Teacher Improvement 4: Ages and Stages in Gospel Learning

February 1, 2014    By: Matt W. @ 8:00 pm   Category: Life

This Lesson is a little more unfocused than prior lessons as my main goal here is the transfer of information. The basic design of the lesson is going to be to go over some general information then to allow the class to determine which age groups they would like to focus on.

But First to reemphasize last weeks lesson on preparation:

  • Prayed about which topics to emphasize, debated most of the week on which topic to do next
    • Effective methods in the class or Ages and Stages, Ages and Stages won, got serious Friday night
  • With the Manual!
    • TNGC- Part C, lessons 1,2,4,6
  • With Google!
    • Googled “ppt ages and stages” for other peoples presentations in powerpoint on this subject
    • Checked out “site:byu.edu teaching adults” for ideas
    • Went down a rabbit hole on “Fowler’s stages of Faith” but decided not to use it. To much like showing off.

 

General Information:

  • Caveat #1- When talking about general principles for teaching strategies, it is important that we remember they are just that, generalizations meant to help spur thinking. Every classroom is a snowflake, so we can’t expect the generalizations to always apply. Further, the older people get, the broader their diversity is in terms of personal experience and development, so the less likely these concepts are to apply. People can be fully developed in some areas (physical,emotional, intellectual, social) but under developed in others. The old adage that everyone is better than us at something is probably a good one to remember.
  • Caveat #2- See Caveat #1

At this point I will give my class 5 options to cover.

  • Children 6-8
  • Children 9-11
  • Youth 12-14 and 15-18
  • Adults

(For my class, made a conscious decision to not go into younger ages)

Children 6-8

Discussion: What do you think of when we talk about 6-8 year olds?

  • Physical Characteristics
    • Physical Development slows down
    • Learning to master physical motor skills
    • Good with large muscle motor skills, still developing fine motor skills
    • implications
      • Messy and Clumsy, may have difficulty with complex crafts
      • Activities that require large muscle movement are good
  • Social Characteristics
    • Learning how to be friends, many friends
    • Will Fight, but typically not long lasting
    • Boys begin to separate from the girls, but not yet 100%
    • Implications
      • Small Groups can encourage social interaction
      • Enjoys role playing (helps encourage empathy)
      • Still comfortable with mixed gender activities
  • Emotional Characteristics
    • Self-Centered
    • Wants to be approved of by adults
    • Sensitive to criticism, hates failure or losing
    • Implications
      • Be positive, give praise!
      • Plan activities where everyone wins
      • Promote cooperation, not competition
  • Intellectual Characteristics
    • Concrete thinkers- very literal and focused on “the now”
    • Don’t multi-task well (like me!)
    • More interested in doing things than the end result
    • Implications
      • Keep activities short
      • Focus on the process, not the end result

Discussion: Based on these implications, how do we build a great primary lesson for this age group

Discussion: What do you think of when we talk about 9-11 year olds?

  • Physical Characteristics
    • Moving all the time—can’t sit still!
    • Growth spurt – beginning adolescence
    • Females mature before males
    • implications
      • Provide active learning experiences
      • Avoid competition between boys and girls
  • Social Characteristics
    • Joining clubs; same sex groups, like blonging
    • Don’t understand view points of others, but like to make others happy
    • Like to please adults with successful project completion
    • Implications
      • Use Group Learning with same sex members
      • Emphasize sense of belonging to the group in the class
    • Emotional Characteristics
      • Weak sense of individual identity
      • Can be Moody
      • Justice and equality become important
      • Need to feel part of something important
      • Begin to question authority but still want guidance
      •  Implications
        • Don’t compare youth to each other
        • Help them identify their strengths
        • Emphasize progress made from previous performance
    • Intellectual Characteristics
      • Until 11, think concretely – black/white – then begin to understand new ideas
      • Learning to think abstractly
      • More immersed in subjects that interest them
      • Want to find own solutions
      • Implications
        • Use simple, short directions and brief learning experiences
        • Offer a wide range of activities to ensure success

Discussion: Based on these implications, how do we build a great primary lesson for this age group

Summary:

  • For younger children:
  • Organize activities & events that are age-appropriate, active
  • Encourage active involvement rather than competition
  • Be generous with praise
  • Encourage sense of belonging in class
  • Provide clear and simple rules, boundaries, & structure
  •  Tell parents what you are teaching in your class so they can reinforce those gospel principles in the home

 

Teens vs Kids:

  • What’s the same
    • Support
    • Expectations of Good Conduct
    • Encouragement to Identify with the Kingdom of God
  • What we need to focus on different
    • Respect for Individuality
    • A vision of their future

Discussion: What do you think of when we talk about 12-14 year olds?

  • Physical Characteristics
    • Many physical changes
    • Boys may still be growing;  Boys usually reach maximum height by 16, girl by 14
    • implications
      • Be willing to answer questions on sensitive topics regarding physical change
      • Avoid comments that criticize or compare youth physically
  •  Social Characteristics
    • Looking for activities involving opposite sex (debatable)
    • Look more to peers than parents
    • Searching for adult role models; fan clubs
    • Tend to reject solutions from adults in favor of their own
    • Implications
      • Let them plan own programs
      • Establish climate that is conducive to peer support
      • Emphasize personal development
  • Emotional Characteristics
    • Compare themselves to others
    • See themselves as always on center stage
    • Abandon view of parents as all powerful
    • Unsettled emotions
    • Strive to earn independence
    • Implications:
      • Let teens assume responsibility – expect them to follow through
      • Help them explore identity, values, beliefs
      • Help them develop individual skills
      • Encourage youth and adults working together
  •  Intellectual Characteristics
    • Gain cognitive and study skills
    • Learning abstract thinking
    • Ready for in-depth, long-term experiences
    • Like to set goals based on their needs
    • Enjoy thrill but little concept of risk/danger
    • Implications:
      • Give them real-life problems to solve
      • Let them make decisions and evaluate outcomes
      • Encourage service learning
      • Plan safe thrill-seeking activities

Discussion: Based on these implications, how do we build a great primary lesson for this age group

 

Discussion: What do you think of when we talk about 15-18 year olds?

  • Physical Characteristics
    • Concerned about body image
    • Exhibit smaller range in size and maturity among peers
    • Tend to have unrealistic view of limits to which body can be tested
    • Implications:
      • Be good example of comfort with body image
      • Avoid comments that criticize or compare youth
      • Set a good example for health and physical fitness
  •  Social Characteristics
    • Tend to romanticize sexuality
    • Search for intimacy; test sexual attractiveness
    • Makes commitments and can follow through
    • Desire respect; wants adult leadership roles
    • Are apt to reject goals set by others
    • Implications
      • Let them plan own programs
      • Establish climate that is conducive to peer support
      • Emphasize personal development and leadership
      • Frank discussion of Law of Chastity
  • Emotional Characteristics
    • Desire respect
    • Accepting their own uniqueness but still seek approval from peers
    • Look for confidence of others in their decisions
    • Developing own set of values and beliefs
    • Gaining autonomy; introspective
    • Can initiate and carry out tasks without supervision
    • Implications:
      • Let teens assume responsibility – expect them to follow through
      • Help them explore identity, values, beliefs
      • Help them develop individual skills
      • Encourage youth and adults working together
  • Intellectual Characteristics
    • Are mastering abstract thinking
    • Can imagine impact of present behavior on future
    • Enjoy demonstrating acquired knowledge
    • Will lose patience with meaningless activities
    • Implications:
      • Give them real-life problems to solve
      • Let them make decisions and evaluate outcomes
      • Encourage service learning
      • Plan career exploration activities

Discussion: Based on these implications, how do we build a great primary lesson for this age group

Summary for Teens:

  • Encourage emerging independence, but maintain structure, boundaries, rules
  • Be sensitive to self-image issues
  • Be open to discussing/handling sensitive issues
  • Foster positive peer interaction
  • Be a positive role model
  • Provide constructive criticism along with positive feedback
  • Promote hands-on activities & experiential learning opportunities

 

Adults: (changing format here, the literature I’ve read is less structured for adults)

Adult Learners are:

  • Are autonomous and self-directed.
    • Involve participants.
    • Serve as facilitator.
    • Determine interests of learners.
    •  invite class members to use the first five minutes of class to share insights or inspiration they had gained through their personal scripture study during the week
  • Have a foundation of life experiences and knowledge.
    • Recognize expertise of participants.
    • Encourage participants to share their experiences and knowledge.
  • Are goal-oriented.
    • Be organized.
    • Have clear objectives.
  • Are relevancy-oriented.
    • Explain how teaching objectives relate to teaching activities.
  • Are practical.
    • Show relevance of teaching to life experiences.
    • “Adults want to find solutions to the challenges they face in their families. They are anxious to learn how gospel principles apply to these challenges, and they are interested in others’ insights and experiences. Discussions on such subjects are a good use of the time you spend studying the gospel together.” -TNGC
  • Need to be shown respect.
    • Acknowledge the wealth of knowledge and experiences the participants bring to the teaching.
      • This means acknowledging divergent perspectives (Single people matter!)
    • Treat the participants as equals rather than subordinates.
  • Prefer experiential learning (debateable)

Experiential Learning implies OJT which can be difficult in  a Sunday school setting.

Going from least experiential to most experiential:

  • Reading – highly didactic
  • Lecture
  • Experiential lecture (has interaction, readings, etc.)
  • Discussion
  • Case study
  • Role playing
  • Structured experience
  • Immersive learning group –highly experiential

The reality is many find role playing uncomfortable in a Gospel setting, so Case study stile scenarios may be the best we can do. Limited to “life application” scenarios. Not every lesson is going to end up in a life application scenario.

Discussion: With this in mind, how would you prepare a lesson for adults?

Summary for Adults:

  • Understand that Adults have a wealth of experiences on the topic which they ant to share
  • Be sure to give the lesson an objective which the class can see and understand
  • Help the Class see how the topic applies to their lives, especially their family responsibilities
  1.  (Note- I need to come back and site sources on a lot of this, as otherwise it is pure plagiarism. Just be aware that I lifted a lot of this directly from other sources. I am sadly not that smart.)

No Comments »

No comments yet.

Leave a comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.