Seminaries and Institutes
Suggestions for a Variety of Teaching Settings and Learners

“Suggestions for a Variety of Teaching Settings and Learners,” Teaching in the Savior’s Way: For All Who Teach in the Home and in the Church (2022)

“Suggestions for a Variety of Teaching Settings and Learners,” Teaching in the Savior’s Way

men teaching family

Suggestions for a Variety of Teaching Settings and Learners

The principles of teaching in the Savior’s way can apply to any teaching opportunity—at home, at church, and elsewhere. However, every opportunity comes with its own unique circumstances. This section gives additional suggestions that are specific to various learners and teaching settings.

Home and Family

The Home Is the Best Place for Teaching and Learning the Gospel

President Russell M. Nelson has taught that the home should be the “center of gospel learning” (“Becoming Exemplary Latter-day Saints,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2018, 113). The teaching that happens at church or in seminary is valuable and needed, but it’s meant to support the teaching that happens at home. The main setting—and the best setting—for gospel learning, for both ourselves and our families, is the home.

But that doesn’t mean that good gospel learning happens automatically at home; it takes conscientious effort. President Nelson has suggested that you might need to “transform” or “remodel your home”—not necessarily by tearing down walls or adding new flooring but perhaps by evaluating the overall spirit in your home, including your contribution to that spirit (“Becoming Exemplary Latter-day Saints,” 113). For example, consider the music, videos, and other media in your home; the pictures on the walls; and the way the members of your family speak to and treat each other. Do these things invite the influence of the Holy Ghost? Do you set aside time for learning the gospel, individually and as a family? Do family members feel loved, safe, and close to God when they are in your home?

You may not feel that you have control over the spiritual environment in your home. If that’s the case, be the best influence you can and ask the Lord for help. He will honor your righteous efforts. When you try to teach and learn the gospel, even if you don’t see desired results right away, you are succeeding.

Learning at Home Is Founded on Relationships

“Love those you teach” applies to all settings for gospel teaching, but in the home, love ought to come most naturally and be felt most deeply. Even if your home is less than ideal, it is meant to be the center of gospel teaching because that’s where our most lasting relationships are built. Teachers outside the home may have more experience or training as teachers, but they can never duplicate the potential for loving, eternal relationships that exists at home. So nurture those relationships. Spend the time and effort necessary to listen to your family members and build trust and understanding with them. This will help create a firm foundation for your efforts to teach and learn the gospel at home.

Learning at Home Can Be Planned but Also Spontaneous

Most Church classes happen once a week, with a scheduled beginning and end, but this is not always the case at home. You may have a scheduled home evening lesson or family scripture study, but teaching opportunities in the family frequently occur in informal, everyday moments—while eating a meal, doing chores, playing a game, traveling to work or school, reading a book, or watching a movie together. A rainstorm can be a chance to talk about how the Savior shelters us from spiritual storms. A teenager with a difficult decision to make may be ready to learn about personal revelation. A child who is frightened may benefit from your testimony about the Comforter. Children who misbehave or mistreat each other can be taught about repentance and forgiveness.

Because such moments are unplanned, you can’t prepare for them the way you would prepare for a traditional lesson. However, you can prepare yourself by being sensitive to the Spirit and striving to “be ready always” (1 Peter 3:15). Any moment may become a teaching or learning moment.

Learning at Home Consists of Small, Simple, Consistent Efforts

Parents sometimes get discouraged when their attempts to teach the gospel at home don’t seem to be succeeding. Taken individually, a single home evening, scripture study session, or gospel conversation may not seem like it is accomplishing much. But the accumulation of small, simple efforts, repeated consistently over time, can be more powerful and strengthening than an occasional monumental moment or landmark lesson. “All things must come to pass in their time,” the Lord has said. “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (Doctrine and Covenants 64:32–33; see also Alma 37:6–7). So don’t give up, and don’t worry about accomplishing something grand every time. Just be consistent in your efforts.

In the Home, Learning and Living Are Inseparable

The gospel takes on immediate relevance in the home. There the people with whom you are learning the gospel are the people with whom you will live it—every day. In fact, much of the time, living the gospel is how we learn the gospel. So as you learn and teach the gospel at home, look for ways to connect what you are learning with what you are doing. In your home, let the gospel be something you strive to live by, not just something you talk about.

woman teaching children

Teaching opportunities in the family frequently occur in informal, everyday moments.

Teaching Children

Children Need Variety

All children are different, and as they develop, their needs will change. Varying your teaching methods will help you meet their diverse needs. For example, consider using the following:

  • Stories. Stories help children see how the gospel applies to everyday life. Use stories from the scriptures, from your own life, from your family history, or from Church magazines, especially stories about the Savior. Plan ways to involve children in the story—by holding pictures, repeating phrases, or acting out parts.

  • Visual aids. Pictures, videos, and objects can help children understand and remember gospel principles. Many pictures and videos can be found in the Media Library on

  • Music. Hymns and other sacred songs can help children feel God’s love, feel the Spirit, and learn gospel truths. The melodies, rhythms, and simple rhymes can help children remember gospel truths for years to come. As you sing with children, help them discover and understand the principles taught in the songs.

Most children learn best when multiple senses are involved. Find ways to help children use their senses of sight, hearing, and touch as they learn. In some situations, you may even find ways to include their senses of smell and taste!

Children Are Creative

When you invite children to draw, build, color, or write something related to a gospel principle, you help them better understand the principle and you give them a tangible reminder of what they have learned. They can also use what they have created to share what they learned with others. Each issue of the Friend magazine includes creative activities for children.

Children Are Curious

When children ask questions, see them as opportunities, not as distractions. Children’s questions are an indication that they are ready to learn, and their questions give you valuable insights into what they are thinking and feeling. Help them see that the answers to their spiritual questions can be found in the scriptures and the words of living prophets.

Children Need Love Even When They Are Disruptive

Sometimes a child acts in ways that disrupt the learning of others. Most behavioral disruptions grow out of an unmet need. When this happens, be patient, loving, and understanding about the challenges the child may be facing. He or she may just need more opportunities to participate in the lesson in positive ways—for example, by holding a picture, drawing something, or reading a scripture.

If a child continues to be disruptive, it may be helpful to speak to him or her individually. In a spirit of love and patience, explain your expectations and your confidence that he or she can meet them. Praise the child when he or she makes better choices.

Children Have Much to Share

When children learn something new, they naturally want to share it with others. Encourage this desire by giving children opportunities to teach gospel principles to each other, their family members, and their friends. Also ask them to share with you their thoughts, feelings, and experiences related to the principles you are teaching. You will find that they have insights that are simple, pure, and powerful.

Children Can Feel the Spirit but May Need Help Recognizing His Influence

Even children who have not yet received the gift of the Holy Ghost can feel His influence, especially when they are learning about Jesus Christ and His gospel. When they make righteous choices, they can feel the Savior’s approval through the Spirit. Teach children about the different ways the Spirit communicates with us. Help them recognize His voice as He speaks to them. This will help them develop a habit of seeking and acting on personal revelation throughout their lives.

Teaching Youth

Youth Have Great Potential

Youth have the potential to do remarkable things in the Lord’s service. Many experiences recorded in the scriptures illustrate that God has confidence in the spiritual abilities of young people. If the youth sense that you trust them, their confidence in their divine potential will grow and they will amaze you with what they can accomplish. Lovingly help them see what Heavenly Father knows they can become. Follow the Savior’s example by continuing to love and encourage them, patiently working with them, and never giving up on them.

Youth Are Learning about Themselves

The youth you teach are forming the foundations of their testimony. They are in the process of discovering their beliefs and convictions. They are making decisions that will affect the course of their lives. To survive spiritually in these perilous times and to fulfill the Lord’s mission for them, the youth you teach will need to know how to find strength during their trials, answers to their questions, and courage to “stand as witnesses of God” (Mosiah 18:9).

Youth have a growing desire to learn things by reasoning and experience rather than by simply being told things. This means that teaching youth will require good listening skills. When youth feel understood, they will feel more open to counsel and guidance. Assure them that the Lord knows them and will help them as they wrestle with questions and trials. They can exercise their faith in Him by developing a daily habit of prayer and scripture study and by serving others. Encouraging youth to participate in Church classes and study on their own can help them have personal experiences that will build their testimony of their divine heritage.

Many Youth Are Comfortable Using Technology

If the youth you teach have their own electronic devices, remember that these devices are tools to enhance learning. Teach them how to use their electronic scriptures and other resources found in the Gospel Library. You can also send messages and links to youth to help them prepare for upcoming lessons.

Sunday School class

Youth need to understand what Heavenly Father knows they can become.

Teaching Adults

Adults Can Take Responsibility for Their Learning

Adult learners are capable of acting for themselves in gospel learning settings (see 2 Nephi 2:26). Invite them to prepare for gospel discussions by studying something ahead of time, and encourage them to share what they are learning by the Spirit. You might also ask them which gospel principles they would like to spend time learning about together.

Adults Draw on Their Experiences When Learning

Job stated, “With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding” (Job 12:12). Generally, wisdom and spiritual understanding come after years of experience. As you teach adults, invite them to share experiences that have built their faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. This will give them opportunities to testify about how they have come to know that the gospel principles they are studying are true. Sharing experiences will also build relationships between those you teach, helping “all … be edified of all” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:122).

Adults Seek Practical Application

The adults you teach may have many roles and responsibilities in their professions, communities, Church callings, and families. When they study the gospel, they are often thinking about how what they are learning can help them in those roles. Invite them to see how the word of God is relevant to their unique circumstances. You can do this by asking them how gospel principles are meaningful and applicable to their lives.

Adults Can Think in Complex Ways

Because of their experience and knowledge, adults know that there are not always easy answers to gospel questions. They can appreciate that a scripture passage may have multiple meanings, and they can apply a gospel principle to a variety of life situations. Invite them to ponder how gospel principles relate to each other and to what is happening in their lives. Encourage participation and discussion so that they can learn from each other’s unique perspectives.

woman teaching class

Adults can share many experiences that have built their faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

Teaching People with Disabilities

Help Each Person Grow and Progress

Joseph Smith taught, “All the minds and spirits that God ever sent into the world are susceptible of enlargement” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 210). Assume that all God’s children are capable of increasing in knowledge and progressing. Ask the Lord to help you know how to help each person.

Learn about Specific Needs

Talk to learners or their parents or caregivers. Find out how each individual best learns and what strategies are most helpful. You could also counsel with other leaders and teachers who have experience and insights to share. For helpful teaching strategies, see

Create a Positive Atmosphere

Create a positive atmosphere where everyone feels safe and loved. Do not assume that all learners with disabilities are the same, and treat each person with love and respect. Encourage others to be kind and accepting.

Ensure That All Can Participate

Small changes can be made to activities to ensure that all learners can learn, including those with physical limitations or learning difficulties. For instance, if an activity suggests showing a picture, you could sing a related song instead to include learners with visual impairments.

Establish Consistent Routines and Structure

One way to establish a routine is to create a poster with a schedule. Your schedule might include prayers, teaching time, and activity time. Following a schedule can help reduce feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for some learners.

Understand Why Challenging Behaviors Happen

Learn about disabilities or circumstances that may influence a person to act inappropriately. Pay careful attention to what is happening when challenging behaviors arise. Prayerfully consider how to modify the situation in order to better support learners.

For more information about teaching people with disabilities, see

Young Women class

Teachers can create a positive learning environment where everyone feels accepted and loved.

Virtual Teaching

Become Familiar with Technology

Before your class or meeting, spend some time getting familiar with the technology you’ll be using. Explore some of its features, such as how to share videos or pictures. Consider holding a “test” meeting with family members or friends.

Most wards and stakes have a technology specialist. You might also know others who have experience with virtual meetings. Ask for their advice or guidance.

Eliminate Potential Distractions

If possible, find a quiet place to attend your meeting. Noises in the background can be distracting. Encourage learners to do the same or to keep their microphones muted if they’re not speaking.

Use the Camera

If possible, keep your camera on so that learners can see your face. Invite (but don’t require) learners to turn their cameras on too. This can help create a spirit of unity and mutual support.

Use the Virtual Chat Feature

Many virtual meeting programs allow participants to type questions or comments in a chat window. Some also allow participants to virtually raise their hands. Let learners know about these features. You may want to assign someone to watch for raised hands or comments in the chat so that you can focus your attention on leading the discussion.

Find Ways to Involve Learners

Virtual learning settings sometimes make it hard for people to be seen and heard. Make a conscious effort to involve those who want to be involved. Sometimes this means creating smaller groups (for example, by breaking up a large Sunday School class). Sometimes it means asking learners beforehand to participate in a specific way. Don’t let the limitations of technology cause you to forget about or overlook people who are eager and willing to learn.