Crucial Tips to Help LDS Members Teach Effective Lessons

Commit to Lifelong Teaching and Teaching Improvement

Nursery class
Children play, snack and learn religious lessons in Nursery School while adults participate in more advanced classes. Photo courtesy of © 2007 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

You must Spiritually Prepare Before You Teach. Once you have that covered, you can begin preparing your specific lesson material. Remember, you need divine help with lesson preparation as well as lesson delivery.

Jesus Christ is the Master Teacher

Teaching guidelines can vary depending what gender and age group you are teaching. However, all good teaching carries some common characteristics. What follows applies to all gospel teaching.

Remember, whatever you lack in experience and technique can be made up by having the Spirit with you! Jesus Christ is the model teacher. Seek to teach as He taught.

Start Preparing Early and Do Not Procrastinate!

You should start preparing for your lesson as soon as you know you have to teach it. Read over the lesson as soon as you can and start pondering ideas. This is when inspiration and divine guidance come.

Spiritual promptings are unlikely to come to you if you are stressed or rushed. Also, you do not want to only partially follow them when they do come.

Use Only Church Approved Materials

Prepare your lesson using only Church materials. There are numerous reasons for doing so. If you are not fully convinced of this, do it on faith until you are convinced.

Using outside materials can result in disaster. These disasters you can avoid.

Besides, how do you expect your learners to follow gospel teaching and guidance if you do not?

Being a hypocrite is not an effective way to teach.

Use Appropriate Teaching Methods For Those You Teach

There are all sorts of learning styles just like there are all sorts of teachings styles. You not only have to vary your methods according to age and gender, you must use the most effective teaching methods for the unique individuals you teach.

No amount of training will make you an expert in this. Only the Holy Ghost's influence will help you solve this dilemma. Never forget how dependent you are on this critical resource.

Avoid Using Teaching Gimmicks

Some teaching behaviors go in and out of fashion. Some of these include object lessons, posing questions, distributing quotes for class members to read, etc. Methods become gimmicks when you resort to them because everybody else does and not because they are effective methods for what you are teaching.

Ask yourself this: What is the best way to teach this particular principle. Be open to technique, as well as inspiration, to discover the best answer.

Be Careful When Using Digital Media

Digital media is advancing exponentially. There are wise and foolish ways to use it. Poor use of digital media and equipment can result in the Spirit being absent from your lesson.

Make certain you know how to use the equipment. Carefully prepare your media. Have a backup plan in place should you have any unanticipated problems.

Where You Can Go For Help

If you do not know how to teach, you can learn. If you already know how to teach, you can learn to teach better.

Commit to becoming a more effective teacher each time you teach.

No matter where you start, gradual improvement will come.

Use the resources below to help you learn and improve your teaching:

Basic Resources

Intermediate Resources

Advanced Resources

It Is Not About You: Teaching is NOT a Performance

Learners should exit a lesson thinking the gospel is wonderful, not that the teacher is. Do not fall into the priestcraft trap:

But we must be careful to remember in our service that we are conduits and channels; we are not the light. “For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you” (Matthew 10:20). It is never about me, and it is never about you. In fact, anything you or I do as instructors that knowingly and intentionally draws attention to self—in the messages we present, in the methods we use, or in our personal demeanor—is a form of priestcraft that inhibits the teaching effectiveness of the Holy Ghost. “Doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way? And if it be by some other way it is not of God” (D&C 50:17).

Keep this quote from Elder David A. Bednar constantly in mind.