Teaching Ideas

You Are Not the Teacher

I have come to appreciate more and more that when teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, I am not the teacher. I am simply an instrument in allowing the Holy Ghost to teach and testify of important truths the Lord needs all of us to understand and internalize more fully.

The scriptures identify the principle that when a teacher teaches by the Spirit and the students hear by the Spirit, real gospel learning takes place.

Doctrine & Covenants 50:17–22 says:

17 Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth, doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?
18 And if it be by some other way it is not of God.
19 And again, he that receiveth the word of truth, doth he receive it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?
20 If it be some other way it is not of God.
21 Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know, that he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth?
22 Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together.

The Pressure is Off Us

When we, as teachers, acknowledge that the real teacher of all gospel learning is the Holy Ghost, the pressure is off us. We don’t have to be entertainers, scriptorians, dynamic presenters, or even fashion icons. We just have to be prepared and humble enough to invite the Spirit into our classrooms so He can teach and testify.

I have been a member of several class discussions led by extremely different but talented teachers. Some are funny while some are serious; some share many stories while some stick straight to the scriptures. Some present with confidence while others are naturally shy. The common denominator in each of these classes, however, is the presence of the Spirit. When the Spirit is present in a classroom, students learn.

Invite Listening

When you are teaching, invite your class members to listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost and acknowledge what He is trying to say. Encourage class members to have a notebook or even a sticky note handy to record impressions that might be fleeting. In this device-driven world, you can even encourage class members to use the notes feature in the gospel library app to record thoughts and impressions as they come so they are not lost.

Elder Richard G. Scott taught, “Inspiration carefully recorded shows God that His communications are sacred to us. Recording will also enhance our ability to recall revelation. Such recording of direction of the Spirit should be protected from loss or intrusion by others” (“How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life,” Ensign, May 2012).

Even if it means they tune out your lesson momentarily to record impressions, encourage your class members to take time to write down feelings they are experiencing during your lessons. Of the two, the Spirit is the better teacher and will have a more lasting impact on your students. Encourage them to listen for those promptings and act upon them.

How Can You Improve?

Have you felt any promptings about your own teaching style? What are they? How can you change or improve your teaching style to invite the Holy Ghost to be the real teacher? Are there things you can do to encourage your class members to listen for and follow the promptings of the Spirit during the lessons you teach? Are there things you can do to invite the Spirit to be a more active participate in your class discussions? Record your impressions.

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