Training Begins with Leadership
If leaders are not convinced of the need to personally become better equipped in ministry, they will have a harder time convincing teachers of its importance. As they exhibit a humble, teachable spirit, teachers will come to realize that everyone needs to learn and grow, including them.
Further, leadership needs to be on the same page regarding the ultimate goal of teaching and basic philosophy of ministry and how best to implement that approach in their ministries. This takes coming together to learn and grow as a ministry team. When leaders each have their own agendas and don't come under a broad umbrella, it can be confusing for people to really know what is the church's Biblical education goal.
Training Should be Tailored to Your Church & Your Teachers
Some content will be pertinent to Bible teachers everywhere that is very important to the teaching-learning process such as the Teaching for Changed Lives. No matter how long a person has taught, this is always a good reminder.
If people do not leave changed, it will be as though the chairs were empty. Teachers need to make sure they are always Aiming for Empty-less Teaching.
However, while we all can use reminders about a variety of topics, how much more effective if the training fits the specific needs of the teachers, their skill levels, learning styles, teaching experience, etc. For example:
- Some will be new teachers who need to see more of the big picture involved in the teaching-learning process, like in the Teaching Ministry Manual, whereas others will be veteran teachers who need to go more in-depth and deal with more specific issues, perhaps needing help to Rediscover the Joy of Teaching.
- Some will need help Teaching the Bible to Children whereas others will be Breaking Down Walls in adults to help them learn. They should all know the Age Level Characteristics and needs for the group they teach.
- Some teachers will need help structuring A Lesson Worth Teaching whereas others might have that mastered but need help Sharpening Their Bible Teaching Methods.
- Some children's teachers will need help learning how to use a variety of Bible Learning Activities whereas others simply need to get a better handle on how to use Guided Conversation while doing activities.
- Some teachers will need help being Creative Bible Teachers whereas others need help simply Being.
- Some teachers will need help Effectively Handling Classroom Discipline whereas others need help bringing their own lives and teaching under the Control of the Holy Spirit or learning to Manage Their Time.
- Some teachers need to start with the Basics of Classroom Discipline whereas others need help with specific discipline issues.
- Some teachers are Called to Teach ... But Still Afraid and consequently need reassurances from God's Word.
- Some teachers will need encouragement along the way. And they need more than a pat on the back.
Training Requires a Plan
Without a plan it will be too easy to get lax on teacher training or miss providing essential training.
- How are you going to determine what training teachers really need?
- How are you going to provide that training?
Teacher Training Must Be On-going
Part of the plan you develop involves scheduling on-going training for all teachers. Teacher Training isn't just for new teachers. No one has arrived, no matter how long the person has been teaching and no matter how much previous training the person has received.
Without on-going training, teachers can . . .
plateau. -- They stop improving.
get stuck in a rut. -- They fail to use new ways of teaching.
become delusional. -- They think their teaching is better than it is.
experience frustration. -- They don't know how to fix problems.
quit. -- They don't feel supported.
When training is modeled by the leaders and is tailored to your teachers, you will experience a higher success rate in teacher participation. Yes, people are busy and don't want another meeting. Who said teacher training is all about going to another meeting?
You can use a variety of means beyond attending in-house group training sessions or going to an outside seminar/conference. You can meet teachers where they are in terms of time commitment and preferred style of learning. Click below for suggestions about the various means:
articles (online & hardcopy)
computer & internet courses
round table format or panel
visit & observe another class
Get even more ideas for using all of the teacher training means to the left in this resource along with a one page resource assessing your training approach and a two page survey to assess teachers' needs for training. (Please Note: This module is part of the Christian Education Files Download but can be ordered separately.)