Bible Teaching Methods: Methodology for Sunday School & Other Bible Teachers

This Month's Bible Teaching Method:

Assignments

Students are asked to do some work outside of class to either reinforce a session's teaching or to prepare for an upcoming session.
 

In Choosing Teaching Methodology consider your group factors:

Click on a factor or scroll down.

Teacher Training Worksheet Based on These Group Factors:
Tips for Choosing & Using Methods

Group size 
If the assignment involves only work outside of class, it can be used with any size group. If the assignment will include in-class reports by the students regarding the work they have done, then the optimal group size for this method is 10 or less. Larger groups could be divided into smaller groups for sharing. Or, you could keep the number of reports to only a few students.

Resources needed 
What is needed will depend on the type of assignment. You may possibly need books, workbooks, Bibles, commentaries, concordances, videos, audio tapes, paper and pens.

Objective targeted 
Assignments can be designed to accomplish a variety of objectives. Research assignments will target knowledge. Implementation of a lesson through a project of some sort will target behavior. Certain writing assignments could be reactionary and therefore target attitudes.

Use modeled 
Biblical Precedence: In Mark 6:7-12 we read of Jesus sending the disciples out on an assignment. They had been sitting under His teaching and observing Him preach, teach, and heal the sick. Now it was time for them to implement what they had learned.
 
Following are examples of possible assignments:   book report, group project, interview someone, keep a log/journal/diary, reactionary writing, listen to a tape, reading, observation, reflective thinking, research, review, service project, take an opinion poll, watch a video or TV program, workbook

Proximity of others 
Closeness of other classes is not relevant as this method is done outside of class.

Finances needed 
This method can be used without any cost. Assignments, however, may incur costs for books, workbooks, videos, tapes, or supplies for projects. If the church budget does not allow for the purchase of books or workbooks for each student, the cost may need to be passed on in full or part to the students.

Age level 
This method is best used with upper elementary school age through adult. If used with younger grade school children, you should solicit the help of parents. Depending on the assignment, parental involvement may also be needed for older children as well.

Categorization 
This method is expressional. If done as a group project, it will yield interactive communication.

Time required 
The teacher determines how much time students will need to put into the assignment by the type of assignment chosen. The assignment itself will generally take little class time as it is done outside of class. However, if students report on what they have done, this method can use a lot of class time especially in larger classes.

Openness of group 
Assignments, other than reading and workbooks, are not common methodology in the church setting and so could meet with some resistance. It may remind people too much of school. Sunday School and Bible study attendance is voluntary, unlike regular school. With that comes the concept that it should be easy and require little effort. Busy people may adversely react to one more thing to do. If your students are not used to this method, start slowly with small assignments and make the assignments as interesting as possible.

Room size 
The size of the classroom is irrelevant as assignments are done outside of class.

Skills needed 
 

Successful use of assignments requires the implementation of the four C's:

Choice: Build ownership by letting students help decide on the assignment. Or, give them choices in how to do the assignment. This will increase their motivation as it allows them to complete the assignment according to their individual learning styles.
 
Convincing: Some would suggest giving rewards to increase motivation. The ultimate goal, however, is intrinsic motivation rather than extrinsic. A reward system can be the easy way out for the teacher. If students see value and relevancy in what you are asking them to do, their motivation will be increased. Students need to know why they should invest their time outside of class. If perceived as busy work, the assignment may be a source of frustration more than a tool to help. The more practical, interesting, and relevant the assignment is, the more your students will tend to be convinced of their need to do the assignment. Even if you convince students of the value of homework, too much of a good thing will de-motivate. Be sensitive to people's schedules. Be careful not to overwhelm them with too high of expectations.
 
Communication: Clearly communicate what students are to do, how to do it, where to get resources, and when it should be completed. Putting instructions in writing alleviates potential confusion and memory problems.
 
Check-up: Build in a way of encouraging and holding students accountable through the process. Provide feedback after completion of an assignment during the next session. This may include reports given by the students.

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Add more variety and skill to your teaching! This resource includes helps and resources for 57 different Bible teaching methods.

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(Last updated 2/01/17)