I LOVED Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s presentation in the Feb 2007 Worldwide Leadership Session. His quote below describes perfectly how I will try and run my lessons.
In discussing preparation, may I also encourage you to avoid a temptation that faces almost every teacher in the Church; at least it has certainly been my experience. That is the temptation to cover too much material, the temptation to stuff more into the hour—or more into the students—than they can possibly hold! Remember two things in this regard: first of all, we are teaching people, not subject matter per se; and second, every lesson outline that I have ever seen will inevitably have more in it than we can possibly cover in the allotted time.
So stop worrying about that. It’s better to take just a few good ideas and get good discussion—and good learning—than to be frenzied, trying to teach every word in the manual. In these materials lying before me, I already have three or four times the content that I can possibly say or share with you today in the allotted time period of a classroom hour. So, like you, I have had to choose and select; I’m holding some material over for another day.
An unrushed atmosphere is absolutely essential if you are to have the Spirit of the Lord present in your class. Please don’t ever forget that. Too many of us rush. We rush right past the Spirit of the Lord trying to beat the clock in some absolutely unnecessary footrace.
Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting: Teaching and Learning February 10, 2007You will notice that I won’t cover every verse or even sometimes every chapter. I will really try to cover as much as possible, but as Elder Holland said it is ok to “[hold] some material for another day.” If you like another part of the lesson better, please let us know how you taught that part so we can all be better prepared.
Another quote from Elder Holland in the same meeting will finish out my explanation section.
Obviously, the very substance of the gospel, the scriptures themselves are the things that we are being called to teach, whether it’s Primary or our adult groups or our teenage groups, at home or in the Church. I am reminded of a powerful thing said in Alma 31[:5]—a favorite verse that I think says this about as well as any verse that I know of in the scriptures.
“And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God.”
So Alma is saying we should try the power of the word of God, since it has such a powerful effect.
We come to church and gather in these settings to hear the word of God, to hear declaration, Spirit, testimony, and conviction. When tough times come, when we need to be healed, what the world offers is not going to be enough. We come to be healed by the word of God.
We have a wealth of the word of God available to us, and we ought to use it.
Every teacher needs to remember that we have to “nourish by the good word of God.” We can be fed too—that can be part of the fun of it—but the significance of teaching is nourishment anchored in the word of God.
Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting: Teaching and Learning February 10, 2007Most of my material will be from the scriptures or quotes from Apostles and Prophets. I will really try to stick to the scriptures because I think that is what the Bretheren do and what they want us to do. I feel we don’t need any new “stuff” in class, but rather the simple doctrines of the Gospel applied to the lives of the students in our classes.