Beat The Clock
By Jan Cagno
Christian education has fallen behind secular education in methods and techniques in many of today’s Sunday schools. A good teacher must be aware of the importance of catching and holding the attention of ALL the students in the class, and this usually requires the use of audio visuals, learning and review games, and other special activities that will involve the students in the learning process. This is as true for the adult departments of the Sunday school as it is for the primaries, although few adult departments practice these teaching techniques.
The question that arises most often when the use of supplementary activities is discussed with teachers is, “How can we find time to include these ‘extra’ things in our lesson?” There always seems to be a problem of too little time. How can teachers “beat the clock?”
The answer lies in your schedule for each Sunday’s class period. First, perhaps you will need to talk to your superintendent or department leader about shortening the departmental worship time or opening exercises if they are taking too big a bite out of the class time. These are important periods of preparation for the lesson to follow, but they should be kept brief.
Then, no matter what age level you are teaching, it is important for you to carefully set your priorities for each lesson. Remember that teaching has not taken place until the learner has really learned something. Therefore you must decide what the learner needs to learn from a particular lesson and then decide how the age level you are dealing with can most easily understand and learn that lesson. You must keep in mind that most learning takes place when the student is involved in the process. Therefore, if you consume 30 minutes of your time “telling” the lesson, before you begin to help the students “experience” the lesson, you are not allotting your time wisely. Try to present the facts of the lesson as clearly, concisely and in as little time as possible.
Be a clock watcher. Don’t get side-tracked with too many illustrations of your own experiences, etc. After the facts have been presented (5 to 15 minutes, depending on the age level), the next step is “discovery or experiential” time. This should involve discussion, games, object lessons – everything that involves the student in understanding and APPLYING the truth of the message to their personal lives. Again you must watch the clock and keep things moving. Plan a schedule for each lesson and, although you may not always adhere rigidly to your schedule, you will have a guide to help you accomplish the most in the time you have at your disposal. Set your priorities prayerfully, remembering that it is God’s Word that He has promised to bless and that is the most important element of your lesson. Then carefully divide your time according to the priorities you have set. The final step is to watch the clock as your Sunday school hour progresses and learn how to keep things moving smoothly. You can “BEAT THE CLOCK!”