After doing my part in studying and pondering this week’s lessons assignment, one of the Sunday teachers thought it would be a good idea to do “research” on the general topic of the specific lesson. I ended up wondering where the original lesson came in at all!
Not once was the original lesson mentioned . . . nor was one scripture read! NOT ONE.
I didn’t know if I was more upset about being upset or upset about being spiritually undernourished.
The other Sunday teacher thought it would be a good idea to turn the lesson into a lecture. ACK!
Now, while I am trying my hardest not to judge, I know very well that I will come across like I am.
And while I am also trying my hardest not to sound preachy, I know very well how this particular blog will be taken by some!
But here I go anyway as I endeavor to voice my opinion because, as imperfect as a teacher I am, I take into careful, obedient consideration these IMPORTANT guidelines.
BTW - These guidelines come DIRECTLY from the manuals and the Ensign magazine that every teacher and student should have!!!! I did not make these up!
From the Priesthood/Relief Society Manual:
Teach the Doctrine
Before you teach from a chapter, study it thoroughly to be sure you understand the doctrine. Also study the additional scriptures listed at the end of the chapter. You will teach with greater sincerity and power when the teachings in the chapter have influenced you personally. Never speculate about Church doctrine. Teach only what is supported by the scriptures, the words of latter-day prophets and apostles, and the Holy Spirit (see D&C 42:12–14; 52:9).
If you have been called to teach a quorum or class using this book, do not substitute outside materials, however interesting they may be. Stay true to the scriptures and the words in the book. As appropriate, use personal experiences and articles from Church magazines to supplement the lessons. (italics added).From the Sunday School - Old Testament Manual:
Encouraging Class Discussion
You normally should not give lectures but should try to help class members participate meaningfully in discussing the scriptures. As class members participate, they more effectively learn about the scriptures and better understand how to apply gospel principles. Seek the Spirit’s guidance in deciding which questions to ask, how to organize them, and how to develop them. . .
Scripture references are provided to help you and class members find answers to most questions in the scriptures. Answers to some questions will come from class members’ experiences.For Priesthood/Relief Society 4th Sunday Lesson a.k.a. Teaching for our Time
Suggestions for Preparing a Lesson from Talks
Pray that the Holy Spirit will be with you as you study and teach the talk(s). You may be tempted to prepare the lesson using other materials, but the conference talks are the approved curriculum. Your assignment is to help others learn and live the gospel as taught in the most recent general conference of the Church.
Review the talk(s), looking for principles and doctrines that meet the needs of class members. Also look for stories, scripture references, and statements from the talk(s) that will help you teach these truths (italics added).From the Primary Manual:
Helps for the Teacher
In 1831, shortly after the Church was organized, the Savior taught that teachers “shall teach the principles of my gospel, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon” (D&C 42:12), which were the only scriptures available then. Today teachers have the responsibility to teach the sacred truths from all the standard works, including the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, to help children develop faith in God and in his Son, Jesus Christ.
From the Aaronic Priesthood/Young Men's Manual
Use the scriptures. Encourage the young men to bring their scriptures to priesthood meeting each week. Have marking pencils available for them to use during each lesson.
Encourage discussion. Invite the young men to respond freely and to ask questions. Recognize each young man’s contribution so he will want to participate in the future.
Use available Church magazines. The New Era, Ensign, and international magazines contain many outstanding stories and articles that may help enhance certain lessons in this manual. Particularly useful are the issues that contain talks given by the General Authorities of the Church at general conference.Finally, this quote is found at the beginning of the Young Women's Manual and it pretty much sums ups everything in this, my Sunday Soapbox blog:
Elder M. Russell Ballard counseled: “Teachers would be well advised to study carefully the scriptures and their manuals before reaching out for supplemental materials. Far too many teachers seem to stray from the approved curriculum materials without fully reviewing them. If teachers feel a need to use some good supplemental resources beyond the scriptures and manuals in presenting a lesson, they should first consider the use of the Church magazines” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1983, p. 93; or Ensign, May 1983, p. 68 bold type added).