We are confident that you will find some very helpful information here that will encourage you and help you in your ministry as you serve the Lord.
keeping thier attention is key.
By Michael K. 12/30/2021
It is a known fact that ninety percent of learning is visual. Children as well as adults are mostly visual learners. Consider your own preference when it comes to learning. It is much easier when we can view drawings in a manuel when assembling furniture or putting together a bicycle. Anyone who has ever stood before a group of youngsters to speak can tell you they are easlily distracted by everything and anything so here are just a couple of tips to help keep your traget audience engaged no matter what the age group.
First, when teaching make it as visual as possible. It doesn't matter if you feel you are incapable of being a dynamic speaker. The truth is, people are drawn to things they can see. Taking this into consideration let's establish a simple guideline of always having something for the eyes. It can be a simple prop you have brought from home or something more elaborate such as an illusion or a slideshow presentation. A very effective way to keep people's attention focused on what you're doing is to simply use a chalkboard or a whiteboard. We've all seen elaborate chalk drawing or "chalk talk" presentations where a person sketches images or drawings to coincide with the lesson or story they are teaching which is quite enjoyable but remember, you do not have to be an artist to use this technique. It works just as well if you write words or phrases on the board circling or underlining them from time to time to bring attention to ideas and keywords. If you're not a good artist people are perfectly happy to sit and watch as you draw simple drawings such as stick figures. You would be surprised at how much people will be drawn in to what you're saying and doing simply by drawing stick figures and giving them simple highlights such as different hairstyles or facial expressions while adding a name of the character below the drawing. Truth be told, people who do not have such a high level of artistic skill sometimes will find it to be an advantage as it is a surefire way to add a light comedic accent that will enhance your students experience. After all, one of the key elements to establishing a successful teaching technique is to ensure that there is an element of fun and excitement in what you are doing.
This interesting fact brings us to the idea of having fun while getting the job done. Please don't take this the wrong way because obviously somebody who is teaching the truth of the gospel is dealing with a very serious subject but the fact remains that when dealing with children you are going to be able to hold their attention longer when they are enjoying themselves throughout the lesson. Now let's be clear here, we are not looking to turn a Sunday School room into a carnival sideshow. The main thing is to get across a biblical truth or lesson that the students will retain. It is amazing how much a child can learn when they don't know they're actually learning. When children encounter a situation that is light hearted and fun they become more engaged and are very eager to participate. It has been my experience as a Sunday School teacher that many children who are told to sit down and get ready for a test or a quiz become quite disengaged. You will notice in some children that nervousness and anxiety sets in, while in contrast, the same children will become much more engaged and excited with an eagerness to participate if the "test" is presented as a "fun game" where the children can win points for their team or earn prizes and treats. The simple truth of the matter is when anxiety is removed from the equation the children are more likely to participate.
Antoher technique is to keep them on thier toes and paying attention by involving them in what is being taught. There are many ways to go about this from asking questions to having the children act out scenes from a Bible story. I find one way to keep the children on their toes and paying attention is to constantly ask them questions about something I just said. For example, after teaching for a few minutes I will ask one of the children to repeat what I just discussed in thier own words. When they start to understand that this is something I will do regularly throughout the class they will pay more attention to ensure they have the right answer should I call on them to repeat or explain a topic I just taught. A very clever and fun way to test whether or not a child is retaining the information you are giving them is to allow them a moment or two to "teach" the class themselves. Try introducing one of the children as professor "so and so" (give them a funny name) and seat yourself down in one of the empty classroom desks or chairs and become one of the "students" for a few minutes. This is extremely fun and engaging and will allow you to evaluate how much a student is actually learning and how capable they are of presenting the material they're learning to others.
There is one other visual technique that I prize over many others which is puppetry. This has been by far the most effective technique I have used to engage the children and captivate them while teaching. It is my experience that children love to see a puppet or stuffed animal as part of the class from time to time. This can be done without even using a puppet. For example, you can have an empty box somewhere in the classroom that you can open from time to time and speak into, pretending to speak to an (imaginary) character inside who will speak back to you when the box is open. You may choose to keep a very small stuffed animal in your pocket who pops up and visits once in awhile, perhaps when you need to fact check something you can retrieve this character from your pocket and ask them to confirm information for you. It will be completely up to you how you want to use this character but it is my conviction that the character should be respectful and mirror the attributes you are trying to instill in the children. Too often, I have seen ventriloquist or puppeteers use their characters to be offensive to achieve a quick and often a cheap laugh. It is my advice and recommendation that any character or puppet being used should display decent moral attributes. That is not to say the character can not be whimsical, or funny but there need to be a boundry line drawn between funny and disrespectful. The character should be used as a springboard to dive into topics and lessons that need to be discussed without actually having the character be outright obnoxious and rude.
Here is a list of a few other visual aids you can try.
1. Bring in a photo or drawing that relates to the topic and allow it to be passed around the room from child to child.
2. Learn to do a few simple illusions to illustrate some of the Bible lessons you are teaching. There are many that can be found online.
3. Purchase or create new games that allow for learning.
4. Use a puppet or stuffed animal as a classroom mascot or special guests from time to time. Don't worry about your skill level in puppetry or ventriloquism, the children will love it.
5. Create challenges within the classroom among the students in a lighthearted and fun way and track the progress on a chart that is placed somewhere in the class.
6. Try coming up with songs that relate to the lessons that are being taught.
8. Brush up on your storytelling techniques and tell engaging stories as part of your lesson.
9. Get together with other teachers and instructors and brainstorm, you will be surprised what you may come up with.
These are just a few things that can be done to enhance the learning experience in your classroom no matter what age group you're dealing with. I strongly recommend making an attempt to test some of these techniques for yourself and be sure to measure the results. I'm quite confident you will find these techniques and ideas to be very beneficial. Your willingness to employ some of these techniques will pay off bountifully.
HOW TO USE OUR VIDEOS AS A TEACHING RESOURCE
By Michael K. 2/20/22
You will find that we have quite a few video options available through our website. Please feel free to use the videos on this site as teaching resources. You can play the videos as a special treat for your group or class or even use them as a spring board to dive into deeper lessons. Although our videos are educational and informative on thier own, I recommend using them as a tool to open the door to further discussions and to create lessons that are more in depth and engaging.
Let's consider how this can be done in a class room or group setting. As with any teaching resource it is best for the teacher to prepare ahead of time and to be familiar with the material to be taught, regadless of wheter it is a book, prepared outline, or other resource, so start by watching the videos first in preperation for the lesson. As you watch the video, write down the key ideas that are being presented. Note important words that you think may need further explination or discussion. It is also a good idea to make notes of where the video should be paused so a topic or truth can be further discusssed. This will allow you to engage and interact with your students rather than have them simply "watch a video". If this is done correctly, a very thorough lesson or a series of lessons can be taught from one single three minute video.
Although our videos will teach lessons on thier own and kids just love to watch them, it is best to utilize these video lesssons as tools in which to excite and captivate students. For example, you may challenge your students to write down all the key points they learn from the video, or they can write down any information they are hearing for the first time. You can challenge students to list all the important things discussed in the video and once they have thier lists prepared, you can review them to see what your studets consider to be important or unimportant allowing for an opportunity to reinforce overlooked material.
A great way to get students to focus on the video lessons and to be enthusiastic about discussing them is to make a game out of it. Perhaps you could reward the students that record the most biblical facts presented in the video lesson. You might try challenging the students to explain the lesson in their own words or perhaps students can reenact the video lessons from memory using a hand puppet. There are countless ways to use the video lessons as a tool to engage your students while making it fun and educational for them.
Moving forward, view each video lesson as an opportunity! Consider how our video lessons can be used to cultivate valuable and exciting learning experiences that will not only be fun, but also unforgetable!