Inservice Lesson 3: Preparing a Lesson: Decide What to Teach
    Footnotes

    “Inservice Lesson 3: Preparing a Lesson: Decide What to Teach,” New-Teacher Training Resource: A Teacher-Improvement Companion to the Gospel Teaching and Learning Handbook (2016)

    “Inservice Lesson 3,” New-Teacher Training Resource

    Inservice Lesson 3

    Preparing a Lesson: Decide What to Teach

    Suggested Inservice Activities

    This lesson includes a list of activities that will allow teachers to practice the principles they learned in at-home learning experiences 9–10. If needed, you may develop your own practice activities to meet the needs of the teachers in your class.

    Learning Experience 9: Preparing a Lesson: Deciding What to Teach

    The following activities are designed to help teachers develop the skill of deciding what to teach using the scriptures and the teacher manual together. This process can be divided into four stages and is similar to the “Lesson Preparation Activity” in at-home learning experience 9. The activities can be used consecutively to guide teachers through a complete process of deciding what to teach, or each activity can be used separately to emphasize a particular skill.

    Practice Activity 1: Understanding the Context and Content of the Scripture Block

    Purpose: To help teachers practice the skill of outlining a scripture block by noting natural breaks or changes in story line, events, or action.

    Activity: Although the seminary and institute teacher manuals divide scripture blocks into verse groupings, teachers can better understand the context and content of a scripture block when they practice the skill of outlining a scripture block themselves by noting natural breaks in the story line or changes in events or action. This activity helps teachers practice that skill.

    video icon
    Show teachers the video “Teaching the Scriptures Sequentially” (4:28), available on LDS.org. Discuss how the process of deciding what to teach consists of following a pattern very similar to the one illustrated in the video.

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    Invite the teachers to immerse themselves in a scripture block for 10–15 minutes. You can designate a scripture block at the inservice meeting or ask the teachers to study a block at home prior to your meeting. As they study, invite the teachers to outline the scripture block by dividing the content into smaller verse segments based on natural breaks in the story line or changes in events or action. They can outline the block using the handout titled “Determining What to Teach,” which is provided in the appendix of this manual, or in another way that works for them.

    After sufficient time, invite the teachers to discuss their work with the group or in pairs. Invite them to compare their verse segments with those in the seminary or institute teacher manual. Then, using their notes and the teacher manual, have the teachers decide which verse groupings they would use in an actual lesson. Invite the teachers to discuss their work again.

    Practice Activity 2: Identifying and Understanding Doctrine and Principles

    Purpose: To help teachers continue to practice and develop the skill of identifying and understanding doctrine and principles within a scripture block.

    Activity: Although the teacher manual already includes statements of doctrine or principle for many verse segments, teachers will enhance their own scripture study and better help their students identify doctrine and principles as they regularly practice this skill themselves.

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    Invite the teachers to identify doctrine and principles within the verse segments they outlined in the first activity. Then have them record the doctrine or principles they discovered on the handout titled “Determining What to Teach” or in another way that works for them.

    After sufficient time, invite the teachers to discuss their work as a group or in pairs. Invite the teachers to compare the doctrine and principles they identified with the boldface principles or doctrine from the corresponding scripture block in the teacher manual. Ask them to make any wording adjustments they feel would clarify the statements they wrote and then share their work again with the group or in pairs.

    Practice Activity 3: Deciding Which Doctrine and Principles Are Most Important for Students to Learn and Apply

    Purpose: To help teachers continue developing the skill of identifying which doctrine and principles are most important for their students to learn and apply by considering the following:

    • Promptings of the Holy Ghost

    • The intent of the inspired author

    • Converting doctrine and principles

    • The needs and abilities of students

    Activity: Because teachers must decide which doctrine and principles are most important for their students to learn and apply, it will be helpful for them to think specifically about their students during this activity. Invite them to bring their class roll or, if they don’t have a class roll yet, invite them to write down the names of a few students who will be in their class.

    Then ask the teachers to use the doctrine or principles on their outline from the second activity. If your class did not complete the second activity, write on the board three or four statements of doctrine or principle from a scripture block in the teacher manual. Invite the teachers to determine which doctrine and principles are most important for their students to learn and apply by asking themselves the following reflection questions:

    • Promptings of the Holy Ghost

      • Why do I feel that these particular doctrines or principles are the most important to emphasize in my lesson?

    • The intent of the inspired author

      • What do the scriptures say about why the author included this doctrine or principle in the record?

      • Does this doctrine or principle align with the intent of the inspired writer?

      • Does the teacher manual help me understand how this doctrine or principle relates to the intent of the inspired author?

    • Converting doctrine and principles

      • How will this doctrine or principle help my students draw closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and how will it help lead them to salvation? How will a testimony of this doctrine or principle help them obey the will of God?

      • In what ways will this doctrine or principle help students understand and rely on the teachings and Atonement of Jesus Christ?

      • Does the teacher manual help me understand how this doctrine or principle will deepen students’ conversion?

    • The needs and abilities of students

      • Which of my students’ needs should I consider as I decide whether to teach this doctrine or principle?

      • How relevant is this doctrine or principle to the lives of my students compared with the other doctrine or principles I could address in class?

      • Does the teacher manual have suggestions that will help me relate this doctrine or principle to the needs of my students?

    After the teachers have had sufficient time to ponder these questions, invite them to identify which doctrine or principles they feel are the most important for their students to learn and apply. If the teachers are using their outlines from the second activity, invite them to place a check mark or star on their outlines next to the principles and doctrine they identify. Invite them to share the doctrine or principles they chose as a group or in pairs.

    Note: These questions are adapted from section 4.3.3 (pages 52–54) of Gospel Teaching and Learning: A Handbook for Teachers and Leaders in Seminaries and Institutes of Religion (2012). Help teachers remember that “in all of these considerations, [they] should seek confirmation from the Spirit. The Spirit will help them better understand the intent of the inspired scripture writer, the needs of the students, and which gospel truths will help students draw nearer to their Heavenly Father and the Savior” (Gospel Teaching and Learning, 54).

    Practice Activity 4: Deciding What Level of Emphasis to Give Each Verse Segment of the Scripture Block

    Purpose: To help teachers continue developing the skill of deciding what level of emphasis to give each verse segment of the scripture block.

    Activity: Invite the teachers to look at the verse segments in their outlines from the first activity or in a scripture block you choose from the teacher manual. Ask them to consider what level of emphasis they might give each segment by asking the following questions, which are based on the learning pattern.

    As I teach this verse segment, will I want my students to:

    • Understand the context and content?

    • Identify important doctrine and principles?

    • Understand doctrine and principles?

    • Feel the truth and importance of doctrine and principles?

    • Apply doctrine and principles in their lives?

    Ask teachers to write the level of emphasis they have chosen for each verse segment in their lesson notes and discuss their reasoning with the group or in pairs.

    Learning Experience 10: Deciding What to Teach: Using the Scriptures and the Teacher Manual

    Practice Activity 5: Curriculum Review

    Purpose: To help teachers understand that the curriculum was written with great purpose and contains questions, methods, and activities that help deepen students’ conversion.

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    Activity: Watch the video “Curriculum Overview” (4:45), available on LDS.org.

    Then invite the teachers to open to any lesson in a teacher manual or use the handout titled “Sample Lesson—3 Nephi 11:1–17,” which is provided in the appendix of this manual. Ask the teachers to search for activities, statements of doctrine or principle, questions, or quotations that illustrate the curriculum’s purpose of helping the gospel to go down into the hearts of the students. When the teachers have completed this activity, invite them to turn to a partner and share what they discovered.

    Practice Activity 6: Fundamentals in the Curriculum

    Purpose: To help teachers understand that the teacher manual was written to help them and their students incorporate the Fundamentals of Gospel Teaching and Learning in their lessons.

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    Activity: Watch the video “The Fundamentals in the Curriculum” (2:15), available on LDS.org.

    Then divide the teachers into five groups. Assign each group one of the elements from the learning pattern.

    • Group 1: Understand the context and content

    • Group 2: Identify doctrine and principles

    • Group 3: Understand the meaning of the doctrine and principles

    • Group 4: Feel the truth and importance of the doctrine and principles

    • Group 5: Apply doctrine and principles

    Invite the teachers to search the curriculum for questions, activities, or methods that can help them and their students incorporate their assigned fundamental.

    Ask a spokesperson from each group to come to the front of the class and present a summary of what his or her group discovered and discussed.

    Practice Activity 7: Adopt and Adapt

    Purpose: To help teachers understand the importance of adopting the curriculum and adapting it to the needs of students by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost, teaching the intent of the inspired author, focusing on converting doctrine and principles, and considering the needs and abilities of students.

    Note: It will be helpful for your teachers to think about their own students during this activity. Invite them to bring their class roll or, if they do not yet have a class roll, to write down the names of a few students who will be in their class.

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    Activity: Watch the video “4.3.4 Teaching Students, Not Lessons” (2:12), available on LDS.org. In this video, Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shares an example of a teacher who adapted her lesson plan to meet the needs of her students. (This video is not available in all languages.)

    After you watch the video, discuss the following questions:

    • What was the key to the teacher meeting the needs of her students and helping deepen their conversion in the classroom that day?

    • What did the teacher do when a student shared a comment that could have taken the class in a different direction from what she had planned?

    • What did the teacher do when her student’s comment made her aware of his concern?

    • What impact did this teacher have on her students because she was trying to meet their needs?

    After discussing these questions, present the following scenario and have teachers discuss how they would adapt the lesson to address their student’s needs and circumstances:

    Your class is studying Mosiah 18, which records Alma’s acknowledgment that the people were “willing to … comfort those that stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:9) and his invitation for the people to enter a covenant with the Lord to “serve him and keep his commandments” (Mosiah 18:10). After you ask your class to share examples of when they have comforted those that stand in need of comfort, a young woman in your class raises her hand and shares that a girl in one of her school classes recently moved to the area and her family is going through some challenges. She wants to keep her baptismal covenant but doesn’t know how to help her classmate.

    Practice Activity 8: Adapting the Curriculum to Students’ Needs

    Purpose: To help teachers learn to adapt the curriculum to the life circumstances and needs of their students.

    Activity: Divide the class into groups and assign one of the following scenarios to each group. Provide copies of the indicated lessons to the groups. Have each group read its scenario and prepare to share with the class how the lesson could be adapted to meet the needs of students.

    • Your class is studying Doctrine and Covenants 4, which discusses qualifications and key attributes for those who serve the Lord. Some of your students are preparing to submit their mission papers. However, several students might not be able to serve a traditional mission due to medical conditions or other circumstances. Quickly review lesson 13 (pages 43–45) in the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual (2013) and consider how you would adapt your instruction to the needs of your students as you teach the doctrine and principles that are discussed in this lesson.

    • Your class is studying Doctrine and Covenants 132:3–33, which discusses the conditions of the new and everlasting covenant of marriage and the promises extended to those who honor it. Some students in your class have parents who are not members of the Church. Other students’ parents are members of the Church who have not been sealed in the temple. One student’s parents are currently going through a divorce. Quickly review lesson 139 (pages 474–76) in the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual and consider how you would adapt your instruction to the needs of your students as you teach the doctrine and principles that are discussed in this lesson.

    After discussing the scenarios above, invite the teachers to consider the life circumstances of their own students by asking the following questions:

    • What are some of my students’ life circumstances?

    • How will this information help me to meet my students’ individual needs as I teach?

    • Based on my students’ circumstances, how can I prepare for lessons and adapt instruction to meet their needs as I teach?

    Invite the teachers to discuss insights and impressions that come to mind about how they can adopt and adapt the curriculum to meet their students’ needs.