More Tips for Teaching AdultsMore Tips for Teaching Adults

Part II of Basic Tips for Teaching Adults

As teachers walk with their disciples on their spiritual journey to likeness in Christ, there are some practical tips to more effective teaching that can be implemented.
1. Leverage the Effectiveness of Diverse Learning Styles
Visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning styles are not just for children and youth.  All of us take in information by seeing it, hearing it, or getting our hands on it.  When engaging adults, it continues to be important to be sensitive to all three learning styles during your Bible Study sessions.  Something as simple as making sure that each person picks up a bible, turns to the scripture verse, and follows along visually while someone reads it aloud can engage all three avenues of learning in a simple way.  Writing on a whiteboard or poster tablet provides basic visual reinforcement.  Engaging the class in small group dialogue or writing their thoughts on paper provides opportunity to engage actively. 

Integrate Knowledge

2. Integrate Learning through Conversation & Practice
Taking in the information by seeing, hearing or touching is only the first step.  As mentioned in Part I, the role of the teacher is to teach for obedience not (solely) for knowledge.  Conversing with others about what we have learned and practicing new skills & habits are essential to anchoring permanent changes in our lives.  Engage your group in conversation about what they have learned.  Explore ways that they might practice what they have learned.  Encourage them to practice the discipline or new behavior for the week and then come back the next Sunday and share experiences.
3. Do not Fear Silence
What teacher has not encountered the extended, awkward silence when attempting to engage a room in reflection and dialogue?  Do not fear silence.  Ask questions that prompt the class to reflect on the scriptures in meaningful and relevant ways.  Wait for a response long after the silence has become awkward.  This is a part of teaching them to feed themselves.  Here are some potential questions to consider.

  - What seems particularly important to you about this scripture?

  - What questions do you have about this scripture?

  - What does this scripture teach us about God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit?

  - What does this scripture teach us about how to relate to God?

  - What does this scripture teach us about how to relate to one another?

  - What change does this scripture call you to in your life?

4. Understand the Power of Story
A couple of thousand years before Psychology Today published The Power of Stories, confirming that "when you tell a story to a friend, you can transfer experiences directly to their brain," Jesus knew that a story was a memorable way to convey a spiritual truth.  One of the most powerful ways to share the truths of the bible is by telling the story.   (Click here for Part 1)

Dian Kidd   |   Associate Director   |   @diankuba