We just had Super Bowl week a while back. Quite a large number of people watch the Super Bowl just for the cool new commercials. After viewing them, they have no trouble recalling these outrageous advertisements, but all too often they have no memory of the product or service the commercial is promoting. Sometimes, we, as teachers, are guilty of the same mistake. We must keep our emphasis on the learner, not on what WE are doing.
Last week’s tip was staying on message. Each class is to have only one primary learning outcome. This week we want to key in on what is the message. There is a difference in the Word of God and a Word from God. The Word is the Bible to all; a Word is the Bible to me. We all want a Word from God. The Word is a good message, but a Word to me is a great message. You may have heard a very good teaching about that. Let’s apply that truth to our classes.
Our primary learning outcome is to be from the learner’s point of view, not the teacher’s piont of view. What that means is what change is going to happen to my students not what am I going to teach about. So, if I said my lesson aim or primary learning outcome is “I will teach what faith is” that would be the Word, which is good, but it would have been better to state, “My class will know what faith is”. Now this is personal (from the learner’s perspective); it is A Word from God. I have seen some teachers doing some pretty amazing, elaborate, expensive, and energetic presentations. The regrettable end was that the students got very little out of the presentation because the basis of the class was focused around what the teacher would do. Don’t get me wrong…I am all for great presentations. Keep in mind that we are here to minister to the children. So, if we start with emphasis on the children, it is effortless to keep it on them. This may seem basic and unimportant, but let me give you an illustration.
If I had a dirty kitchen and I cleaned it, I would get to clean it again the next time it got dirty. If I had a dirty kitchen, and I gave orders to my daughter regarding how to make it clean, I would most likely have to tell her again how to clean the next time the kitchen got dirty. But, on the other hand, if I taught my daughter how and why we keep a kitchen clean today, in theory, the next time I had a dirty kitchen, I wouldn’t need to participate in the cleaning. When the emphasis is on me or the job, the objective is missed. With the emphasis on the daughter, she not only does part of the work herself, but now she has become a disciple (a learner). This is what we have been called to do, make disciples. Everyone knows that it takes the least amount of effort to clean the kitchen yourself. The greatest effort is in putting the emphasis on the learner to disciple him/her (I don’t mean discipline) to do the task. This also has the greatest reward. Let’s make disciples by keeping the emphasis on the learner, and we do that by keeping our primary learning outcomes written from the learners’ point of view.
In conclusion, lead teachers take the time to read the lesson aim from the curriculum and write out what will happen in your class to the student. The shorter and simpler you make it, the better. Communicate this to all the adults in the class. Use this as the point of origin for all you do in the service and you will be amazed at the learning that takes place. If you would like some help on writing your primary learning outcomes from the learner’s perspective, I can help you with that if you would like. Drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.