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Featured Article:
Help Them Learn and Retain

November 2023, Volume 8.8

Did you know neuroscience research tells us that God made our brains to need a break after about 20 minutes of lecture? Here's how you can change things up and help your learners retain what they have learned...

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Adult Education: Additum ▾

11-2023Teaching Like JesusDonald W. Patterson
08-2023Avoid Frustrating Your Class Members
05-202324 Expectations of Adult Learners

Breaking Down Resistance

Have you ever stood in front of a Bible information class and looked out to see some adult learners who were just not into being there at all? You can see it in their body language. It's easy to assume that apparent resistance to your teaching stems from a resistance to the message you're sharing. But Bible teachers need to be careful about such assumptions. It may very well be that they're not a fan of your message. But there are other factors that may contribute to adult learners' apparent uninterest. Consider that they may be:

  • Afraid of the classroom. Perhaps in their past learning experiences, they’ve been ridiculed or embarrassed in some way.
  • Afraid of the unknown. You know you. You know the gospel. But learners could be brand-new to both.
  • Out of tune with your teaching style at the moment. People who gravitate toward visual learning or talk learning, might not be drawn in by lecture. That’s why it’s good to vary teaching methods, even in content-heavy courses like Bible information classes.
  • Not comfortable with the pace. Maybe they’re shutting down because you’ve given them too much information to digest at once, or conversely because they'd like to be challenged more.
  • Unable to see the relevance. Remember that adult learners want to know the “why?” of their learning, and benefit from seeing regular, applicable connections to their lives.

As we look at the above list, we see things that we can control and adjust that might ease their discomfort and give them a situation more conducive to their learning.


A word on "experience"

Perhaps you remember the SETPI principles of adult education. Adult learners are:

  • Self-directed
  • Experienced
  • Task-oriented
  • Problem-solving
  • Interested in immediate impact

To focus on the second one, it’s good to point out that experience doesn’t just include the things of career or home life. The experience of adults also includes insights of self-knowledge. Adults have learned about the way they learn. Their experience has informed them regarding how they think about things, the mental frameworks that they bring to the classroom along with them. Spiritually, they’ve had decades to wrestle with the temptations that are unique to them, their particular struggles and doubts, and their experience with God’s gracious providence shown and promises kept. On the one hand, the fact that adults bring years of self-knowledge to our classrooms reminds us to vary our methods of inputting info and getting them to share what they know. At the same time, the learners’ experience might call for some “unlearning”— learning activities that challenge the frameworks of thinking that are ingrained in adults. For example, collaborative activities can introduce us to others’ points of view. Critical thinking activities might also spur additional thought as to the “why” of one’s position on a particular topic.

07-2022What Is Collaboration?
05-2022Begin With a Visible AgendaJoanne Ricevuto
04-2022Tips for Teaching AdultsBrooks Doherty
03-2022More Resources
02-2022Good Teaching?Dr. Katie Novak
01-2022UDL vs. Differentiated InstructionDr. Katie Novak
11-2021In Defense of LectureProfessor Thomas Kock
09-2021Student Recruitment
08-2021How To Write Measurable Learning Objectives
07-202115 active learning activities to energize your next college classTricia Whenham
06-20218 Quick Checks for UnderstandingJay McTighe
04-2021Are You Teaching With One Eye?Journal of Adult Theological Education, 12 (2), 106-120
03-2021Pedagogy or Andragogy?
02-2021How to 'Read' Students During Remote LearningNina Portugal
12-2020St. Augustine Taught the Catechumens and So Do WePastor Daniel Habben
10-2020Connections: A Fresh Approach To Teaching JesusStephen Koelpin, Brian Schmidt, Peter Zaferos
09-2020Flipped Classroom for Bible Study 
08-2020Implementing Active Learning in Your Classroom 
07-2020Watch and Learn: Study Shows How Brain Gains Knowledge Through Observation 
06-2020Christ on Screen: The Benefits and Drawbacks of Christian-Based Visual Media in Evangelism and EntertainmentTyler Swiderski
02-20208 Habits of the Excellent Bible TeacherAndrew Hess
01-2020Intergenerational Education in the Church: Parental Benefits of Learning Alongside ChildrenJoshua J. Jensen
12-2019Increase Student Learning in Only 3 SecondsJennifer Sullivan
11-2019In Defense of LecturingMary Burgan
10-2019The Big List of Class Discussion StrategiesJennifer Gonzalez
09-2019Ministering to Millennials 
08-20196 Myths About IntrovertsCarolyn Gregoire
07-2019Bible Class AttendanceAaron J. Platzer
06-2019Helping Students Memorize: Tips from Cognitive ScienceMichelle Miller, PhD
05-2019Building the Body of ChristCharles Westra
04-2019What Does This Mean - The Connection Between Debriefing and Spiritual GrowthJustin W. Heise
03-2019Questions that Evoke WonderRebecca Zambrano
02-2019Leading Small Group Discussions?Andrew S. Mason
01-201912 Tools for Building Review ActivitiesRichard Byrne
12-2018Emotions and LearningReinhard Pekrun
11-2018The Unique Task of Teaching AdultsRoberta Hestenes
10-2018Strengthen Your Scores With Excercise 
09-2018Spaced Repetition: The Most Effective Way to LearnJosette Akresh-Gonzales
08-2018Chunking in Your Course DesignConnie Malamed
07-2018Dialogue Learning's Impact on Teaching - Dialogue Learning pt.5 
06-2018Dialogue Learning's Impact on Teaching - Dialogue Learning pt.4 
05-2018Dialogue Learning - Dialogue Learning pt.3 
04-2018Dialogue Learning - Dialogue Learning pt.2 
03-20186 Core Principles for Adult Learning 
02-2018Polish Your Communication Skills 
01-2018Avoid Nominalizations 
12-2017How to Electrify Your Writing with Verbs: A Songwriting LessonPat Pattison
11-2017Designing Developmentally: Simple Strategies to Get Students ThinkingMaryellen Weimer, PhD
10-2017Three Reasons to Ditch Technology in Your Flipped ClassroomBarbi Honeycutt, PhD
10-2017Ready to Flip: Three Ways to Hold Students Accountable for Pre-Class WorkBarbi Honeycutt, PhD
09-2017Backward Design, Forward ProgressPete Burkholder, PhD
06-2017How Do Students Learn from Participation in Class Discussion?Elise J. Dallimore, PhD, Julie H. Hertenstein, DBA, and Marjorie B. Platt, PhD
04-2017How Storytelling Can Enhance Any Learning ExperienceSaga Briggs
03-201725 Question Stems Framed Around Bloom’s TaxonomyTeachThought Staff
02-2017Ever Wonder…How do I get my audience involved and get them to ask questions?Alaina Frederick
01-2017Does Discussion Make a Difference?Maryellen Weimer, PhD
12-2016Connections: A Fresh Approach To Teaching JesusStephen Koelpin, Brian Schmidt, Peter Zaferos
11-2016Tips to Help the Bible Come Alive for Bible Study GroupsMary Jane Oliveri
10-2016The Unique Task of Teaching AdultsRoberta Hestenes
09-2016Benefits of Using Biblical Narratives to TeachBrian J. Roloff
08-2016Making the Most of ‘Reporting Out’ after Group WorkBridget Arend PhD
07-2016Millennials and the Gospel: Ministering to a Discontinuously Different GenerationJames M. Hein
06-2016How the Brain LearnsDavid A. Sousa
05-2016Case Study-Based LearningMind Tools Editorial Team
04-2016Nine Ways to Improve Class DiscussionsMaryellen Weimer
03-2016Inclusion Means ALLJane Vella
02-2016Goldilocks and the 'Just Right' Strategy for Helping Students Acquire New ContentKaren S. Buchanan
01-2016Teaching Like JesusDonald Patterson
12-2015New Research on the State of DiscipleshipBarna Group
11-2015LNRA - Learning Needs and Resources AssessmentGlobal Learning Parters
10-201535 Ways to Choose Breakout Group LeadersEd Jones Training Services
09-2015Sample of No Fishing QuestionsThomas Zock
08-20155 Top Tips to Get Into Your Creative GrooveTraining Zone
07-2015Five Factors Changing Women's Relationship with ChurchesBarna Group
06-201524 Expectations of Adult LearnersEd Jones Training Services
05-2015Takeout Learning: 4 Tips to Encourage Learning TransferAssoc. for Talent Develop.
05-2015Is Learning Increasingly Self-Directed in the Digital Era?Huffington Post

Curriculum Connection ▾

11-20235-Minute Bible Studies: For Couples
Sample Lesson PDF
08-2023The Fruit of the Spirit
Sample Lesson PDF
05-2023Active Parenting Bible Study
Sample Lesson PDF
02-20235-Minute Bible Studies: For Families
Sample Lesson PDF
11-2022How to Interpret the Bible
Sample Lesson PDF
09-2022Here We Stand: The Legacy of Worms, 500 Years Later
Sample Lesson PDF
08-2022Irreconcilable: A Study of the Pharisees and Their Conflict with Jesus
Sample Lesson PDF
07-2022The Gospel to Share
Sample Lesson PDF
05-2022Idols We Never Knew We Had
Sample Lesson PDF
04-2022Here We Stand
Sample Lesson PDF
03-2022Grand Themes and Key Words
Sample Lesson PDF
02-202210 Lies About God
Sample Lesson PDF
01-20225-Minute Bible Studies for Families
Sample Lesson PDF
11-2021Civil Government: God's Other Kingdom
Sample Lesson PDF
Sample Lesson PDF
08-2021Reformation: Grace, Faith, Scripture
Sample Lesson PDF
07-2021The Bloodstained Path To God
Sample Lesson PDF
06-20215-minute Bible Studies For Families
Sample Lesson PDF
04-2021Flowers In The Desert
Sample Lesson PDF
03-2021Jonah: A Prophet in Spite of Himself
Sample Lesson PDF
02-202119-Minutes With Luther
Sample Lesson PDF
12-20205-Minute Bible Studies: For Families
Sample Lesson PDF
10-2020In God’s Orchard: Cultivating the Fruit of a Spirit-Filled Life
Sample Lesson PDF
09-2020Bible Symbols
Sample Lesson PDF
08-2020Bible Parables and Word Pictures Download
Sample Lesson PDF
07-2020Civil Government Small Group Study
Sample Lesson PDF
06-2020God's Word—The Foundation for Our Family Download
Leader's Guide PDF - Student Lesson PDF
02-20205-Minute Bible Studies: For Teens
Sample File PDF
01-2020My Brother's Keeper
Leader's Guide PDF
12-2019Politics Is Driving Me Crazy!
Leader's Guide PDF
11-2019Luther's Large Catechism
Leader's Guide PDF - Student Lesson PDF
10-2019Growing In Grace: Adult Bible Information Course
Leader's Guide PDF - Student Lesson PDF
09-2019End Times: Jesus Is Coming Soon
Leader's Guide PDF - Student Lesson PDF
08-2019Predestination: Chosen in Christ
Leader's Guide PDF - Student Lesson PDF
07-2019Reformation and Martin Luther
Reformation: Grace, Faith, Scripture
The Word Endures: Lessons From Luther Yesterday and Today
The Word Endures: Lessons From the Lives of Powerful Politicians
A Return to Grace: Luther’s Life and Legacy
06-2019Pray, Praise, and Give Thanks
Teacher's Guide PDF
05-2019Training Christians for Ministry
04-2019Sing to the Lord: A Study of Lutheran Hymnody
Leader's Guide PDF - Student Lesson PDF
03-2019Lord's Supper: The Lamb's High Feast
Leader's Guide PDF - Student Lesson PDF
02-2019Growing in the Word
Teacher's Guide PDF - Student Lesson PDF
01-2019Growing in Grace
Teacher's Guide PDF - Student Lesson PDF
12-2018From Promise to Glory
Leader's Guide PDF - Student Lesson PDF - Time Line Sample
11-2018The Lyrics of Love - Solomon's Song of Songs
Leader's Guide PDF - Student Lesson PDF / RTF
10-2018We Still Believe and Confess
Leader's Guide PDF - Student Lesson PDF / RTF
09-2018The Glory of Living Under the Cross
Leader's Guide PDF - Student Lesson PDF / RTF
08-2018Lifestyle Witnessing
Teacher's Guide PDF - Student Lesson PDF / RTF
07-2018The Narrow Lutheran Middle
Leader's Guide PDF - Student Lesson PDF
06-2018Great Gospel Events in the Lives of Elijah and Elisha
Leader's Guide PDF - Student Lesson PDF / RTF
05-201819 Minutes With the Messiah
Leader's Guide PDF
04-2018Influencing God's Children
Leader's Guide PDF - Student Lesson PDF / .rtf
03-2018God's People Discussion Guides
Leader's Guide PDF - Sample Lesson PDF / .rtf
02-2018How Can They Teach That: And Still Claim to Believe the Bible?
Leader's Guide PDF - Sample Lesson PDF / .rtf
01-2018The Glory of Jesus' Suffering, Death, and Resurrection
Leader's Guide PDF / .rtf
12-201719 Minute Bible Studies
Sample Lesson PDF / .rtf
11-2017364 Days of Thanksgiving
Leader's Guide PDF - Student Lesson: PDF / .rtf
10-2017End Times - Jesus Is Coming Soon
Leader's Guide PDF - Student Lesson: PDF / .rtf
10-201719-Minutes With Luther: Baptism
09-2017Reformation: Grace, Faith, Scripture
Leader's Guide PDF - Student Lesson: PDF / .doc
Leader's Guide Full Study: PDF - Student Lesson: .doc - Video Segment: Video Segment
06-2017Timely Topics, Timeless Truths, Set 2
Leader's Guide PDF - Student Lesson: PDF / .doc
04-2017The Word Endures
Leader's Guide PDF - Student Lesson: PDF / .doc
03-2017A Study of World Religions
Leader's Guide PDF - Student Lesson: PDF / .doc
Leader's Guide PDF - Student Lesson: PDF / .doc
01-2017Civil Government
Leader's Guide PDF - Student Lesson: PDF / .doc
12-2016The People in David’s Life and in Yours
Leader's Guide PDF - Student Lesson: PDF / .doc
11-2016Our Christian Response to Blessings and Challenges, Part 1
Table of Contents and Lesson 4 of Leader's Guide PDF
10-2016The Word Endures: Lessons From the Lives of Powerful Politicians
Table of Contents and Lesson 1 of Leader's Guide PDF
09-2016The Word Endures: Lessons From Luther Yesterday and Today
Leader's Guide Sample PDF
08-2016Flowers in the Desert
Lesson One (before class)PDF - Lesson One (during class)PDF
07-2016Idols We Never Knew We Had
Student Lesson PDF / .doc - Leader's Guide PDF / .doc
06-2016Timely Topics, Timeless Truths (Set 1)
Student Lesson PDF / .docx - Leader's Guide PDF / .docx
05-2016God's People Discussion Guides - David
Student Lesson PDF - Leader's Guide PDF
04-2016Families of the Bible
Student Lesson PDF / .rtf - Leader's Guide PDF / .rtf
Devotional Readings PDF / .rtf
03-2016My Vocation in Christ - Kenneth Cherney
Lesson 1 - My Vocation Is the Role in Life to Which God Has Called Me
Student Lesson PDF / .rtf - Leader's Guide PDF
02-2016The Bloodstained Path to God - Daniel Habben
Lesson 6 - The Sabbath, the Spring Festivals
Student Lesson PDF / .rtf - Leader's Guide PDF
Torah Symmetry Chart
01-2016The Glory of Jesus' Suffering, Death, and Resurrection - Richard Gurgel
Lesson 1 - Jesus and His Disciples in the Upper Room
Student Lesson PDF / .rtf - Leader's Guide PDF / .rtf
12-2015Families Under God - Kenneth Kramer
Set 3, Lesson 4 - Be Patient with Members of Your Family
Student Lesson PDF - Leader's Guide PDF
11-2015Prayer - Kenneth Cherney
Lesson 3 - Elements of a Well-Rounded Prayer Life
Student Lesson PDF / .doc - Leader's Guide PDF / .doc
10-2015The Gospel to Share - Robert Koester
Lesson 1 - The Good News We Have to Share: Heaven
Student Lesson PDF / .doc - Leader's Guide PDF / .doc
09-2015Hard Sayings of Jesus - Joel Siefert
Lesson 3 - The Upside-Down Kingdom
Student Lesson PDF / .doc - Leader's Guide PDF / .doc - Promotional Toolkit Samples PDF
08-2015Baptism - John Koelpin
Lesson 2 - The Baptismal Service
Student Lesson PDF / .rtf - Leader's Guide PDF
07-2015Fruit of the Spirit - James Aderman
Lesson 9 - Seof Control
Student Leson .doc - Leader's Guide & Promotional Material PDF
06-2015Teaching Christian Values to Our Children - Mark Zarling
Lesson 1 - Esteemed in Christ
Sample PDF

Teaching Toolbox ▾

11-2023Oxygen; Glucose; Movement
08-2023Ten Good Question Strategies
05-20236 Common Questioning Errors
02-2023Spaced Practice
11-2022Fun formative assessment: 12 easy, no-tech ideas you can use tomorrow
09-20227 Smart, Fast Ways to Do Formative AssessmentLaura Thomas
08-2022Memo to myself
In their book The Learning Cycle: Insights for Faithful Teaching from Neuroscience and the Social Sciences, Muriel and Duane Elmer suggest a learning activity called “Memo to Myself.” It encourages rehearsal and elaboration (putting a concept into your own words), which in turn helps move information into working memory. We ask them to choose one meaningful thought or idea and express that in their own words. Then they are to write about why it has meaning for them and “to what end or how this impacts their behavior” (Elmer & Elmer, 31). Try “Memo to Myself” as your closer activity to give students on opportunity to reflect upon what they’ve learned.
07-2022If you’re looking for ideas on how to implement both open and closed collaborative activities, check out this infographic from Neil Jarrett of
05-2022THINK, then pair and share
When you have a learning activity that asks adults to collaborate with their table partners, don’t forget to give them a moment to think on their own before they share. Talk learners may be able to come to their greater understanding through the conversation process itself (the pairing and sharing). But others need silent time to wrestle with the question and structure their response before the conversation starts. In fact, for those learners, the conversation is actually a detriment to them in organizing their own thoughts. The perspective of others indeed contributes to all learners gaining a fuller understanding of the topic. So go ahead and have them “think-pair-share.” Just make sure that you allow everybody to think quietly for a moment first.
03-2022Choice Boards
02-2022WELS Education Conference
01-2022Book Creator
08-20214Ms of Learning Objectives
07-2021Andragogy Quick Sheet
06-2021Check for Understanding
04-2021SETPI Principles
03-2021Formative Assessment With Poll Anywhere
02-2021JiTT (Just-in-Time Teaching)Cynthia Brame
12-2020Ten Tips for Hosting an Online Bible StudyDavid Walker
10-2020Facilitation for Real OwnershipJeanette Romkema
09-2020Google Updates and Simplifies Finding Creative Commons Licensed ImagesRichard Byrne
08-202010 Steps to Getting Started With Active Learning
07-202025 Ways for Teaching Without Talking: Presenting Students With New Material in Theory LessonsGeoff Petty
06-2020Ideas to Make Your Synchronous Online Classes More FunSiva priya Santhanam, PhD
02-2020Making Learning Relevant With Case Studies 
01-2020Tips for Entering and Staying With Tough DialogueJeanette Romkema
12-201910 Practical Approaches to TeachingScott Rios
11-2019Let’s Make Better SlideshowsJennifer Gonzalez
10-2019A Think-Pair-Share on Think-Pair-ShareDavid Ginsburg
09-2019Questions That Bring Contemporary Context to Past PersonalitiesPerry Shaw, EdD
08-201917 Tips to Motivate Adult LearnersChristopher Pappas
07-2019Meaningful and Measurable OutcomesVicki Caruana PhD
06-2019Training Small Group LeadersJudy Washburn
05-2019Communal Reading of Scripture 
04-2019Avoiding Filler Words like "Um"Whitson Gordon
03-201912 Tips for Teaching Adult Learners 
02-2019Catechism Options 
01-201910 Ways to Get People Talking 
12-2018Successful Teachers Never Stop Learning 
11-2018Asking Meaningful Questions 
10-2018Oxygen; Glucose; Movement 
09-2018Incorporating Repetition Into Your Classes 
08-2018Interactive Faith 
07-2018Interactive Faith 
06-2018Web Meetings as a Bible Study Option 
05-2018Heirs Together: Revised Bible Study 
04-2018Learning Tasks Are Worth the Effort 
03-2018Taking Learning to Task 
02-2018Women's Bible Studies 
01-2018Nouns that Kill 
12-2017False Starts 
11-2017The Flipped Classroom Can Work Very Well 
10-2017Putting the Flipped Classroom to Work 
10-2017The Flipped Classroom 
09-2017Women's Bible Studies 
06-2017Confirming Learning 
04-2017Volume 2 of Teach the WordDaniel Schroeder
04-2017Questions that Elevate the Discussion 
03-2017Reformation Encouragement: Study the Word 
02-2017Real-World Benefits 
01-2017If Discussion Fosters Learning, Then Extend the Discussion 
12-2016Responding to Questions 
11-201610 Good Question Strategies 
10-20166 Common Questioning Errors 
09-20168 Tips for Balancing Dialogue With ContentJeanette Romkema, Kathy Hickman, Elaine Wiersma
08-2016Open QuestionsGlobal Learning Partners
07-201625 Things Successful Teachers Do DifferentlyJulie DuNeen
06-2016Think-Pair-ShareJennifer Gonzalez
05-201666 Alternatives to Lecture 
04-2016Volume 1 of Teach the WordDaniel Schroeder
03-20168 Tips for Handling QuestionsDaniel Schroeder
02-20166 Tips for Using PowerPoint to Engage People in DialogueChristine Little
01-2016Kahoot (Create multiple choice web-based games for review, quiz, and discussion) 
12-2015The GeaCron Project (View and create historical maps and timelines) 
11-2015Wheel Decide (Customize a spinning virtual wheel) 
10-201535 Ways to Choose Breakout Group LeadersEd Jones Training Services
10-2015Bloom's Taxonomy Action VerbsFresno State University
07-2015What Type of Learner Are You?Gallatin College - Montana State Univ.
05-2015Course Evaluation SheetDaniel Schroeder

Archive ▾

11-2023Volume 8.8
08-2023Volume 8.7
05-2023Volume 8.6
02-2023Volume 8.5
11-2022Volume 8.4
09-2022Volume 8.3
08-2022Volume 8.2
07-2022Volume 8.1
05-2022Volume 7.9
04-2022Volume 7.8
03-2022Volume 7.7
02-2022Volume 7.6
01-2022Volume 7.5
11-2021Volume 7.4
09-2021Volume 7.3
08-2021Volume 7.2
07-2021Volume 7.1
06-2021Volume 6.9
04-2021Volume 6.8
03-2021Volume 6.7
02-2021Volume 6.6
12-2020Volume 6.5
10-2020Volume 6.4
09-2020Volume 6.3
08-2020Volume 6.2.5
08-2020Volume 6.2
07-2020Volume 6.1
06-2020Volume 5.11
04-2020Volume 5.10
02-2020Volume 5.9
01-2020Volume 5.8
12-2019Volume 5.7
11-2019Volume 5.6
10-2019Volume 5.5
09-2019Volume 5.4
08-2019Volume 5.3
07-2019Volume 5.2
06-2019Volume 5.1
05-2019Volume 4.12
04-2019Volume 4.11
03-2019Volume 4.10
02-2019Volume 4.9
01-2019Volume 4.8
12-2018Volume 4.7
11-2018Volume 4.6
10-2018Volume 4.5
09-2018Volume 4.4
08-2018Volume 4.3
07-2018Volume 4.2
06-2018Volume 4.1
05-2018Volume 3.11
04-2018Volume 3.10
03-2018Volume 3.9
02-2018Volume 3.8
01-2018Volume 3.7
12-2017Volume 3.6
11-2017Volume 3.5
10-2017Volume 3.4
10-2017Volume 3.3
09-2017Volume 3.2
04-2017Volume 3.1
03-2017Volume 2.12
02-2017Volume 2.11
01-2017Volume 2.10
12-2016Volume 2.9
11-2016Volume 2.8
10-2016Volume 2.7
09-2016Volume 2.6
08-2016Volume 2.5
07-2016Volume 2.4
06-2016Volume 2.3
05-2016Volume 2.2
04-2016Volume 2.1
03-2016Volume 1.12
02-2016Volume 1.11
01-2016Volume 1.10
12-2015Volume 1.9
11-2015Volume 1.8
10-2015Volume 1.7
09-2015Volume 1.6
08-2015Volume 1.5
07-2015Volume 1.4
06-2015Volume 1.3
05-2015Volume 1.2
04-2015Volume 1.1

Video Extras ▾

Teaching Tips ▾

11-2023One way to incorporate more relevant Communicate Activities into your lessons is to anticipate the hard questions that might come out of the passages or the topic you're studying during your lesson prep. Ask your adult learners to share their thoughts on how to answer those hard questions as a specific Communicate Learning Activity. This technique turns an "I talk, you listen" into a collaboration where "they talk, you listen/comment/correct/syn-thesize." It takes the pressure off of you as the sage on the stage while also honoring the experience and thoughts of your adult learners.
08-2023Adjust your teaching speed to meet the needs of the older learner. . . be conscious of the rate at which material is presented. Be aware of offering too much information too fast; regulate the flow of information accordingly.Deborah Davis in The Adult Learner's Companion: A Guide for the Adult College Student, 2nd ed.
05-2023Think-Pair-Share is always a good standby for engaging students.

Take it a step further with Think-Pair-Share-Square in which two groups then have to reach agreement with the other groups.

- Ken Alford in "What Works and What Doesn't When Teaching Large Classes?"
02-2023Open questions are essential to getting adult learners to express their perspectives and share their experiences. Remember that the term open question in this context does not mean theologically open. As always, the teacher will want to correct any doctrinally incorrect opinions shared while also leading learners ultimately to the correct biblical truth. In this context open question means that the teacher doesn’t know exactly what the learner is going to say before he or she says it. It’s open-ended, whereas a closed question has an immediate, correct answer without much additional discussion needed.

Dr. Joye Norris in her book From Teaching to Telling: A Dialogue Approach to Adult Learning (page 40) shares a list of open question examples that can be adapted for use in your studies.
  • What questions do you have?
  • How would that work in practice?
  • Tell me more about . . . (open phrase)
  • Why do you think that is so?
  • In what ways will this information help you in your life?
  • What do you think of . . . ?
  • What other options do you have?
  • How could you handle it?
  • What information do you need to make this more clear?
  • Describe an example.
  • Tell us why this is important to you.
11-2022The 10-plus-2 strategy provides a framework that still allows direct instruction while also providing regular opportunities for active learning. The idea is that for every learning block in a lesson, the instructor inputs information for ten minutes and then gives the learners an opportunity to show what they know for two minutes. Some educators might even suggest that that “ten-minute number” should be something more akin to seven or eight minutes and that more time be given to the active learning side of things. Regardless of where you fall on the issue, the point is the same. Schedule a learning activity of some sort in regular intervals throughout your class period. It gives you the opportunity you need to formatively assess, and it gives learners an opportunity to approach the content from a new-to-them perspective.
09-2022Catechism teachers, do you ever have parents ask you for tips to help their children learn memory work? Perhaps consider sharing with them The Mind Palace method of memorizing that’s described in this video. (Full disclosure: there’s a short product pitch from the content producer, but it’s not until the last 20 seconds). A word of caution is probably appropriate about getting too silly with mind pictures when it comes to the words of Scripture. But at the same time, this technique could be a great asset to children who are struggling. And in the end the result is not about remembering a series of mental pictures, but about having a new memory treasure committed to the mind and heart.
08-2022As educators we have a solemn responsibility to create learning tasks that help our learners think hard about what might stop them from practicing the right and good and to help them consider how to deal with those barriers.Elmer & Elmer, The Learning Cycle, 112
07-2022In the feature article, we referred to moving away from a simple “discuss!” and toward more specific directions with group work. That might entail giving learners specific goals to shoot for (“find 4 things…”) or it might mean narrowing the focus (“what you really need to answer is this…”). But don’t forget that using Bloom’s taxonomy can help you be more specific.Patricia Armstrong
05-2022Many presenters include everything under the sun in their slides “just in case” or to show they are “serious people.” It is common to create slides with lots of text, detailed charts, and so on because the slides will serve as a leave-behind document. This is a big mistake. To be different and effective, use a well-written, detailed document for your handout and well-designed, simple, intelligent graphics for your visuals.Garr Reynolds in his book Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery
04-2022Effortful retrieval makes for stronger learning and retention. We’re easily seduced into believing that learning is better when it’s easier, but the research shows the opposite: When the mind has to work, learning sticks better.Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, Mark A. McDaniel in their book Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning
03-2022If information is important, provide it for your learners. Why make them guess? Instead, ask them open questions about the information you give them so they can make personal meaning of it. Why spend valuable time undoing guesses when learners could be doing something more meaningful?Dr. Joye Norris from her book "Telling to Teaching: A Dialogue Approach to Adult Learning"
02-2022Formative Assessment expert Dylan William says that educators need less table tennis and more basketball in their classrooms. By “table tennis” he means the back and forth that exists between teacher and students. The teacher initiates by asking the question, a student responds, the teacher evaluates the answer (I-R-E). Can you see how “basketball” teaching might be different? The teacher passes the question to one student and then the conversation is passed to another student who builds off that answer and then the conversation is passed to still another student who builds off that answer. “I’ll ask you a question. Then I’ll ask (another student) what you think of his answer. Then I’ll go to (another student) for an explanation.” William refers to the teaching strategy as Pose (ask the question), Pause (wait for a bit), Pounce (call on one student), Bounce (send the conversation to another student). It’s a way to encourage student voice and to curb the temptation for the teacher to jump in too quickly and explain everything. This short video shows William explaining the strategy and others that can help remedy I-R-E.
01-2022When universally designing a [math] lesson, a teacher would ensure there were numerous options and choices to support learners, including access to a calculator, math reference sheets, opportunities to collaborate, a word bank, “done problems” to use as models, and opportunities to work with the teacher in small groups. Additionally, the teacher would ensure there are more challenging problems, opportunities to apply mathematics, and enrichment opportunities. All of these supports, scaffolds, and challenges would be provided as options for all learners. Think of them as a buffet of resources.Pastor Donald W. Patterson, Teaching Like Jesus WLS Symposium, 2005
11-2021What does that mean for our teaching? It means that we must live with our people. If our contact with the families in our congregations is only in the sanctuary, fellowship hall, or classroom, then we have diminished our ability to teach them. "Whoever gives the time gets the heart." So here are some suggestions for living with your people. Go to some of the games the children of your congregation play at the local soccer fields on Saturday. Comment on their performance. Praise only, please. Be sad with them when they lose. Jump up and down and hug them when they win. Other thoughts: bring cookies to school for other staff members. Play golf and go fishing even if it is not your thing. Visit your members at their work for lunch. Phone them on their birthdays. Stop by their homes for no reason at all. Katie Novak, UDL and Blended Learning
09-2021Those who engage with a new concept only once or twice typically won't recall it at a later time, while those who engage with it three or more times typically will. You might therefore assume that if you simply repeat an idea three times it is bound to stick. Unfortunately, this isn't the case. Just think of the hundreds of radio commercials that repeat a phone number three times in quick succession; I doubt you remember the details from very many. This means pure repetition is not enough. In order for the concept to be learned, each exposure must be deliberate and explicit. If people do not consciously think about and/or interact with information, they will never learn it.Jared Cooney Horvath, Stop Talking Start Influencing
08-2021One more simple (but oh so smart!) bit of advice from Doug Lemov on learning objectives: Once your objective is complete, POST IT in a visible location in your room—the same location every day—so everyone who walks into the room, your students as well as peers and administrators, can identify your purpose for teaching that day in as plain English as possible.Doug Lemov, Teach Like a Champion
07-2021One way to incorporate more relevant communicate activities into your lessons is to anticipate the hard questions that might come out of the passages or the topic you’re studying during your lesson prep. Ask your adult learners to share their thoughts on how to answer those hard questions as a specific communicate learning activity. This technique turns an “I talk, you listen” into a collaboration where “they talk, you listen/comment/ correct/synthesize.” It takes the pressure off of you as the sage on the stage while also honoring the experience and thoughts of your adult learners.
06-2021“In students’ eyes an important component of a successful learning is regarding the teacher as both an authority and an ally. As an authority, students want to know that their teachers have something useful and important to offer and that they know their stuff. As an ally, students want to know that their teachers are genuinely concerned with helping them learn and that classroom activities, grading rubrics, and homework assignments are all designed with that in mind . . . all of which is to say they want to feel that you're dealing with them honestly in an adult way.”Stephen Brookfield from his book “The Skillful Teacher”
04-2021"In his book When Students Have Power (1996), Ira Shor describes the Siberia zone that exists in every college classroom. This is the part of the classroom farthest away from the teacher’s body, usually the last row of the auditorium or the seat in class by the door at the back of the room. If the teacher’s body or desk represents Moscow, the center of party authority, then the seat by the door represents Siberia, the territorial area furthest from central authority. . . . Ira describes how he deals with Siberia by moving there and speaking from that zone. Simply walking to the back of a lecture theater and giving a lecture from that location is a dramatic, powerful gesture, one that breaks with the thousands of hours students have experienced listening to, or ignoring, the teacher standing or sitting at the front of the room by the chalkboard."Stephen Brookfield from his book “The Skillful Teacher”
03-2021Multi-level classes are hard and every class is multi-level. Students in every class have a range of ability. Structure the course to engage everyone, taking advantage of students’ differences rather than ignoring them. For an explicitly multi-level class, such as martial arts or ESL class with beginning through advanced students, you can start by having students work with others of the same level, and then switch to working with students of other levels for a while. You can even pair up advanced and beginning students for in-class tutoring.Dan Spalding
02-2021Whether they know it or not, students come to you because they’ve hit the limit of what they can learn in their comfort zone. This leads me to conclude that, in order to maximize student learning, teachers must make students uncomfortable. Your job is to create a thoughtful, supportive environment that invites (or forces) students to attempt new challenges and learn from them. . . . Get students into the discomfort zone as much as possible. That’s where learning lives.Dan Spalding
12-2020Your lessons should include visual, kinesthetic and auditory elements to make sure all types of learners are included. Handouts and graphs, in-depth classroom discussions, and role-playing should all form a part of your lesson planning in order to achieve this. Basically, you need to get adult students involved in the process of learning on as many levels as you can. 
10-2020Adults, even more than children, need to be in an environment that is conducive to learning. That means good lighting, good line of sight for all students to the whiteboard or teacher, and appropriate use of technology. Even comfortable chairs will make a difference.
09-2020Regarding the flipped classroom: Reviewing materials beforehand and turning a lecture into an interactive working session yields statistically significant improvements in engagement, test scores, and overall long-term learning.Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching
08-2020As you begin to incorporate active learning practices, it’s a good idea to explain to your students why you’re doing so. Talking to your students about their learning not only helps build a supportive classroom environment, but can also help them develop their metacognitive skills (and thus their ability to become independent learners).adapted from a quote by Cynthia J. Brame – Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching
07-2020When beginning a new study or new topic, solicit feedback from learners to find out what they already know or need to know to understand what you want them to learn. Distribute a brief questionnaire about the upcoming topic, or ask for a show of hands or thumbs-up to gauge what’s already known. 
06-2020To serve today’s students well, it is incumbent upon teachers to understand if, when, and how to incorporate technology into the classroom. While some measure of technology is not only beneficial but necessary for optimizing the education of today’s digital natives, it must be used with care, deliberation, and strategy if the reality is to live up to the promise.Sam Bowman
02-2020Stand when presenting new content, sit when facilitating dialogue. One should probably be sitting more than standing if this guideline is followed. Sit down with your students when possible and become a learner among learners. Although with large groups this may not be possible (as you need to be able to see everyone), the desired shift in power can still be communicated by inviting learners to engage with the learning rather than only the teacher, and encouraging dialogue with each other and themselves rather than only with you.Jeanette Romkema and Dan Haase from Global Learning Partners
01-2020Learners need to know when they will need to use the new content. If you can highlight that they will need it this week when they are at work, in their home, or out with their friends, engagement will be higher. You help this by: 1) always being specific about the time and place something can be used i.e. “This week when you are at work, you could…” 2) making final decisions at the end of a session specific to their day-to-day life. i.e. “Think of decision you need to make at the end of this week, …” 
12-2019Remember what it is like to learn something for the first time. Give students time to process information and answer questions. Know that it is fine for students to make mistakes if they can learn from them. Realize that learning can be hard work, even for the most motivated students. 
11-2019When the blahs strike, I try to look for a way to completely—albeit temporarily—abandon correctness, coverage, consistency, or control in favor of getting students engaged. Besides all the good learning that results, I feel a pedagogical rush when my students turn on their brains and produce new knowledge. We all get engaged, and we all move a bit closer to learning “happily ever after.”E. Shelly Reid, Assoc. Prof. and Dir. of Composition George Mason University
10-2019“Find out what your group knows about a topic before you begin a new lesson. Divide them into teams of four and present the topic. Ask them to brainstorm and list as many ideas or questions as they can come up with in a given amount of time.”Catherine Rasmussen, Extension Professor University of Minnesota
09-2019“To promote effective retrieval, at the end of class ask students to put their notes away and force themselves to remember what was covered.”James Lang, Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at Assumption College
08-2019When advertising and promoting an upcoming Bible study, present specific benefits the learners will get through the course. Growing in faith and knowledge of the Word are obvious gains of a Bible study, but naming some blessings might help. For example, when promoting a study of 1 Corinthians, you might list what kind of problems can exist within a Christian congregation and note that the study will teach how God handles them. 
07-2019Moving around the room in three-dimensional space is something that a flat image on a screen can never achieve. The enthusiasm and energy of a teacher who is moving around to be close to the students send a clear message: “This is great material that is worth learning.” 
06-2019If you don’t have a suitable answer to a learner’s question, don’t try to stumble through an inaccurate response. Simply say, “I don’t know—let me get back to you.” Then, after class, you can take the time you need to determine the proper answer and return with it for the next study. Trying to fake that you know an answer when you truly do not causes your credibility to crumble, and you can end up making a big mess of things. Being honest about not knowing shows that you are human, and coming back with a solid answer shows that you care.Modified from an article at Teaching for Learning at McGill University
05-2019To tap into people’s experiences and to encourage them to more thoroughly explore a text and how it applies, ask questions that have multiple correct answers.

For example, “Which verses from 1 Corinthians 15 give you the most encouragement?” will generate more discussion than “What does 1 Corinthians 15:58 say?”
04-2019In order to avoid becoming a stuck and stubborn teacher, a successful educator takes time to reflect on their methods, their delivery, and the way they connect with their students. Reflection is necessary to uncover those weaknesses that can be strengthened with a bit of resolve and understanding. 
03-2019When teaching adults, youth, and older children, try to ask “open-ended” questions: questions that may not have a single answer. Stay away from “closed-ended” questions: questions that can be answered with a simple, regurgitated answer, or a “yes” or “no.”

For example, instead of asking, ‘How many loaves of bread and how many fish did Jesus have when he fed the 5000’ (a closed question), ask, ‘Jesus had only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish when he fed the 5000. For what reasons might God have told us the exact amount of food he had at the beginning?’ (an open question).

Be patient when waiting for answers. Count to five or ten slowly to yourself. If you answer your own question, then learners will learn to let you do so always! Give your learners time to think before they answer the question.
02-2019Make a list of favorite practices of your past teachers that helped you to learn. Make another list of your least favorite practices of your past teachers. Incorporate the former ideas and avoid the latter, unless it would help the teaching process to bring in some of the unpleasant practices. 
01-2019Don’t fear silence! Learners will eventually talk. While we may think the silence is long, learners need time to process your questions and come up with answers. Give them a chance to think and they will eventually talk. In fact, you may want to silently count slowly to 10 or 15 to force yourself to wait long enough for students to think and respond. 
12-2018One of the principles of learning is that immediate application improves learning. As soon as possible after you teach new content, have the students think about and verbalize how they can apply the new and relevant information to their lives. 
11-2018Most adults have job and family responsibilities that keep their schedules full. Though you want the class to be comfortable and conversational, don’t waste a lot of time on small talk. Be prepared to move the class along so students won’t feel that you are wasting their time. 
10-2018Many of the people you will teach may not have been in school for many years. They might be hesitant to ask questions. Experienced teachers have found that asking, “What questions do you have?” elicits many more questions than asking, “Do you have any questions?” That slight change in wording implies you are expecting questions. Then pause for seven seconds to give people the opportunity to construct their questions. 
09-2018Take five minutes at the end of each class to ask students to summarize the ideas presented, to apply information to a new situation, or to write their reactions to the day's class. Doing so throughout the course can help you know what you can do to strengthen your teaching. 
08-2018Consider using e-mail or text messages between class sessions to generate comments or questions for discussion. Out-of-class discussions can increase the interest level and class participation. 
07-2018Take advantage of the pre-class lull by posting a thought-provoking question or statement for students to see as they're filing in. This helps get them ready to learn, so that when the class starts, you're off and running. 
06-2018Many television series start each week's episode with a recap of what happened the previous week. It's a good strategy for faculty as well, and it can help refocus students' attention and get them ready to learn. 
05-2018Be well organized. A lesson that flows logically will be easier to follow. Hand out a list of ideas for topics that you plan to cover so that students can see where you have been and where you are going. 
04-2018Respect the fact that the members of your class will have differing learning styles. Learn about the various styles, and try to include questions and activities that will appeal to people with a variety of learning styles. 
03-2018When you are concluding your presentation of a section of Scripture, ask real questions that guide the students to dig into the content of the section. Use "Does anyone have any questions?" only occasionally. 
02-2018Consider using e-mail to encourage class participation. Send one question for class participants to consider during the week and to whet their appetites for the next session. 
01-2018In class discussion, when no amount of rephrasing a question or waiting for a student response elicits any, say, "Help me understand what makes that a difficult question to answer." 
11-2017Good teachers take time to learn. It not only broadens the pool of knowledge they can share and thus makes their classes more interesting, but it inspires enthusiasm for the topic. Enthusiasm tends to be contagious. 
10-2017Shift your focus from "covering" to "uncovering" content. In the process, you'll get students engaged in analysis, application, and problem-solving. 
10-2017About 75% of what we learn comes through the sense of sight. About 13% comes through the sense of hearing.

When an instructor uses words alone, students will remember some facts. When the instructor uses pictures alone, students remember more than three times as much information. But if the instructor uses both words and pictures, students will retain more than six times as much information.
09-2017The article accessed in the Additum section discusses the development of lessons by looking first at your goals for the lesson. Today’s teaching tip is that you discuss your goal for each session with the class. Adults will be motivated to study a particular course if they understand how they will benefit from the study. For example: If your goal for a lesson on the Lord’s Supper is that the students will understand and be able to articulate the rationale for the doctrine of close Communion, express that goal. You might do that by giving an example of a time when that knowledge could be important to them. 
06-2017Remembering Information. At the end of the class, ask class members to summarize key thoughts that you taught or discussed. This activity helps move class content into the long-term memory. 
04-2017If the class material is weighty and detailed, adults will benefit if you "chunk" the information. Chunking refers to the approach of breaking long strings of information into chunks or smaller units so that the short-term memory is better able to assimilate the information. 
03-2017To encourage class members to think about the Bible study throughout the week, consider giving a take-home assignment. It may simply be a thoughtful question that will serve as a hook to lead into the next lesson. It could be an assignment to look for applications to what they discussed in class in the news stories of the week. You might want to send the question/assignment home on a small note that participants could put up on their refrigerators.

You may also take it one step further and use this as an impetus for spiritual discussion within the family. Ask the participants to discuss a question with a spouse, friend, or family member.

To make this most effective, you may need to make it a regular practice so the class members get into the habit.

02-2017If the subject of your Bible class is rather complex or requires a lot of context, such as an explanation of the historical setting, avoid cognitive overload. If student pages contain long text sections, try to incorporate numbered or bulleted lists. Or, you may be able to break these sections into smaller units that students can process more easily. 
01-2017At the end of your class, you might ask the participants to take five minutes to write a summary of what they learned or to write a reaction to the class. An alternative would be to present a hypothetical situation and ask them to apply what they learned to that situation. As they think through the class discussion and write their responses, they will be transferring what they heard into long-term memory. 
12-2016Vary your daily presentation. One-way communication holds your audience's attention for about 20 minutes. Vary what you do (talk, listen, move about, use materials, etc.) and what your students are asked to do (talk, listen, move about, use materials, etc.).From the U of Nebraska-Lincoln, Office of Graduate Studies
11-2016Adjust your teaching speed to meet the needs of the older learner. . .be conscious of the rate at which material is presented. Be aware of offering too much information too fast; regulate the flow of information accordingly.Deborah Davis in The Adult Learner's Companion: A Guide for the Adult College Student, 2nd ed.
10-2016Think/pair/share is always a good standby for engaging students. Take it a step further with think/pair/share/square in which two groups then have to reach agreement with the other groups.Ken Alford in What Works and What Doesn't When Teaching Large Classes
09-2016In class discussion, when no amount of rephrasing a question or waiting for a student response elicits any, ask, "Help me understand what makes that a difficult question to answer?"Linda Shadiow, Teaching Professor Conference Advisory Board
08-2016Most television series start each week's episode with a recap of what happened the previous week. It's a good strategy for faculty as well, and it can help refocus students' attention and get them ready to learn.Ike Shibley in 23 Practical Strategies to Help New Teachers Thrive?
07-2016Take advantage of the pre-class lull by posting a thought-provoking question or statement for students to see as they're filing in. This helps get them ready to learn, so that when the class starts, you're off and running.Tyler Griffin in What Works and What Doesn't When Teaching Large Classes?
06-2016Lower-level questions need not be simple yes-no questions. For example, if the content describes a four-step process, rather than getting students to simply restate those steps, you can have them select which step is their favorite or state which they think is the most important and why.Online Classroom
05-2016Doing group work well requires planning, maintenance, closure, and reflection. It also requires problem-solving and conflict resolution skills. Research shows that it can be worth the effort, as it improves outcomes and satisfaction.Claire Howell Major in Choosing and Using Group Work Activities in the College Classroom
04-2016Shift your focus from "covering" to "uncovering" content. In the process, you'll get students engaged in analysis, application, and problem-solving.Nicki Monahan in Taming the Monster: Rethinking the Role of Content
03-2016Use your eyes to encourage more student interaction and engagement during discussions. When a student begins talking, if they are only looking at you while making their point, start with eye contact and nodding to them, but then start looking at other students. This has four benefits: (1) It cues them to consider other students as they talk. (2) You can see how well other students are tracking the discussion. (3) The student who's talking receives subtle feedback on when to stop. (4) It encourages other students to reply directly to their peer's comment.Ray Cramer, IslandWood
02-2016Allow chaos. Students should learn to tolerate some uncertainty and vagueness in the learning process. "Figuring it out" is part of the learning.Berlin Fang in "How to Avoid Being a Helicopter Professor"
01-2016When it comes to integrating technology into your teaching, don't use the most complex technology available, but rather use the simplest technology to accomplish what you need.Tyler Griffin in "How Can I Use technology to Improve Learning?"
10-2015Other Guidelines for Writing and Setting a Learning TaskPaul Nitz
08-2015Group work in the classroom: types of small groupsUniv. of Waterloo
08-20154 Tips for Working With Small GroupsDaniel Schroeder

Miscellaneous ▾

05-2016Revelation 1-3, Lesson 7Stephen Geiger
05-2016Revelation 1-3, Lesson 6Stephen Geiger
04-2016Revelation 1-3, Lesson 5Stephen Geiger
03-2016Revelation 1-3, Lesson 4Stephen Geiger
02-2016Revelation 1-3, Lesson 3Stephen Geiger
02-2016Revelation 1-3, Lesson 2Stephen Geiger
01-2016Revelation 1-3, Lesson 1Stephen Geiger
07-2015Same Sex Marriage Bible Study (1 Lesson)
Student Lesson PDF / .doc - Leader's Guide PDF / .doc
William Monday
04-2015Treasure in Jars of Clay: The Synergy Between the Instrumental
and Ministerial Causes in God's Plan of Salvation
Jonathan Hein