Called in to see the bishop today

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Mrs. Goofy Gordon
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Called in to see the bishop today

Postby Mrs. Goofy Gordon » Sun 06 Jul, 2008 04:56 pm

but would have never guessed in a million years what it was about.
I teach the Gospels Essentials class.
In our ward we have a few people who come always and then investagators, those coming back into activity and a few who just come as it is a low key class back to the basics of the Gospel. The missionaries come also, as does the mission leader at times.
Bishop asked how I felt he class was going? Great! hard at times due to the diverse group of new, old, and non-members that can make up the class, each week different make up.
Gordon has always been supportive and great for adding to the discussions and asking great questions to keep things going.
He was expelled from my class today. Summoned by the bishop as class began! ( I got to talk to bishop after)
Expressions of concern were made to the bishop in recent weeks about
feeling that at times he questions me, or seems to be arguing with me, Questioning church doctrine even. ( SO not, as we have great discussions throughout the week concerning wht my lesson will be on )We both have never felt this, just always felt that one should ask and try to see things from a different point of view, promoting a discussion ( class can be dead at times)
Anyway it was just odd, so bishop asked him to go to the Gospel Doctrine class for a bit, and see how it goes.

Just a strange sort of thing.

Note: There is a couple in class, who are never going to be our best friends, lets leave it at that.
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lilcis
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Postby lilcis » Tue 08 Jul, 2008 05:21 pm

My husband and I share a calling teaching the 16-17yr old Sunday School class. We take turns teaching, and unless one of is gone we participate in the class when the other is teaching.

This past Sunday our Sunday School President sat in on our class (he usually rotates through all the classes) and afterwards he gave us some advice. He said we need to call on our students directly, rather than just asking a question to everyone and waiting for one of them to respond. When we do that we're usually met with a lot of silence, and then one of us answers.

It was good advice, though a little hard to be critiqued. They're at that age where they should all know the basic answers, yet insecurity (and drifting minds prevents them from speaking up. And I was really shy as a teenager, so I hate putting any of them on the spot. But I'm really not helping them learn and grow if I don't challenge them.

Maybe it's similar deal with your class, having your husband there prevents others from asking questions and speaking up, because they feel he knows more than them.
Why are you the way that you are? Honestly, every time I try to do something fun or exciting, you make it not that way. I hate so much about the things that you choose to be. Michael Scott

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Momma Snider
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Postby Momma Snider » Tue 08 Jul, 2008 06:43 pm

Good point, lilcis.

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Postby ImAdhis » Tue 08 Jul, 2008 08:51 pm

Truly.
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Postby Karenins_SuperSon » Tue 08 Jul, 2008 09:56 pm

As related by a member of our Bishopric (the YM meet combined on Fast Sunday and are taught by the Bishopric):

The lesson was on Jacob and Esau, pottage, and the birth-right and modern-day "pottage".

During the discussion, it got to the point where they were talking about the birth-right being given away. One of the boys was asked, "What do you think about that, [Name]?"

His reply: "Good stuff."

The response, "What is good stuff, [Name]?"

His response, "Umm...what ever it is that you were just talking about. That's good stuff."

So, yeah, you're going to get almost no response at times by calling on them directly.

But, sometimes you might just be surprised.
Her lips were saying "no," but her eyes were saying, "read my lips."---Dr. Niles Crane

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Postby AdamOndi » Wed 09 Jul, 2008 08:39 am

Whenever I have taught lessons (be it in Gospel Doctrine, Gospel Essentials, Primary, or Elders' Quorum), I have found that calling on people by name is vastly more effective than asking general questions. Also, if you don't know people's names, this is a perfect way to learn them. Announce that you don't know everyone's names and therefore you will be asking them their name and asking them to answer a question at the same time. This worked wonders for me trying to learn ward members' names while on my LDS mission in new areas.
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Mrs. Goofy Gordon
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Postby Mrs. Goofy Gordon » Wed 09 Jul, 2008 11:31 am

Thanks everyone for your comments.

I will have to work on calling folks by name to answer questions. It is usually a small group and I know I do tend to ask in general.
Thanks
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Postby lilcis » Thu 10 Jul, 2008 02:48 pm

I think it might work if I call on someone first, then ask the question, and give them time to think about it. Then at least I'll know they heard the question, even if they don't have a response. I'm hoping if i keep doing that they'll start to pay more attention.

I'm also trying to keep them more engaged by focusing on just one or two key points from the lesson, rather than trying to cover the whole thing.

I'll see how it goes on Sunday.
Why are you the way that you are? Honestly, every time I try to do something fun or exciting, you make it not that way. I hate so much about the things that you choose to be. Michael Scott

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Audrey
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Postby Audrey » Fri 11 Jul, 2008 11:00 am

lilcis wrote:I think it might work if I call on someone first, then ask the question, and give them time to think about it. Then at least I'll know they heard the question, even if they don't have a response. I'm hoping if i keep doing that they'll start to pay more attention.


Just a few thoughts here about asking questions. In my opinion, there is not one right or wrong way to do it, nor is there a particular "best way" that will work all the time with all groups of students.

Some groups respond very well to open-ended questions like "Why is X important?" and other groups will stare at you blankly as if you've asked a rhetorical question. In other groups, you will have one or two class members who will always answer and the others are either happy to have been let off the hook or are annoyed that so-and-so is an attention hog and never gives anyone else a chance to participate.

The approach that lilcis mentioned above, of calling on someone and then asking the question, can be effective sometimes, but it does tend to make people feel put on the spot and sometimes that will affect their willingness and/or ability to answer. (For instance, I know I hate it when someone asks me to read a verse of scripture and then asks me to summarize what I just read. I have a hard time paying attention to the content when I'm reading out loud because I'm more concerned with pronouncing everything correctly and being appropriately expressive. It flusters me and I always feel dumb that I have no idea what I just read!) Also, when you call on someone first, it lets everyone else in the room off the hook from having to think about the answer.

A variation of that approach is to ask a specific question and THEN call on someone to answer. This gives everyone a chance to think and prepare an answer, but also keeps everyone on their toes. When people know there is a possibility they will be called on, they usually rise to the occasion a little better and stay more engaged in the lesson. An alternative to this approach is to allow class members to discuss their thoughts with a neighbor or small group before sharing. (And there are plenty of ways to "force" participation in a more fun/random way, such as having little sticks with students' names on them and drawing one out of a jar when you ask a question, having students toss a ball to another student as each question is asked so that THEY are choosing who gets called on, etc.)

Both in gospel teaching and in my job teaching school, I find that using a variety of question-and-answer techniques is good. It keeps things more interesting and less predictable, and also allows the teacher more opportunity to reach students in ways that make sense to them. Some students get a lot out of conversation and discussion, some need to see a visual outline of the key points written on the board or a handout, others benefit most from object lessons, group work, or a hands-on application of the topic at hand. Sometimes a specific question like, "What are the substances the Word of Wisdom tells us to avoid?" is effective, and other times you will get more out of asking an open-ended question like, "How has the Word of Wisdom affected you personally?"

In the Church people are called to fill teaching positions regardless of their training in classroom management and educational approaches, or their comfort in public speaking or leading a group. I guess the bottom line is that we all have things we can learn about how to teach in such a way that both we and our students will get more out of the lesson. This thread is great -- I think there is value in sharing ideas, and so few wards have a Teacher Improvement program that is actually helpful (if they have one at all).

And of course the biggest thing to remember is that if you were called by God to teach your class, then you can be blessed with personal revelation from God as to how to fulfill that calling. Approach teaching prayerfully and the Spirit will help you know what to say and ask, how to say and ask those things, and will help you feel more comfortable in that role.

Good luck to lilcis and Mrs. Goofy Gordon, and everyone else who will be teaching!
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Postby ImAdhis » Fri 11 Jul, 2008 12:45 pm

Audrey gave lots of good info.

I'll emphasize that good questions are more likely to get responses than lame questions. A lame question is "So does God think prayer is good?" Questions with obvious answers are insulting to respond to and stimulate no thinking.

I will also emphasize what Aubrey said about everyone learning in different ways. I hate when a teacher relies on ONLY my ears to get her message. I am very visual. I will cling onto a picture or a list on the board or a printed quote to stay tuned to the lesson. Even a vivid story that conjures up a mental picture for me is helpful.
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Postby lilcis » Fri 11 Jul, 2008 03:06 pm

Wow, it's so cool to get advice like that. Thanks Audrey!!

We've been teaching our class for over a year, and I've been really dissapointed by the lack of progress we've made. I was hoping we'd be the "cool" couple, and the kids would enjoy talking to us and coming to class. My goal was to try to get them to be more analytical about the scriptures, and really think about what the passages mean to them as individuals, not just what they are taught to mean.

I feel like one of the roadblocks has been the relationship the kids have with each other. Of the kids who come regularly, three are really close friends and always sit together and whisper during class. I don't want to be mean and seperate them, especially since two of them are dating and I know this may be the only time they get to see each other. The other two regulars are kind of outsiders and don't really engage the others. One kid is really antsy, and is always fidgeting with something. The other is a sweet, quiet, shy girl. I've seen her at the movies with her friends and she's totally happy and loud and outgoing. But in class I think that she may feel a little left out of the friendship that the 'three musketeers" share. She reminds me a lot of myself at that age.

I have one kid that hates being at church, and never wants to come to class. So when he's there (usually because his parents make him) he always brings his bad attitude with him and refuses to participate. I try to get him to participate too, asking him to read and then waiting while he finds the scripture. But then he'll close the book again right away, doesn't even pretend to try to follow along. Maybe I should just let him sulk in the corner.

There's one kid who's totally mission-ready. He knows the scriptures well and how to apply them. He gets a long with everyone and has thoughtful answers. But I feel like even he is totally bored.

I try to mix things up. Writing on the board, bringing pictures, occasionally bringing video clips to watch. I'm not good at coming up with games or other fun activities, so I usually just stick with the book and whatever I can dig up online.

<sigh> I really wish I could figure this out.
Why are you the way that you are? Honestly, every time I try to do something fun or exciting, you make it not that way. I hate so much about the things that you choose to be. Michael Scott

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Postby Karenins_SuperSon » Fri 11 Jul, 2008 03:12 pm

I taught the same age kids when we lived in Redlands for Sunday School.

One of the things that I did, at the end of the year, was I made new "discs" for our Catch Phrase game (I've still got the digital Microsoft Word template at home).

Basically, I picked 60 words from the New Testament for each disc (I think it's 30 each side) and we played church Catch Phrase.

It was harder than it sounds. They had to know the phrases/stories to try to get their team to guess them.

I don't know if you have the OLD, non-digital Catch Phrase game or not, but the class enjoyed it so much with New Testament that they had me do it the next year for Book of Mormon.

Dorky, I know...figuring out the geometric distribution on the Microsoft Word template based off angles, etc., but I'm nerdy like that.
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Postby Audrey » Fri 11 Jul, 2008 03:13 pm

ImAdhis wrote:I'll emphasize that good questions are more likely to get responses than lame questions. A lame question is "So does God think prayer is good?" Questions with obvious answers are insulting to respond to and stimulate no thinking.

Also very true!

I attend a singles branch and am definitely among the oldest in the group. We have a Relief Society advisor who really grates on my nerves with the kinds of questions she asks, which are of the "So does God think prayer is good?" variety. Another thing she does is that preschool fill-in-the-word thing where she'll say something like, "So we have two kinds of priesthood, the Aaronic and the Mel....." and expects someone to complete the word. I often don't answer her questions because it really does feel insulting. I mean, we're single, not retarded. We're young adults, not Sunbeams. We are quite capable of discussing the gospel on a higher level than that, and would very much like to. But the fact that we don't answer makes her do it even MORE, I guess because she equates no answer with no knowledge. Blargh.

(People say teachers make the worst students. I am pretty sure that is true of me. Also, I may just be a mean person.)
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Postby Karenins_SuperSon » Fri 11 Jul, 2008 03:24 pm

Audrey wrote:"So we have two kinds of priesthood, the Aaronic and the Mel....." and expects someone to complete the word. I often don't answer her questions because it really does feel insulting.

Just answer them wrong. It will make her stop sooner than you think.

It's just as annoying as finishing someone's sentences for them.

The exchange then would've gone something like this:

Teacher: So we have two kinds of priesthood, the Aaronic and the Mel.....
Me: Gibson!
Teacher: No.
Me: Mel-ancholy?
Teacher: NO!
Me: Me-licious?
Teacher: It's MA-licious, not MEL-icious.
Me: Whatever, I don't know how to spell it.
Her lips were saying "no," but her eyes were saying, "read my lips."---Dr. Niles Crane

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Postby Audrey » Fri 11 Jul, 2008 03:30 pm

KSS's idea is very cool! Teenagers LOVE to play games and anything you can do to make Sunday School feel like fun and not like school or church or other boring or lame activities is usually a good thing.

Lilcis, if the kids' relationships with each other is a core issue, maybe you guys could try having a class social that would allow them to interact with each other outside of Sunday School and see a different side of one another as well as of you and your husband. Invite them over for a funny movie or a game night or barbecue or something.

When I was in middle school I was part of a SS group that was notoriously difficult, and our new teacher did that. She had this giant jar and this bag of pom pom balls in varying sizes. When we read out loud in class or answered questions, she would put a pom pom in the jar. Particularly thoughtful insights earned larger pom poms and good behavior would earn us a small handful. Bad behavior would cause pom poms to be removed. This teacher promised us a pizza party at her house after we filled the jar. It took us several months to earn that pizza party, but I still remember it today and remember that teacher as a favorite. How tricky was that, essentially bribing us into uniting ourselves and working together toward a common goal? And guess what else? By paying more attention and participating more, we learned more about the gospel. Pretty genius, I think.

Maybe you could even change the seating arrangement in such a way that it encourages more participation from everyone. Have class out on the lawn on a blanket when the weather is nice. Sit in a circle or around a table in the classroom so there is no "back of the room" and nowhere to hide.

As for games, I have lots of things I do with my teenagers at school that could be adapted for Church, so PM me sometime if you have a lesson you'd like an idea for and I'll help out if I can!
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Postby Audrey » Fri 11 Jul, 2008 03:34 pm

Karenins_SuperSon wrote:Teacher: So we have two kinds of priesthood, the Aaronic and the Mel.....
Me: Gibson!
Teacher: No.
Me: Mel-ancholy?
Teacher: NO!
Me: Me-licious?
Teacher: It's MA-licious, not MEL-icious.
Me: Whatever, I don't know how to spell it.


Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!! Awesome!
If you smile at me I will understand, 'cause that is something everybody everywhere does in the same language.

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Mrs. Goofy Gordon
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Postby Mrs. Goofy Gordon » Fri 11 Jul, 2008 05:38 pm

You guys have been great! Thanks so much.

I have been trying to work on different things as I prepare this weeks lesson on Fasting.
My class is to be geared toward the the non member checking us out, and the less active coming back to church. I do use, visual things and other things too and I try to change up the seating. I usually sit, an am more of a leader of discussion, or try to be, it is a small group and room.
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Postby ImAdhis » Fri 11 Jul, 2008 07:30 pm

Karenins_SuperSon wrote:Just answer them wrong. It will make her stop sooner than you think.

HA! I am that annoying sister who does answer the dumb questions wrong. I know. I'm annoying. I already mentioned that.

Also, SuperSon, I'm interested in that CatchPhrase template. Would you send that to me?
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Postby Sarah » Sat 12 Jul, 2008 09:06 am

Audrey wrote: Another thing she does is that preschool fill-in-the-word thing where she'll say something like, "So we have two kinds of priesthood, the Aaronic and the Mel....." and expects someone to complete the word. I often don't answer her questions because it really does feel insulting. I mean, we're single, not retarded. We're young adults, not Sunbeams. We are quite capable of discussing the gospel on a higher level than that, and would very much like to. But the fact that we don't answer makes her do it even MORE, I guess because she equates no answer with no knowledge. Blargh.


Oh my gosh, Audrey, thank you for finally identifying what my Institute teacher does all the time. I've been trying to figure out for months why it bugs me so much, to the point where I almost can't attend his classes.
The sad thing is, I used to LOVE this teacher's courses when I first moved to the area, but the teaching style he's been using over the past year or so (the example above is just one of several that make me feel patronized), has really turned me off. I've come to the conclusion that he must have changed his technique after attending a training meeting or something.

I don't suppose anyone has advice on this? I love this brother--he's been a great adviser, friend, and priesthood leader, but I can't stand his teaching most of the time and I feel bad when I have to make excuses to not attend his class.
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Postby Card » Sat 12 Jul, 2008 01:26 pm

My question is about the Catch Phrase. I have the new crappy one. Does this not work with the new one?


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