Teach Principles, Not Points (part 2)

In my last post I talked about how teachers can revolutionize their teaching by moving to a principle-centered lesson outline, rather than using point-driven outlines.  Principle-centered outlines pack a big punch, are memorable, and capture the imagination of learners.  Here are some final thoughts about how to create principle-centered lessons that will reach adult learners where they live.  Dr. Bisagno shared these in this book, Letters to Timothy:

Step 1:  State the principle.  This is pretty simple and straightforward!  Just share the principle by saying it, writing it on the board,  or having class members fill it out in an outline.

Step 2:  Explain the principle.  You’ll want to spend a good amount of time here in your teaching plan.  Explain the background, customs, word meanings, etc.  Anticipate the critic and answer him in this portion of the lesson.

Step 3:  Apply the principle.  Actually, the Holy Spirit will apply the principle to the hearts of your students, but be a good steward of your leadership role and “overstate the obvious” if you need to.  Your learners’ minds will already be racing ahead, thinking of how the principle applies to their lives at that moment, so what you’ll do here will simply reinforce what the Spirit is telling them at that moment.

Step 4:  Illustrate the principle.  This is my favorite part!  Here’s a landmine to avoid:  don’t reach way back into history for your illustration!!  No one, and I mean no one, cares about Baron Von So & So from 12th century England.  Instead, you need to use illustrations from current events, movies, books, etc.  You may not be reading popular best-selling books, or going to see box office hits, but your learners are!  What are they watching on television?  What kinds of sports are they watching?  Draw your illustrations from these arenas and you’ll powerfully illustrate the principles you’re teaching.

I invite you to respond to this post with questions or comments!  Perhaps you have used principle-centered lessons and can share from your experience, or maybe you see the potential in principle-centered lessons.

If someone you know would benefit from reading this blog, pass along the URL!  Thanks for continuing to drop by and participate in our growing community of readers!

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