“25: Teaching with Variety,” Teaching, No Greater Call: A Resource Guide for Gospel Teaching (1999), 89–90
“25,” Teaching, No Greater Call, 89–90
When a homemaker plans a week of dinner menus, she is not likely to decide to prepare identical meals on seven consecutive nights. Even when her budget is so limited that she has to prepare potatoes every night, she soon learns that there are many ways to serve potatoes.
The gospel can likewise be presented in a number of different ways. No teacher should fall into a monotonous pattern of presenting the same kind of lesson week after week. When you use a variety of learning activities, learners tend to understand gospel principles better and retain more. A carefully selected method can make a principle clearer, more interesting, and more memorable.
As you prepare to teach, ensure that you use a variety of teaching methods from lesson to lesson. This may mean using something as simple as a colorful poster or wall chart in one lesson and a list of questions on the chalkboard in another.
In addition to using a variety of methods from lesson to lesson, you should teach each lesson with variety. Children, with their natural curiosity, respond especially well to a variety of learning activities—usually between five and seven per lesson. Youth also respond well to a variety of methods. Even if you teach adults, you should consider using at least three methods in each lesson.
There are many resources available to help you choose methods when preparing your lessons. Keep in mind the following ideas as you plan which methods to use in a particular lesson:
Consider first the suggestions given in the lesson manual. When necessary, adapt them to the needs of those you teach.
Have a definite purpose for using a method. Choose methods that support and reinforce the main purpose of the lesson. They should be true to fact and life and emphasize truth, goodness, and beauty. Do not choose methods merely to amuse or take up time.
Select methods that are appropriate and effective. Some methods, such as stories and using the chalkboard, will be used far more frequently than others, such as panel discussions and games. (See “Choosing Appropriate Methods,” page 91; “Choosing Effective Methods,” page 92.)
When appropriate, choose methods that actively engage the learners. This is important for all learners, but especially for children.
Practice using the methods before you teach the lesson. This is especially important if you have not used a particular method before.
The chart on page 90 can help you determine if there is enough variety in your lessons. You may want to make a similar chart in your journal or in a notebook. At the top of the blank columns, write the title of each of your next five lessons. As you prepare the lessons, put a check in the “lesson” column opposite each method you use.
The methods listed at the top of the chart are those most commonly used in gospel teaching. You may find yourself using some of these methods in almost all of your lessons. The other methods listed can also be effective depending on what you are teaching and the needs of those you teach.
As you use this chart, you may begin to see patterns in your teaching. There may be some methods that you use in every lesson and others that you never use.
Methods I Can Use
Commonly Used Methods
Comparisons and Object Lessons
Paper Stand-up Figures