Monday, October 12, 2009

More Teachers? Or More Students?

You know I'm passionate about developing Bible teachers, and have even started the 400kteachers initiative to develop 400,000 new Bible teachers by 2021. We certainly need more teachers!

But fundamentally we need to develop more students. By this I mean that there are limits to what a teacher can do -- all education is fundamentally self-education, because education is what happens in our heads and our hearts. We do rely upon the Holy Spirit to open people's eyes and minds and hearts, and we also strive to be good teachers worthy of the Message we convey.

Who are these students? Potentially everyone, including yourself.

If you see yourself as a student, in continuous learning mode, then there are teachers galore all around you. Every person, every situation presents learning opportunities.

Here are four specific suggestions for developing more true students in your classes and groups:

1. Model continuous learning yourself, and share excitedly about what you're learning. The love of learning is as much caught as taught.

2. Encourage the people you teach to do self-discovery. Give them before-class and between-class assignments to investigate more deeply.

3. If people raise interesting side-issues that aren't "on topic" with your lesson, then don't discourage them. Gently put it aside during class or group time, then encourage them to follow their interests. Work with them and learn together.

4. When you see evidence that someone has been learning, call attention to it. Commend them and praise them publicly.

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