Monday, March 15, 2010

Tossing Ideas Your Way

Think of your words as tennis balls. Every idea or point you throw out during your Sunday school lesson or Bible club class is one ball. When you teach using the lecture method, you are tossing several balls to the children and expecting them to catch and hold onto all of them. How many balls do you think the children can handle before they start dropping some of them?

When you teach using a question/answer method, you toss out a ball (your question) and ask a child to hold it and then toss back a ball of his own (a stab at an answer). Is your teaching a singles match between you and one other child or do you see that everyone gets a chance to handle the ball?

When you use group discussion, you toss out a ball and ask a child to toss it to another child, then to another and to another. How many balls can each of your students juggle at one time? Is everyone getting a chance to toss the ball back or are some children monopolizing the game? By thinking of your words as tennis balls, you can visualize what you are expecting the children to do with the concepts you toss their way.

As you toss out a question, wait several seconds. Ask children to raise their hands before responding. Repeat the question before choosing a child to answer. Some children need longer to process the question and formulate an answer. Even those children who raise their hands quickly may need time to really think through their answer.

Make sure you’re being a good referee and including everyone in the question/answer time or the discussion. Call on children who may want to participate but don’t raise their hands. If the child you call on doesn’t have an answer (or only has a small part of answer) ask another child to jump in and help out the first child. Create a sense of teamwork within your classroom by treating each child as important and loved by God.

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