Sacred Grove


Thursday, April 25, 2013

YW Leadership Training on the new Curriculum

I was asked to talk to the YW Board in our ward about how I have utilized Teaching No Greater call and Preach My Gospel in the class room.  Here is the lesson that I prepared.  

Hand out worksheet and pencils
Eat 1 piece of wacky cake in front of everyone, without any to share and describe what it tastes like.   

Talk about learning for ourselves.  Wouldn’t you rather taste the Wacky Cake for yourself rather than watch me eat it and listen to me describe how awesome it is?  How do you know what it tastes like unless you taste it for yourself?  The same is true with the gospel.  The youth need to learn for themselves.  Rather than hearing all of our experiences and the things that we know each week.  They need to find out for themselves by sharing their experiences and finding the answers to their questions themselves.  One week, the youth asked me if the devil had angels.  I said great question.  We then opened our scriptures to the topical guide to angels, of the devil.  As usually happens in my class, they ask these hard questions at the end.  We looked at it for a minute, and then I assigned the girl who had asked the question to research it using only the scriptures and conference talks to share with us next week what she had learned.  My husband later advised me that all of would be acceptable material for them to study and find their own answer.  During the week, I sent her a conference talk that talked about angels and included angels of the devil.  So, I helped her find some answers and then she came to class and shared what she had learned.  Not only did she learn for herself, but she also shared it with the class.  She learned how to find answers to her questions and was given time and an opportunity to study and find the answer. 
I would like you to each take a few minutes and write a response to the question on the top of the paper I gave each of you at the beginning.  Everyone should write something and be prepared to share what they have written.  Think of a Teacher who has touched your life, or a lesson that has touched your life.  It could be recent.  It could be a few years ago, it could be years ago in Young Women’s.  Take a few minutes and write what you learned.  How it affected your life.  And, what the teacher did to teach that.  Be prepared for us to go around the room and have everyone share what they have written.
Give them a minute or two.  See if they are ready.  Go around the room and have them share according to time.  Have someone write on the board the things that are shared.  Let's talk about the benefits of the activity we just did.  First, I gave you time to ponder the question.  How many of you thought of an immediate response to the question?  How many of you needed a few minutes to think about it?  How many of you were given greater insights and understanding as you had a few minutes to ponder and write?  When we ask sincere questions, we want the spirit to have time to teach the youth.  So, we need to allow some quiet time.  The class is for each of the youth.  I have journals in my class and I often ask a question at the beginning of the class so that the spirit can speak to each of the youth and then they can be ready to share.  Many times, I prepare experiences that go along with my questions, but by the time they have each shared, it is unnecessary, so I just skip my experiences. 
These ideas can be found in a valuable resource, Teaching, No Greater call.  It is prepared to be a course of study.  So, I can’t cover all of the ideas found in this book.  If you look through them, you will find ways to teach, ways to reach our youth, and what to focus on.  We did an object lesson or attention getter today with the cake, and invited diligent learning through the writing and sharing.  There are so many more ideas for effective teaching.  And if you want more, the church has provided amazing website, the Mormon Channel at Youtube, and search Teaching No Greater Call, there are 30 episodes that come up.  I personally love Elder Bednar’s two videos, which are 15 and 16.  I listen to these sound episodes while I sew, clean house, etc.  They are phenomenal.  They are about 30 minutes long.  Just enough time to listen to something and ponder it.  Then, I take what I learn from that and use it in my classroom.  If time, share, (It talks about how you may have kids who are video game players.  That is their love.  That is what they like to do all the time.  How do you reach those kids?  He talks about how you may reach them every few classes.  I actually have a few in my class.  I can clearly remember one Sunday as I was pondering what I had learned from Elder Bednar and what I could do to reach these two youth.  In the middle of class, the Spirit whispered, have these two get together and prepare a game to go with the lesson.  I don’t do games all the time.  Every once in a while.  I was in awe as I saw what they learned in preparation for the next class.  I sent them e-mails, I called them, and I texted their moms.  It was a lot of work.  Truthfully, having the youth help with the lesson is more work than doing it all myself.  I never know what they youth will do in preparation.  Will it take 5 minutes or the whole class?  But, when I do let them take over, the youth who is preparing is learning far more than I could ever teach them.  I have to let go of knowing how much to prepare, so I just always over prepare.  )
Another activity the youth love is role playing.  I asked my daughter what she felt would make her church classes better, and she said role playing.  It gives them time to practice teaching.  It helps them ask each other hard questions.  Then, realize they know more than they think.  I pause them and tell them how great they are doing.  This gives them confidence.  It gives them time to realize that they know more than they think they do.  Often they ask questions they don’t know the answer to.  I will stop and we will look it up in the scriptures, and then I will know what they need to study more for the next time. 
The other tool the I was asked me to talk about today is Preach my Gospel.  Let’s say I am teaching a lesson on the Apostasy.  I would look it up in Preach my Gospel and study the scriptures that go with it, and then bring it to class.  Then, when the youth ask questions, I can find it in Preach my Gospel, find the scriptures, and we can study there.  When we were studying the Plan of Salvation, I was following the guidelines and outlines and discovered that they didn’t have a great background of the entire plan of salvation.  So, I studied it in Preach my Gospel, and we went through the Plan of Salvation, making a chart on the board and using the scriptures to thoroughly understand what the Plan of Salvation is. 
President Gibson of the YM general Presidency recently shared what he saw as an ideal Teachers Quorum class.  I am paraphrasing, so this is not a quote from him.  The Teacher's Quorum President got up and shared with his quorum that the lesson for the day was on the Atonement.  He studied it that morning and before he turned the time over to the adviser, whom had been invited to teach the lesson for the day, he wanted to talk about what he had studied about the atonement.  What then ensued was a 30 minuted discussion on the atonement, led and conducted by the youth.  With a few minutes left.  He turned the time over to the adviser, requesting time be left for President Gibson.  The adviser asked one question, "What does the atonement mean to you?"  Then, the class shared their answers.  The time was then turned over to President Gibson, who asked the leaders what the youth's answers meant to them.  That is the way the new curriculum is to be utilized.  Amazing.  
I have loved following the outlines that church has provided from Come Follow Me.  I love hearing what the youth have to say.  I love watching what they are learning for themselves.  I love that they are asking questions and figuring it out for themselves.  I know that they are preparing to serve missions early.  I know that they are preparing to share with those around them.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.  

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