Bible Teaching Methods: Methodology for Sunday School & Other Bible Teachers
This Month's Bible Teaching Method:
Students participate in a generally fun yet structured activity which could be either mental or physical involving set rules, possibly strategy, and often competition.
In Choosing Teaching Methodology consider your group factors:
Click on a factor or scroll down.
Tips for Choosing & Using Methods
The type of game will determine its use as some games can be played by the individual and others with groups ranging from two to almost any size group. Relays can work well with mid to large size groups but may not be good for a very small group. Board games generally involve only 2-6 players per board so you would need more than one board in a larger group.
What props and supplies are needed will be dependent on the game. Some games do not require any materials while others may utilize a number of items like balls, bean bags, paper, spinners, game boards and markers, chalk or white boards, cards, objects, computers and computer software, etc. Some games can require an elaborate set if fashioning it after a game show or making a simulation game in which you are trying to imitate reality.
Games are a fun way to review or reinforce knowledge. They can also be used to teach or practice a skill (i.e., how to use a Bible) or to help with memorization. Games may help develop problem-solving skills. They also provide opportunity to develop social and communication skills.
Games have long been a part of VBS or Bible club programs in the church. They have also been used as time fillers in the classroom setting. Games have been less widely used well as an instructional method. Curriculum for children often includes some games but a tight connection between the game and the lesson content is not always made.
Proximity of others
If the game is of a physical nature, the noise volume is likely to disturb nearby classes. If the game is of a mental nature, it may not disturb other classes any more than normal classroom activities.
Costs can range from none or minimal to very high depending on the type of game. Computer, video, and simulation games generally can get rather costly. Board and card games are generally not as costly. Making your own game or using props you already have will keep the costs down.
Games can be used with all ages but are especially good with children and youth. The younger the age, the more physical the games should tend to be. The older the students are, the more mental the games would be but even adults may benefit from physical-oriented games in the classroom at times. With preschool age remember that many still cannot read and game pieces must be large enough for easy handling since fine muscle coordination is still not developed. Also remember that the younger preschoolers play parallel and not cooperatively or interactively.
Active participation of students makes games expressional. Games may be group interactive but could also be individual.
The amount of time a game will take depends on the type of game, how many rounds you will do, and how many students will be participating. Some games can be adjusted to fit your needs while others are not as easily adaptable if you are going to see them through to completion.
Openness of group
Games are a fun way to learn. Often learning takes place without students realizing it. Playing games usually has a more informal and relaxed feel and so students may not be as hesitant to participate as they would with other discussion or question/answer methodology.
The type of game will determine the amount of space required. Generally the more physical the game, the more room will be required. The more mental the game, the less space will be needed.
Be purposeful in the use of games.
Be strategic in choosing games. Use games that enhance the learning experience and do not merely fill time.
Be strategic in when games are used. At times you may use a game at the beginning of the lesson to set the stage for what is to come. Sometimes you may use a game after the content is presented so as to reinforce or illustrate what was learned. You may also provide some content, play a game to reinforce that truth, provide more content, and then another game.
Be strategic in the frequency of using a game. Reusing the same game session after session will tend to decrease its effectiveness as a learning tool. Vary the games you use.
Sometimes you may design your own game to fit your purpose or you may change an existing game to fit what you are doing.
While you can purchase pre-made games or find game ideas in books and web sites, you may not find something that quite fits your needs or budget. Design or adapt a game to fit your content and the abilities of your students. Perusing game books and sites for ideas may be helpful to get you started.
Be creative in the use or design of games. When it comes to games, there is no excuse to be stuck in a rut. Consider some of the different types of games:
Not only should you use different types of games but also variations of those games. Some may be known games and others new or made up by you or the students. Some may be played by the individual while others may involve the total group or perhaps breaking into teams. Some may be tabletop games while others may be floor games. Some may be of a mental nature while others may range from mild to high physical activity. Some may be competitive while others may be non-competitive. Some may be outdoor games while others may be played indoors.
Keep rules simple and clear.
Confusing or complicated rules will detract from the lesson being communicated through the game. To help with clarification, you may wish to post the rules for quick reference.
Help students make the connection between the game and the lesson content.
Prior to beginning the game explain the relevance of the game to the session. Talk about what they are doing as they do it if appropriate. Ask questions after the game that make the bridge into the truth(s) being learned. Do not assume they are getting the connection. You need some form of feedback. If there is no connection, the game is recreational and not instructional and is therefore not to be considered a teaching method.
Remember Body life principles.
An added benefit of using games is the opportunity they provide to teach relational skills. Watch for teachable moments to discuss issues like honesty (no cheating), fairness, sharing (taking turns), cooperation, kindness, and consideration.
Do not let competition get out of hand. Body life principles should always be promoted in all you do. Guard the feelings and dignity of all students.
Consider the possibility of letting students design a game that fits the content.
As students research and develop the game, it will take them to higher levels of learning. Perhaps the game they make could be used by another class.
Maximize usage of props and game boards.
Design materials used for games in such a way that they can be adapted for future lessons by merely changing the content. Protect game boards or playing cards you make with laminate or clear contact paper. Store materials for easy access.
Also Check Out This Teacher Training Resource: Games as a Bible Learning Activity
(Last updated 1/01/19)