sand symbolizes the process of identifying doctrine and principles in the scriptures and in the words of the prophets. Just as some gems lay close to the surface and others were found deeper in the sand, some eternal truths in the scriptures are easily identified, while others require more effort to discover.
- Understand doctrine and principles:
The young woman carefully examining each gem represents a learner studying diligently in order to understand doctrine and principles more deeply.
- Feel the truth and importance of doctrine and principles:
The young woman feeling appreciation for the uniqueness and significance of each gem can be compared to a learner feeling the truth and importance of doctrine and principles found in the scriptures and the words of the prophets.
- Apply doctrine and principles:
Just as the young woman’s thoughts turned to specific ways she could use each gem, learners should also consider how to personalize and apply doctrine and principles as the Spirit gives personal direction to their minds and hearts.
The following statements are examples of how this learning pattern is helping actual students use the scriptures to discover, understand, and apply gospel truths in their lives:
“I understand the scriptures a lot better. I know how to ask questions and find answers. Now I read to find truth and for a better understanding of how I should act.”
“I had never sat down on my own to read the scriptures, but now I am forming the habit of doing it each night. It feels so great to find and understand truths that touch you and immediately go straight to your heart.”
“I used to not read the scriptures very often because I didn’t understand them. But now I know that they are full of principles and that I can search them for answers. This year I’ve done that more than I have my whole life.”
“The one thing that seminary has helped me with almost more than anything else is to grow to love and understand the scriptures. I’ve had so many prayers answered. I have also strengthened my relationship with my Savior, and I’m so grateful for that. How could I ask for more?”
“I’ve really learned how to study out of the scriptures better, and now they don’t seem boring to me anymore. I actually want to study out of them and ponder about how I should live to return to my Father in Heaven.”
“Sometimes in reading it seems that not only do I feel overwhelmed with love and warmth but the pages and binding are almost on fire with knowledge.”
As teachers in seminaries and institutes, you are charged with teaching students the doctrine and principles of the gospel as found in the scriptures and the words of the prophets.
Teachers and students must learn how to get the gospel from the pages of scriptures and the words of the prophets deep into their hearts.
Seminaries and Institutes of Religion emphasizes a basic learning pattern that invites teachers and students to discover, understand, and apply gospel truths in their lives.
The more you understand and use the fundamentals of the learning pattern in your own gospel study, the better you will be able to help students implement them as well.
“In contrast to the institutions of the world, which teach us to know something, the gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to become something” (Dallin H. Oaks, “The Challenge to Become,” Ensign, Nov. 2000, 32).
To conclude this learning experience, write down some things you will do based on the principles you have learned today.