How Learning Works

Monday’s posts on the blog are always taken from short excerpts from books that I recommend to you. Today’s post is from a book titled How Learning Works: 7 Research Based Principles for Smart Teaching.

There is so much great content in the book that I will most likely reference some other quotes in future posts on Mondays. Today’s post, though, is about the tone of your class/group. Although the book is not written to Christian educators, its research findings have implications for those of us who lead Bible study groups. Here is what the authors say about the importance of the tone of the class:

 Course climate is…about how the instructor communicates with students, the level of hospitableness that students perceive, and the more general range of inclusion and comfort that students experience…The factor that relates to course climate the most is what he termed “Faculty Student Orientation” and includes items such as student perceptions of whether the faculty are interested in students’ academic problems, care about the concerns of minority groups, are approachable outside of class, and treat students as persons and not numbers.” (p.177)

Again, the book is written to a secular audience, but the research has implications for us in the church. It is clear that the tone set by the teacher determines to a large degree whether or not his learners consider him to be “for them.” Tone either makes a teacher approachable or not.

As teachers of God’s Word, you and I control the tone and climate in our Bible study groups. May we always exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, show genuine compassion and interest in our group members, and reassure our learners that we are approachable any time they need us. May we never be guilty of being the kinds of teachers like the ones in the secular survey documented in the book.

If you could do one thing to create a more positive tone in your group, what would that be?

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