Today’s blog post is an excerpt from an older book on teaching adults. While the printing of the book took place a few years ago, the content is timeless. The book is now out of print, but I am pleased to share these thoughts with you from the book Teaching Adults the Bible by Michael Fink and Ross West. Together these men help us understand the importance of knowing the people in our groups:
Consider whether you agree with this statement: The effectiveness of your teaching depends on the degree to which you teach with awareness of the rich experiences of adults in your class. Do you agree? I consider the statement to be true. The statement would be less true, of course, if the sole aim of your teaching were to fill member’s heads with facts or to ‘cover’ a certain set of material. Is the goal of your teaching merely to fill adults’ heads with facts or cover a body of material? I hope not. If that is your goal, though, I have three bits of news for you. First, ‘in one ear and out the other’ likely describes what is occurring in your class. In fact, you may not be getting into the first ear, much less through the other one. Second, one wit has suggested that the most efficient way for a teacher to cover the material is to sit on the material! in fact, sitting on the material may do about the same amount of good as expounding on a multitude of facts unconnected to the lives of adults. Third, Adult Sunday School has been designed with more in mind than helping adults learn about someone else’s religious experiences…Adult Sunday School teaching should be aimed at helping adults learn from Scripture what they need to help them deal with the problems they face. Obviously Bible facts are important. Adults, however, need to connect those facts to life. –Teaching Adults the Bible, pp.43-44.