“29: Concluding the Lesson,” Teaching, No Greater Call: A Resource Guide for Gospel Teaching (1999), 94–95
“29,” Teaching, No Greater Call, 94–95
“Oh, my time is up, but I’m not quite finished with the lesson. Just a moment. I’ll hurry through this last part.” Nearly everyone has heard a statement like this from a teacher. Such statements indicate that a teacher has lost an important teaching opportunity: the opportunity to bring the lesson to an effective conclusion.
Effective conclusions do not just happen; they must be prepared as part of the lesson. Conclusions are most effective when they have some of the following characteristics:
They are short, concise, and focused. Generally, they should not include material that you have not taught in the lesson.
They summarize and tie together the principles you have discussed.
They highlight important points made by those who have participated.
They help learners apply gospel principles in their lives.
They are uplifting, motivating, and positive.
They include time for testimony.
Following are some examples of ways to conclude a lesson:
Restate the lesson objective. Ask those you teach how they will apply it in their lives during the coming week.
Before the lesson begins, assign one or two individuals to listen carefully and be prepared to help summarize a major point of the lesson or the entire lesson.
Ask those you teach what they might say if someone wants to know what they have learned from the lesson.
Use a work sheet to help those you teach summarize the main ideas of the lesson (see “Work Sheets,” pages 183–84).
To present a good conclusion, you need to be alert and flexible in your use of time. Even well-prepared lessons do not always unfold as planned. The needs of those you teach may lead you to spend more time on a particular point than you have anticipated.
When this happens, you need to be aware of the clock. Bring the discussion to a close before the time runs out. Do all you can to make a smooth transition from the subject being discussed by including it in a quick summary of the lesson. Then conclude the lesson.
At times, you may need to alter your prepared conclusions because of a particular discussion, comment, or prompting from the Spirit. The following story is an example of a teacher who took advantage of a unique opportunity to conclude a lesson:
Toward the end of an early morning seminary class, the teacher desired to bring a discussion to a conclusion. The main idea of the lesson was that we come unto Christ as we obey the commandments. The class had talked about things some teenagers do that keep them from coming unto the Savior and fully receiving the blessings of His Atonement.
The teacher had planned to conclude by referring to a list on the chalkboard. But he had noticed a painting that a student had completed for a school art project. It was a depiction of a lamb peering through a wooden fence. The teacher asked permission to show the painting to the class, and he explained what he saw in the painting. “As we discussed in class,” he said, “the Savior is the Lamb of God, who gave His life that we all might come unto Him and through Him have eternal life. The fence in the painting is like the barriers that separate us from Him.”
The teacher expressed hope that the students would remove “fences” that keep them from drawing nearer to the Savior. He testified of the Savior’s invitation: “Come unto me, … and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). The class period ended, and the teacher returned the painting. The influence of the Spirit lingered as the students left the building.