Teacher Improvement Lesson 5- Effective Methods

February 16, 2014    By: Matt W. @ 9:35 am   Category: Life

This week I decided to keep things simple.

I start with quoting this famous story of teaching from Elder Packer:

“We scheduled zone conferences. For each one, Sister Packer baked a three-tiered cake, … decorated beautifully—thick, colorful layers of frosting, trimmed beautifully, and with ‘The Gospel’ inscribed across the top. When the missionaries were assembled, with some ceremony we brought the cake in. It was something to behold!

“As we pointed out that the cake represented the gospel, we asked, ‘Who would like to have some?’ There was always a hungry elder who eagerly volunteered. We called him forward and said, ‘We will serve you first.’ I then sank my fingers into the top of the cake and tore out a large piece. I was careful to clench my fist after tearing it out so that the frosting would ooze through my fingers, and then as the elders sat in total disbelief, I threw the piece of cake to the elder, splattering some frosting down the front of his suit. ‘Would anyone else like some cake?’ I inquired. For some reason, there were no takers.

“Then we produced a crystal dish, a silver fork, a linen napkin, and a beautiful silver serving knife. With great dignity I carefully cut a slice of the cake from the other side, gently set it on the crystal dish, and asked, ‘Would anyone like a piece of cake?’

“The lesson was obvious. It was the same cake in both cases, the same flavor, the same nourishment. The manner of serving either made it inviting, even enticing, or uninviting, even revolting. The cake, we reminded the missionaries, represented the gospel. How were they serving it?”

Focuing on this idea from the manual

 It is not enough to help those we teach to simply understand gospel principles. We also need to help them remember them and apply them.

I then turn my attention to the concept of sticky ideas and am going to run the class through the ideas in the book “Made to Stick” by Dan and Chip Heath. When I was first asked to teach this class, this was my first thought to teach and I haven’t been able to escape the idea, so I am going with it.

A summary of the book can be found here.

Finally I asked the class to bring upcoming lessons they are going to be teaching soon to workshop around the group.





  1. Effective example perhaps, but I’d want to call the apostle out for messing up my suit and would expect him to pay for cleaning. He need to be braver and try it on a stake president instead, not a timid missionary.

    Comment by JCC — February 17, 2014 @ 12:26 pm

  2. You always have such great book recommendations, Matt W. “Made To Stick” looks like another fascinating read!

    Comment by Bryan H. — February 17, 2014 @ 11:20 pm