Today’s blog post is based on an excerpt from Dr. Rick Yount’s classic work, Created to Learn. His book, now in an expanded form, shows teachers how to teach so that every learner in the class can be engaged mentally, emotionally, socially, and practically. Education learning theories are explained in terms that are easily understood and applied inside the classroom.
In the particular passage I’ve chosen to highlight today, Dr. Yount addresses the important topic of learning readiness. Here, in his own words, is what he believes about this important part of the teaching-learning experience:
The Law of Readiness states that learning proceeds best when learners are properly prepared to respond. If learners are ready to respond, there is satisfaction…in being allowed to respond. There is frustration…in being forbidden to respond. If the learner is not ready to respond, there is frustration in being forced to respond…In the classroom, learning proceeds best when learners are made ‘ready’ – when they are engaged in the subject – at the beginning of the session. Educators still refer to the opening moments of a session as ‘learning readiness.’ The term refers to more than interest. It refers to intentional experiences that prepare learners psychologically for what is to follow.
Dr. Yount goes on to suggest several ways that teachers can create interest in the subject matter they plan to teach. His list is not exhaustive, but representative, of things you can do to focus people’s attention:
- ask a question
- pose a problem
- suggest a conflict between views
- raise a dilemma
To his list, I could add:
- discuss a current event
- show a video clip
- play a song
- take a pre-test
- get into a buzz group
How are you creating learning readiness when you teach? Don’t assume the people who attend your Bible study are in a posture to learn. They will come to your Bible study with the cares of the day or week on their mind. Pay special attention to your learning readiness activity and spend enough time crafting something that will hook your people’s interest.
Of all the stages of a Bible study, this one may be the most important – if you don’t capture people’s attention at the beginning, you’ll struggle to involve them in the Bible study later.