Create active learning

Tuesday’s teaching tip is about creating opportunities for group members to experience active learning. People will engage with the content and they will be able to remember the content when you choose active, not passive, approaches to teaching. For instance:

  • Rather than tell your group members something about a passage of Scripture, have them jot down their own observations from the text. Rather than listening to you, they are exploring, thinking, and writing for themselves. Don’t tell them “the three things Paul said.” Instead, have them discover those things for themselves. That’s active, not passive.
  • Instead of simply showing a poster or map, divide group members into smaller groups of three to four people and ask them to discuss something about the visual aid you’re using. Perhaps you could give each group a large wall-size PostIt Note and have them jot down their thoughts. Getting them to move around, stand up, discuss, and write all contribute to a more active learning approach.
  • Instead of reading a long passage of Scripture to your group, have each person in turn read one verse until the entire passage has been read.
  • Instead of just displaying a map of Paul’s second missionary journey, give your group members a blank map and ask them to use the larger map on the wall to locate several key cities in which he ministered. They can draw a dot on their blank map and write the name of the city next to it. This will make the entire process of identifying cities much more active than simply looking at a map on the wall.

I think you see the pattern here. Try to avoid the temptation of telling people things about the Bible – give them opportunities to discover things about it for themselves. Active learning will pay big dividends for both you and your group members…so take those passive techniques and find ways to make learning more active.

And by the way, you have Physical Learners in your group – those people who are engaged in learning as they DO things. Active learning techniques will certainly appeal to them and keep their minds from wandering off.


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