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

This Month's Bible Teaching Method:

Lecture

An oral presentation or discourse is given on a subject in a systematic, orderly way for the purpose of instruction.
 

In Choosing Teaching Methodology consider your group factors:

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

Group size
Lecture may be used in any group size. This method is particularly useful in a large group where interactive methodology is more difficult to implement.

Resources needed
A lecture can be presented without using any materials but is enhanced with the use of visual aids. This may include but not be limited to an overhead projector, Power Point presentation, chalk or white board, flip chart, props, objects, handouts, charts, graphs, and maps. Depending on the room size, you may also need an amplifying system. Many teachers find a podium to hold notes useful when lecturing.

Objective targeted
Lecture enables a teacher to cover a large amount of content in a minimal period of time. The main objective in using lecture is that students acquire information, increasing their knowledge and understanding on a subject.

Use modeled
Jesus used lectures of varying lengths. He often used this method when addressing the multitudes, a large group of people. In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), a classic example, Jesus began with a series of startling statements which undoubtedly got their attention. Poor, meek, grieving, and persecuted people aren't normally considered blessed. Through the body of His lecture, Jesus used numerous illustrations and examples to make it relevant to the people. He used the familiar to help them understand concepts. At the end of His message, Jesus encouraged application. The people were "amazed at His teaching because He taught as one who had authority" (Matt. 7:28-29).

Proximity of others
Since lecture is one-way communication, the noise volume should not be a problem for nearby classes.

Finances needed
A lecture can be done without incurring any expenses. If using visual aids with it, figure in costs of these materials and equipment needed to use them if not already available.

Age level
Lecture is best used with youth and adults. Particularly if using it with teenagers, be sure to keep it short.
 
To Read:

Categorization
Lecture is traditionally one-way communication, meant to be impressional. Because it is a monologue, it is teacher-centered.

Time required
The lecture itself can be designed to fit any length of time.

Openness of group
The biggest problem with lecture is the potential for boredom to set in if the speaker is not dynamic or if visualization is not used. Youth will especially struggle with boredom when lecture is used. For those who prefer to be passive in the classroom, lecture offers the least threat of any method.

Room size
A lecture can be given in any setting.

Skills needed
 

Preparation:

  1. Know your purposes.
    Knowing your purposes from the start will save you time in narrowing your area of focus for study. It will also help you organize and avoid rambling.
  2. Know your points.
    Spend adequate time researching your topic so you give it adequate and accurate coverage. Know what you are talking about.
  3. Know your power.
    Ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten you as you study and to provide you with insights in how to present the material. Base the authority of your teaching on the Word of God, not your personal expertise or charisma.
  4. Know your plan.
    Determine the pattern the lecture will follow to provide a systematic and logical flow. You can begin with a big idea and break that down into smaller ideas. Or, you can begin with a basic idea and develop it using several examples or illustrations. Or, you can begin with several equally important aspects of a topic and develop each aspect.
  5. Know your pupils.
    Adapt your presentation to their needs, interests, and backgrounds. Make it relevant to them.
     

Plan Your Presentation:

  1. Include the following key elements:
    Attention - an introduction that will grab their attention
    Analysis - a body of information systematically presented
    Application - a conclusion suggesting what they are to do with the information
  2. Add visualization where possible.
    Students only retain about 10% of what they hear alone. They retain about 50-65% of what they both hear and see.
  3. Use yourself as an audiovisual.
    Try to be a little animated in your facial expressions, voice inflections, gestures, and movement. Emphasize transitions by changing your posture or facing a different direction. When appropriate, dress in accordance with the theme, character, or time period about which you are speaking.
  4. Establish contact with your student.
    Show genuine interest in the students. Establish eye contact with them as you lecture. At times move away from the podium, unless you must use a stationary microphone. Use personal pronouns in your speaking. Use personal illustrations, providing some self-disclosure to let them see that you are real. Be conversational, not rigid as you speak. Use some humor to break the ice. Talk with students before and after class to build rapport with them.
  5. Allow for feedback when possible.
    The only way you will know if your students are getting it, unless you are very good at reading nonverbal cues, is to hear from them. You can use a question and answer time, reaction groups, discussion, or testing. Be gracious and patient if students interrupt your lecture with questions or comments. Remember that you are there for them, not to spout off all you know. Clarification may be needed.
  6. Highlight key points.
    Project the key points or list them on a chalk or white board or provide a handout. Do not reveal too much information in advance. Sometimes you can ask students to repeat the key points aloud as you get to them. Summarize the main points toward the end of the lecture.
  7. Engage your students.
    Encourage note-taking. Provide a handout with room under each point for notes. Be careful not to provide too much information in advance or they may read ahead and then mentally disengage. Sometimes you can ask students to read or to repeat what you say in unison. Other times you can ask for a response by the raising of hands or having them stand.
  8. Pursue understanding, not merely the acquisition of information.
    Rephrase what you say throughout the lecture without getting too redundant. Use vocabulary on their level. Don't seek to impress. Use illustrations that are relevant to their life experiences.
  9. Consider alternatives to traditional, straight lecture. Perhaps you can use one of the following ideas.
    • Lecture Forum - Immediately follow the lecture with open discussion of the material presented. Students are given the opportunity to ask the lecturer questions. If the group is large, break into smaller groups for the discussion and have a representative from each group ask the questions. Or, students may write down their questions, which are then collected and given to the lecturer.
    • Listening Teams - Divide the class into teams giving each team something they must listen for that will be covered in the lecture like a certain aspect or a question to be answered. Teams then share what they glean with the entire group.
    • Reaction Panel - Members of the class or other resource people brought in form a panel to react to the lecture.
    • Screened Speech - A speaker is given questions from the class to respond to in his/her speech.
    • Segmented Lecture - The monologue is broken into short segments with time between each segment for discussion or some other kind of interactive method for purposes of clarification or reinforcement.
    • Symposium - Have several people lecture, each on a different aspect of an issue. Turn it into a symposium forum by following their speeches with open discussion.
       

Practice the Presentation:

  1. Get a good idea of how much time the lecture will take by timing yourself as you practice.
  2. Get familiar enough with the content so that if you are interrupted you can reorganize on the spot.
     

Process the Results:

  1. Evaluate if your purposes were accomplished.
  2. Determine if there is a different or better way you could have presented the material based on feedback from the students. Learn for the future.
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(Last updated 5/01/19)