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Shalom christian educator development guide ages 2 to 12 may 2011

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  • 1. 2011 - 2012 SHALOM CHRISTIAN EDUCATORDEVELOPMENT GUIDE, AGES 2-12 Shalom Christian Education Ministry Sunflowers are symbolic of adoration. Sunflowers turn their heads to the sun, which is the origin of their common name. Christian Educators turn their heads, hearts, and minds to the Bible to teach evangelism, bringing others to faith in Christ, enlistment, increase the local church membership and edification, building up membership to maturity, growth and development in the faith. This document is a developmental resource guide for the Christian Educators working specifically with ages 2-12. It outlines specific techniques, education principles, and concepts for teaching God’s Word to children. Shalom Christian Ministry Center 515 Kirby Hill Rd, Fort Washington, MD 20744 301.567.5505; shalommcc.org Overseer Dr. Florida T. Morehead, Pastor
  • 2. PREFACE In the parable Jesus told in Matthew 13:18-21 He spoke of several types ofindividuals who heard the word, but only the one who understood it bore fruit, "the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding what was sown." Christian education is important to complement the stirring of the emotions of newconverts, to ensure they remain devoted to Christ beyond the initial emotionalism of being forgiven and saved. There must be extended periods of devotion to the Word of God. We see this demonstrated in Acts 2:42 and 11:26, 18:11, 19:8-10. The new converts in the early church remained in the apostles teaching, fellowshipand prayer for extended periods of instruction with a minimum of 1 year. As a result, believers were rooted and grounded in the faith, knowing what they believe thus, achieving life-long results. This requires a call for reliable and qualified men and women to teach. Therefore, the Shalom Christian Education Ministry Team embraces each facet ofthat education proves to be prominent in teaching Christianity, notwithstanding, the compelling need to fulfill the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20. 2|Page
  • 3. Table of ContentsIntroduction .......................................................................................................................................................4 How to use the information in this document .................................................................................4PART 1: FORMULATING A SELF-DIRECTED CHRISTIAN EDUCATOR DEVELOPMENTPLAN .....................................................................................................................................................................6 SAMPLE CHRISTIAN EDUCATION LEARNING ACTION PLAN –............................................. 13 TAKING ACTION AND MONITIORING PROGRESS ....................................................................... 13Part 2 – Developmental Guide for Children’s Ministry Christian Educators ......................... 14Module #1 - Involving All Three Learning Styles in Your Classroom ....................................... 15Left Brain and Right Brain Functions .................................................................................................... 15Use of Sense Function with Young Children ....................................................................................... 16Identifying the Three Learning Styles of Children ........................................................................... 16Module #2 – Understanding Various Developmental Stages....................................................... 20Glossary Terms .............................................................................................................................................. 24Module #3 -Teaching a Multi-Age Group ............................................................................................. 251. Establish Buddies ..................................................................................................................................... 262. Utilize Experienced Readers ................................................................................................................ 263. Create Special Privileges for Older Children .................................................................................. 264. Modify Supplemental Activities .......................................................................................................... 27A FINAL WORD TO THE CHRISTIAN EDUCATOR FOR CHILDREN’S MINISTRIES .............. 28 Evangelism - bringing others to faith in Christ ................................................................................. 28In what ways will you focus your role as a teacher in all three areas? .................................... 293|Page
  • 4. IntroductionA hallmark of a successful Christian Educator is that they give priority to their owncontinuous learning and development. Regardless of their overall level ofcompetence and experience in a given area of Christian Education, successfulChristian Educators continually strive to expose themselves to new information,acquire new skills and benefit from new experiences.It is hoped that this document will serve as a valuable resource in support of aplanned and self-directed effort to develop you as a Christian Educator, with specificfocus on working with children ages 2-12. It is not intended to serve as an overallplan for career or personal development. This document may be used as a tool toassist with that process. How to use the information in this document The first section, Formulating a Self-Directed Christian Educator Development Plan, focuses on the process of creating and using a learning program to for self- improvement as a Christian Educator (i.e., how to develop a learning plan). The next section, Developmental Guide for Children’s Ministry Christian Educators, contains a series of modules, ideas, suggestions and resources for specific learning needs and Christian teaching environments. The purpose of the content in Part 2 is to help focus and stimulate your thinking, and to point you toward other sources of information, as you prepare a plan to develop specific competencies. You are encouraged to use the ideas, suggestions, and resources that are best suited to your individual circumstances and learning style This booklet is not intended to be read from front to back, cover to cover. Rather, it is best to refer to it selectively as a starting point toward an overall plan to address your developmental needs. It is recommended that you focus on the sections of Part 2 that correspond to the proficiencies that you wish to develop. This booklet should be used in conjunction with the October 2010, Shalom Christian Education Resource Guide – found on the web at the following address: http://www.slideshare.net/ShalomMCC/shalom-christian- educationresourceguideworkingdocument1 This document is intended to serve as a starting point in a self-directed Christian Educator Development Plan for Children’s Ministry Educators. There are many other resources available to Christian Educators interested in pursuing a development plan or opportunities for development, in various aspects of their personal and spiritual development. You are encouraged to seek them and use them.4|Page
  • 5. The earliest Scripture references clarifying the purpose and authority of teaching inthe Old Testament are: 2 Chronicles 17:7-9, Ezra 7:10, Isaiah 2:1-3 and Micah 4:1-3.Gordon Clark, a Professor and Reformed theologian wrote: "The first and basic pointin a Christian philosophy of education, or a Christian philosophy of anything, isBiblical authority." Therefore, the importance of Christian education is to teach thestudent that all knowledge is integrated within the nature of God (and His inspiredWord) and therefore, have order and purpose for our lives. The goal is to enablespiritual growth into a mature adult, equipped to shoulder responsibilities as Godsimage-bearer devoted to glorifying the Creator. This is based upon 2 Timothy 3:14-17.Although it is clear that 2 Timothy 3:14-17 reflects Pauls instructions to Timothy, itcan also serve as marching orders for todays Holy-Spirit filled and led teachers in thefollowing ways:1. Paul instructs Timothy to continue in the things he has learned. Thus, a teachermust first be a student of the Word of God him/herself.2. Paul also expounds upon the fact that Timothy was taught the Holy Scripturesfrom childhood. (c.f. Deuteronomy 6:4-6) Thus, a teacher should not be a novice ora new convert.3. Continuing to look at 2 Timothy 3:14-17, we see the Biblically stated aptitude ofthe Scriptures: a. To make one wise unto salvation b. Increase in the knowledge and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ4. "All" Scripture is to be taught (OT and NT) and they are: a. Given by God through inspiration b. Profitable for doctrine (instruction) c. Profitable for reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness.5. The Biblically stated, goal of Scripture Instruction: a. Spiritual maturity b. Equipping Saints to do all good works.5|Page
  • 6. PART 1: FORMULATING A SELF-DIRECTED CHRISTIANEDUCATOR DEVELOPMENT PLANBusy Christian leaders frequently make plans or resolutions for their development.They have an idea about something they wish to change, they feel committed tochanging it, and they may even have a specific plan in their mind about how theyhope to go about changing it.Typically, as the weeks and months pass, existing commitments eat away at theirtime, other priorities arise, and the good intentions fade into unfulfilled plans. It isunlikely that any successful competency development plan was ever formulatedwithout initial good intentions. However, as with any action plan, to have a reasonablechance of being successful, a development plan must be: Formalized and written down in such a way that the objectives, and the steps to be taken to reach those objectives, are clearly defined. Objectives should be realistic. Time for learning activities should be scheduled in advance and rigorously adhered to. To the extent that it is possible, measures of progress should be identified at the outset, and should be monitored at predetermined intervals.The key to the success of the learning plan is to develop clearly identified objectivesthat are realistic given the energy and the time you are willing and able to devote toyour development plan. Typically, it is best to concentrate your efforts on a smallnumber of specific areas.The following are a few guidelines to consider when you are thinking about, andpreparing your plan for development. Step 1: Identify areas needing improvement o Gather information on your strengths and weaknesses Use all available sources of information, including any Christian Education-related results and related information that have been provided to you as a result of feedback from others, and frank, honest self-reflection. Formal assessment results Formal assessment results in a seminary or bible college environment that you have participated in can be a rich source of information on your strengths and weaknesses. Combined with direct feedback from people who see you act in different contexts and from different perspectives, this information has the potential to provide a solid foundation for a self- directed plan to develop your weaker areas of teaching. Also consider:6|Page
  • 7. Pay special attention to the comments that are provided by your Director of Education or other coaches assigned. These comments will provide you with valuable feedback about your performance at both your current and desired levels, as well as your potential for development. This information should be taken into account as you begin the road to development. Direct feedback from others - Direct feedback from your teaching partners. Involving your teaching partners in the process can provide a number of positive benefits. First, your teaching partners can help you to obtain further insight into your strengths and needs for development. Second, by involving your teaching partners, you will bring attention to your developmental efforts, and your improvement is more likely to be noticed. Finally, seeking their feedback may make them more willing to reciprocate and will foster an environment with greater communication and more emphasis on continuous learning and development. Feedback gathered from outside of your current church environment. Feedback that you have received in the past outside of your current church environment (for example, within your family, at bible study or with friends) may also provide a valuable source of corroborating information to take into consideration when identifying your strengths and developmental needs. Honest, thoughtful self-reflection Reflect on yourself and on the information that you have gathered. There is no source that can provide more valuable information on your own behaviors, strengths, and weaknesses than you. It is important that you strive to be honest and as objective as possible in assessing yourself. It is also important that you receive and acknowledge feedback from other sources openly and non- defensively. Reflect upon the results of feedback that you receive from others. In some cases, you may feel that what others have indicated as a weakness is not a weakness. If so, then you need to reflect upon why they perceive it as a weakness. Similarly, what you perceive as one of your learning needs may not be perceived that way by others. In this situation, you may want to consider why you perceive that area as a weakness, and reflect on whether your learning plan could be more fruitfully targeted in other directions.7|Page
  • 8. o Summarize the information you gather - Integrate and “distil” the information. Making a concerted effort to gather feedback on your weaknesses from such a potentially diverse array of sources certainly has the potential to be a rather ―humbling‖ experience. It is important to recognize that not every behavior or competency identified by a given individual or assessment tool as a weakness will necessarily be a weakness. You will need to ―distil‖ the vast amount of information you have at your disposal to identify a small number of competencies (two or three at most) upon which you can focus your efforts. Keep in mind that the feedback you receive from individuals will depend on a variety of organizational and interpersonal issues, as well as their personal beliefs about what constitutes effective versus ineffective behavior. Those beliefs may vary enormously from individual to individual. Feedback from individuals is best used as a way of confirming information received via the formal learning environments. You may wish to give more weight to information provided by your spiritual leader/Pastor and/or other individuals whose values and beliefs you perceive to be closely aligned with your own. Pinpoint specific behaviors to work on. A given skill is really a mosaic of different behaviors that manifest themselves in your teaching and Christian service in a number of different ways. It is unlikely that you are weak on all the teaching skills. Once you have decided that a given skill could benefit from development, look closer to find which aspects of the skill constitute the weakness. Feedback that you receive from teaching partners (as discussed above) is another important source of that kind of information. You may also find it useful to refer to Part 2 of this document (―Developmental Modules and Resources‖) and review the suggested developmental activities that correspond to the skills you wish to develop. Identify your strengths. It is important to remember that you have strengths in some teaching skills, and not just needs for development. Identify your strengths and keep them in mind as you create your development plan. When you are choosing which developmental actions to take in order to address your weaker competencies, you can use your strengths to compensate for your developmental needs. For example, if you are strong in working with 2-3 year olds, but weaker teaching 12 year olds and older, you may be able to compensate for the latter by fostering a cohesive and collaborative teaching partnership opportunity to assist others with that skill. You may also be able to capitalize on your strengths by creating developmental situations in8|Page
  • 9. which your strength emerges, but that also force you to exercise your developmental needs. Exposing yourself to such situations will enable you to feel challenged on the one hand, yet also comfortable on the other. Step 2: Create a Learning Action Plan o Identifying one’s areas of weakness both accurately and precisely is the first, and arguably most critical, step toward developing those areas. The next step is to create and document an action plan. For each skill, list specific behavioral objectives and create a written plan outlining all the activities you intend to use toward meeting those objectives. These activities may be as simple as reading a book on Lesson Plans or arranging a monthly brainstorming session. Alternatively they might be as involved as taking a formal course in Christian Education Principles, seeking a developmental assignment in a different functional role with older or younger members of the ministry, or pursuing an advanced degree. Identify learning activities. List the actions you intend to take toward developing your weaker skills. Some of the activities will be actual behaviors that you want to make an effort to practice on the job (e.g. ―speak more slowly‖). Other activities will involve pursuing additional resources with the intention of gathering further information to support your developmental efforts. Refer to the ―Developmental Modules and Resources‖ section of this document and, in particular, the suggestions that correspond to the skills you recognize as the most challenging to you. Keep in mind that the way in which some skills are expressed varies by group and context in which a Christian Education Teacher is working. For example, some Christian Education environments have the one-school house approach, while others allot for you to break children down into age and abilities. When you are deciding which learning activities to pursue, keep in mind that these activities should be concrete and measurable. Often, the overall target of your learning will be abstract and seemingly insurmountable (e.g., ―I will improve my ability to work with young children‖). To maintain your focus, and to work deliberately toward your goal, create a series of steps that you can follow easily and that, by completing them, will show you how close you are to accomplishing that goal. In short, breaking down your learning tasks into stages can help the seemingly impossible become possible. Also consider asking those9|Page
  • 10. around you to help you with your development. When you are deciding what learning activities are appropriate for you, think about mentors, coaches, spiritual leaders, teaching partners and enlist the help of that person or group. By asking for their help before you begin, you can ensure that these individuals are willing to help you if you feel overwhelmed or be able to provide feedback as you are monitoring your progress in the future. Consider a peer learning partner/teaching partner. A peer learning partner is someone that you can work closely with to help keep you on track with your action plans, while you reciprocally help them. Building relationships with a peer learning partner is invaluable. Seek a variety of resources such as books, videos, workshops, and the internet for more perspectives on how to develop specific skills (or aspects of a skill). Some of the available resources have been listed in the ―Suggested Resources‖ sections. Consider your preferred style of learning when incorporating varied resources into your learning program. Some people retain information best when it is presented in a multimedia format. Others learn best by reading a variety of different sources. Still others will gain most from the more structured environment provided by a workshop, seminar or course. Seek a Christian Education Developmental Assignment. In addition to providing the basic experience and exposure that is required for a Christian Education Teacher, ―on-the-job‖ learning is the single most effective means of developing your weaker skills. There are a number of common characteristics of job experiences that facilitate Christian Education Teacher Development. Take on a developmental task to work with specific age groups. Remember, a developmental assignment should involve different kinds of tasks and different people than those with whom you are accustomed to working, should have clearly defined time frames, and clear measures of success and challenges. Above all, it is probably the element of challenge that defines a truly developmental experience. Assignments where the individual must learn in order to succeed and where benefits of success and challenges are clearly defined are the types of assignments from which Christian Educators learn the most. To maximize your development through an assignment, you will need to have a solid understanding of your developmental goals and a willingness to engage in research and networking to find the best fit. Using your network of contacts is also important. Your network may include people that you meet within the church, the church family, or10 | P a g e
  • 11. participants in major faith-based conventions/conferences, or those you meet through training or other learning events. Let these people know what you are looking for and ask them for information and advice. Be realistic in your expectations and leverage the experience that you already have to build a stretch assignment within the church. Step 3: Create a system to monitor your progress on an on-going basis Prioritize targets. o You may want to prioritize your targets, so that those you view as easiest to achieve and/or with the greatest payoff are implemented first. For example, ―hold weekly or bi-weekly teacher meetings‖ may be easier to implement than ―work with other teachers‖ and may pay greater dividends. Establish timelines. Identify a date by which you intend to achieve each behavioral objective you have targeted. View these targets as individual steps toward achieving the larger goal of developing overall skills. More substantial targets may be more realistically approached by setting less ambitious interim targets, with their own timelines, to be achieved in a stepwise fashion. Some targets may have relatively short time spans, some may take longer, and some may require monitoring on an ongoing, or long-term, basis. Also remember that the achievement of your targets will take time. Not every skill can be developed at the same rate, nor will a given learning need develop at the same speed for everyone. Taking some time to think about your priorities and your own comfort level will allow you to set timelines that are appropriate for you. Periodically, you should schedule time in advance to assess your progress. Specify a series of regular occasions (e.g., weekly or biweekly) to think about and record your ongoing progress. It is critical that you take the time to assess whether you have reached your goals when you had planned to achieve them. In other words, once your target dates have come and gone, have you developed in any way? You may want to use a simple rating scale (e.g., 1 through 10) to assess your progress in addition to recording more specific observations in point form. You may also want to include feedback from others (see below). Regardless of precisely how you go about it, regularly monitoring and recording your progress will draw more attention to the tangible, though subtle, improvements that you experience throughout your development program and this will serve as a reward and motivator. The process of ongoing self-monitoring also encourages the early identification of those areas which will require more effort and/or time to develop than originally planned. This will allow you to modify your development plan pro-actively, rather than11 | P a g e
  • 12. simply experiencing the de-motivating frustration of failing to meet rigid target dates. Seek out and benefit from your Christian Education Director. Optimize the Christian Educator Director as your coach, who can help you to maximize your performance and development. Coaches can help you develop your self-awareness as a Christian Education Teacher and guide you in learning activities or practices that target your specific challenges or developmental needs. Seek out and benefit from a mentor. It is important that your mentor be somebody from whom you feel you can learn, with whom you can identify and with whom you have a relatively comfortable working relationship. You should feel comfortable seeking advice or airing concerns with your mentor. You should share your learning plan with your mentor, use him or her as a source of frank and honest feedback, and seek his or her help in achieving and monitoring, your targets. The Pastor or Spiritual Leader is usually the mentor in a Christian Education environment. However, Christian Educators should also seek out other members of the Christian Education Leadership Staff to serve as a mentor. Find one or more learning partner(s) with whom you can provide mutual support, reinforcement, motivation and feedback. In identifying learning partners, considerations similar to those described above for a potential mentor would apply. Keys to success:  Assess yourself honestly. Another key to your success is the extent to which you are objective and honest in appraising your own strengths and weaknesses and targeting areas for improvement. Seeking further input from others is helpful, but it is important that you acknowledge and take responsibility for the areas that you could improve.  Capitalize on your strengths. While identifying and developing your weaker skills is important, it is also important that you identify and give attention to your areas of strength, and look for ways to increase your opportunities to exploit those strengths. This will improve your overall effectiveness by making your strengths more prominent in your overall repertoire of skills and behaviors, and also by allowing you to compensate for your weaker areas while you develop them. It is important, however, that you do not allow yourself to continually fall back on your strengths to the exclusion of developing weaker areas.12 | P a g e
  • 13.  Set reasonable targets. The extent, to which your learning plan targets reasonable or ―doable‖ interim targets rather than lofty, over-optimistic long-term goals, is crucial to the success of your developmental efforts. Doing so will make both your targets and your progress toward achieving those targets more immediate and tangible than focusing solely on longer-term goals. Recognizing the achievement associated with meeting those interim targets can serve as a source of reinforcement and motivation. SAMPLE CHRISTIAN EDUCATION LEARNING ACTION PLAN – TAKING ACTION AND MONITIORING PROGRESSStep #1 Step #2 Step #3Skill and Developmental Concrete Learning Monitoring Progress/Needs Activities Target DatesLesson Plan Development: 1. Ask peers/and Christian Education leaders to review Set dates to meet withImprove my ability to my lesson plans – shadow my Christian Educationprepare and execute a me as I execute my lesson Director in the next twolesson plan plan – provide me feedback; weeks (set dates) – 2. Coordinate with my Schedule on my Christian Education Director Calendar to preview my lesson plans, critique my plans, and provide recommendationsTeaching Development 1. Offer to take on teaching assignments with different Begin preparation thisImprove my skills to teach age groups week (set dates) –different age groups schedule it on my 2. Initiate targeted skill Outlook Calendar development strategies with different age groups As soon as my strategy planning is complete – implement steps to improve implement – schedule on my Calendar13 | P a g e
  • 14. Part 2 – Developmental Guide for Children’s MinistryChristian EducatorsChildren’s Ministry workers are among important volunteers. Helping to steerchildren onto spiritual paths, volunteers provide children with a foundation that will beused throughout their lives. Our goals move beyond getting children to understandBiblical facts and matters of morality, etc. The proper teaching will provide spiritualgrowth.These modules are designed to give you heightened and detailed understanding ofhow to manage classrooms in a children’s ministry setting so that the big goals canbe met. You will learn the basics of effective communication with children, parents,and fellow volunteers and gain valuable tips to help avoid pitfalls that create burnoutand dissatisfaction. The material herein will help you run your classrooms smoothlyand with confidence. The modules are:Module #1 – Involving all three (3) learning styles in your classroom  This module outlines the three learning styles and methods to include them into your classroom to ensure the teacher reaches each child, regardless of his/her learning style.Module #2 - Understanding various Developmental Stages  This module outlines the various developmental stages of a child and identifies how to embrace the stages to enhance learning.Module #3 - Teaching a Multi-Age Group  This module outlines the methods for teaching multi-age groups and provides key steps on ensuring that each child learns in a multi-age environment.14 | P a g e
  • 15. Module #1 - Involving All Three Learning Styles in YourClassroomTeachers who try to bring in visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning styles toeach lesson will find that they have sent nearly every child home with theirpoints made. Such a class might include a reading/watching portion, alistening/discussing portion, and a hands-on application portion. Lessons canbe designed like this, keeping in mind the developmental stages of the childreninvolved.It’s easy to fall into a rut of relying too heavily on your own preferred learningstyle, but by keeping in mind that everyone learns differently, it is possible tofind balance.With the help of computers, television and the Internet, more than one style canoften be used at one time. Cartoons of bible stories, available on DVD or Internetdownloads, involve both visual and auditory learning. Playing a cartoon whilechildren are doing an art project can also be a way to reinforce a Bible storytaught in some other way.Left Brain and Right Brain FunctionsResearchers have identified behaviors that acclimate to the left and right sides ofthe brain. The left side of the brain controls logic, analytical reasoning andcommunication. The right side controls creativity and intuition.Children who are left brain dominant are very good at writing, reading andmathematics. Right brain dominant children are artistic and creative. They oftenlike to fudge lines and avert structure to give their creativity the freedom it needsto thrive.As traditional schooling relies more heavily on evaluations of left brain functions,right brained children may be labeled as less able or poorly behaved. Yethistorically, most of the geniuses in the literary and scientific communities showstrong right-brained tendencies. In church ministry, we don’t need theseevaluations and can give every learning style fair play by creating lessons thatcater to all.15 | P a g e
  • 16. Use of Sense Function with Young ChildrenIn the preschool and early school years, children use all their senses to evaluatethe world and make sense of it. We often hear children say, “Let me see it,” ifsomeone is holding something. What they really want is to touch or hold it. Theymay even want to smell or taste it.The more senses involved in the learning process, the greater chance that themessage will find its way into hearts of every child present. We see a drop-off inthe let-me-touch curiosity around age nine. However, that may be an automatedresponse to years of school learning, which is mostly auditory and visual. Those incharge of students up to sixth grade might see value in passing things around—even maps and charts with sparkles or stars amending specific points.Identifying the Three Learning Styles of ChildrenResearchers have been able to divide learning styles into three groups - auditory,visual and kinesthetic.Children have a primary modality, though they may get the benefit of other styles,too. You can determine which learning style children are prone to by watchingthem in class. For example, let’s use sample names, even though directions areclearly written on a work sheet, Blake will ask, “What are we supposed to do?”Manuel enjoyed seeing the pictures the teacher held up while giving the lesson,but in the discussion, he grew bored. Kiesha gets up close to every picture andsays, “Let me hold it,” and she wants the lead role in every drama.Blake is an auditory learner. He wants to hear what he’s supposed to do, andthat’s what will help him complete the assignment best. Manuel is a visual16 | P a g e
  • 17. learner. He would rather look at things relating to the lesson than try to analyzeit. Kiesha is a kinesthetic learner. She enjoys hands-on experiences and getting inthe middle of things.In the next few pages we will see more about these learning styles in detail. The Auditory Learning Style Auditory learning is the one most relied upon in a classroom. When a teacher stands before the class and teaches a math or history lesson, she is mainly using her voice. Students are expected to learn by listening. Auditory learners tend to feel comfortable in classroom settings. Auditory learning has been used since the beginning of history to pass along important stories about ancestors and myths and legends important to a tribe. We can be part of this tradition by the oral story telling we use in Sunday school.Auditory learners don’t only like to hear a lesson—they like to talk about it. They willbe among the first to raise their hands and answer questions. You may have noticedthat hand-raising has only a little to do with a student knowing an answer. It hasmore to do with a learning style. Some students who know an answer may prefer tosit quietly without raising their hands. Others might have only a vague idea of theanswer but seem quite willing to sort their thoughts out aloud. This would be anauditory learner.17 | P a g e
  • 18. Some ways to engage auditory learners:  Tapes of dramas and dialogues which students can hear while imagining the visuals.  Musical songs like ballads that tell tales  Discussions about what happened to characters in a lesson The Visual Learning Style Visual learning is also a big part of schooling—hence, blackboards. While taking, a teacher will turn and write notes on the board. Often, students will copy in their notebooks what the teacher has written. These are probably visual learners. We rarely see a prominently placed blackboard in Sunday School, which is probably the human instinct sensing that students have enough of this in school. However, Sunday School can make good use of visuals, especially with laptops and access to the Internet.Visual learners often appreciate a lesson most if they can read it first. If a teacherreads a lesson aloud from a publication while students look at their own copies, orif students take turns reading, the visual learners respond well.Some ways to engage visual learners:  Charts, maps, illustrations and photographs  Sunday School books that present lessons within  Power Point presentations & online games18 | P a g e
  • 19. The Kinesthetic Learning Style Kinesthetic learning is hands-on, where students become part of the lesson by doing. This is the least used learning style in school, though it is found in “labs.” Computer labs, science labs, and English labs imply that students will be doing things instead of just watching or hearing things. For many students, this is the most engaging part of school. These children are kinesthetic learners. Rather than hear what life was like in ancient Babylonia, they want to touch a model of the Tower of Babel. They would rather make ancient Egyptian bricks than hear how houses were made.While these students can be annoying in school due to constant fidgetingand loss of concentration, they are gifts from God who should be fortifiedin Sunday School. They enjoy making things and also becoming part ofthings by acting out dramatizations. The child who fidgets through a bookreading but wants to play the lead in every drama is probably akinesthetic learner.Some ways to engage kinesthetic learners:  Hands-on activities involving the recreation of things from Biblical times  Dramatizations requiring children to play Biblical roles  Props, wardrobe or copies of ancient artifacts that they can hold, wear, or copy19 | P a g e
  • 20. Module #2 – Understanding Various Developmental StagesA major portion of this lesson will be devoted to understanding the development ofchildren ranging in age from 2 to 12. The next four pages will each be devoted to anage group, starting with the 2-3 year old age group. Details of their developmentalstages will be covered, including the mental, social, emotional, spiritual, andphysical. Included is an average attention span and a suggested student-teacherratio for each group.Leaders should develop sensitivity to these ranges and encourage teachers to do thesame. At the same time, remember these are guidelines, and children will varytremendously in their individuality. Hence it’s not appropriate to use terms like ―slow‖or ―not normal‖ when discussing children. One successful way to utilize the materialis to always remain flexible for the individuals.Development of Children ages 2 – 3Average attention span: 2-4 minutesNeeded teacher/attendee ratio: 1 teacher per 3-5 childrenMental:  will not remember much of last week, as memory is not yet developed  require (and adore) repetition  are concrete thinkers; cannot understand abstract concepts like Jesus being a  light (they will imagine a light bulb)  learn best through games and exploring  can follow simple directions (containing no steps or if/then statements)Social:  ―play alone‖ yet in clusters; are not ready for team games  are trusting of adults  want to share affection with teachers and other children  love to explore; games should give chances to succeed  respond well to routineEmotional:  can’t yet consider the needs and feelings of others  have a strong desire to please  are receptive to praise20 | P a g e
  • 21. Spiritual:  do not have imaginations developed enough to understand ―spirit‖  have a sense of wonder  will naturally accept the concept of God  can understand a God who is invisible and yet who created us, loves us and is very realPhysical:  enjoy games that involve jumping, crawling, walking and simple hand movements  need a combination of rest and activity  should be allowed to move around with some freedom  love to play with toys and games that develop coordinationDevelopment of Children ages 4 – 5Average attention span: 5-10 minutesNeeded teacher/attendee ratio: 1 teacher per 5-6 childrenMental:  have imagination and enjoy fantasy play.  are still concrete thinkers; will not understand symbolism.  will be confused by references to dates in history or places on maps  learn best in activities involving senses: touch, sound, sight, smellSocial:  thrive on praise and positive energy  enjoy playing in groups if the games are simple  are able to perform  seek for independence; should be allowed to roam with safety limitsEmotional:  are prone to fears  appreciate the security of rules and routines  have a sense of self  build self esteem by playing games of successSpiritual:  can understand right from wrong  are able to apologize and to understand forgiveness  can talk to God, thanking him for things and asking him for things.  can grasp that God is watching over us and loves us, even when we make mistakes21 | P a g e
  • 22. Physical:  enjoy running, hopping, jumping forward and backward, playing catch with a large ball  thrive in varied periods of rest and activity  are establishing more muscle control  appreciate chances to practice new skillsDevelopment of Children ages 6 – 8Average attention span: 10 - 15 minutesNeeded teacher/attendee ratio: 1 teacher per 7-8 childrenMental:  are able to complete simple reading and writing tasks  enjoy rhyming and chanting  love to act out dramas  are still literal in their thinking and should not be introduced to many symbols  understand simple time and space concepts such as dates and places (but B.C. and A.D. should not be introduced yet)  enjoy memorizing, such as Bible versesSocial:  enjoy working in groups and forming clubs  are very trusting of adults and tend to respond well to confident adult predictions such as ―you’ll enjoy this‖ or ―this will be fun‖  understand their ability to share God’s word with others  look up to older children, admiring and copying themEmotional:  love attention, and hence, love to talk.  seek approval and respond well to praise.  need rules that are fair, consistent, and easily understood.  understand responsibility, hence the notion that God will help them do the right thingSpiritual:  learn best by guided study through the Bible stories and principles  like brief discussions about life choices  may become baffled by God’s invisibility and eternal existence  are aware of forgiveness and can understand Jesus in context of Savior.22 | P a g e
  • 23. Physical:  enjoy games with a variety of small and large motions  are still very active and require frequent changes in activities  enjoy singing, dancing, and performing.Development of Children ages 9 – 12Average attention span: 20 minutesNeeded teacher/attendee ratio: 1 teacher per 8-10 childrenMental:  are starting to understand abstract concepts and symbols (such as Jesus being the bread of life)  have a more acute learning ability reflecting years in school  understand time passing and concepts such as B.C. and A.D.  can enjoy writing, research and speaking before the group.Social:  want to be seen as capable and are sensitive about being perceived as young or little  like independence but need guidance in social interaction  enjoy leading others but only for short periods  look up to pre-teens and teens, admiring and copying themEmotional:  are prone to unsteady emotions  require supportive understanding and love from leaders  thrive under leaders who are good role models of Christian behavior, as they are keen to hypocrisy and inconsistency  tend to hero worship, and respond well to thoughts of Jesus as a heroSpiritual:  are receptive to ideas of morality  can understand the concept of salvation  question how God answers prayers  have a heart for telling others about Christ and doing service projectsPhysical:  can play games that require fine motor movement  enjoy line dances and other cooperative activities of movement  enjoy changes in pace rather than changes in activity  are active, and enjoy games that get them moving  more clearly seen if they have divided into the mental, social, emotional, spiritual and physical.23 | P a g e
  • 24. Glossary TermsAbstract Symbols— concepts that cannot be understoodvia the senses or simple discussion in morality. Hence,these generally start to become clear in the oldestdevelopmental stage of 9-12. Abstract symbols wouldinclude such things as Jesus being the Word, the vine, orthe bread of life.Concrete thinkers—younger children who cannot graspabstract symbols. Generally before fourth grade, concretethinkers are capable of understanding morality, heaven,and Jesus as a Savior.Developmental stages—The ages children pass throughthat researches have divided into the four age bracketsgiven in this lesson. The developmental stages can be24 | P a g e
  • 25. Module #3 -Teaching a Multi-Age GroupFor many reasons, youth ministry teachers may find themselves leading a group withseveral of the developmental stages combined. Situations beyond Sunday schoolinclude field trips, vacation bible schools, after-school programs, and pageants.Mixing ages can be a great experience. In smaller churches, which are easily set upfor mixed-group learning, youth ministers often wish they had bigger churches.However, directors of programs at large churches will say that they’re always trying toact like small churches—because it helps bring that family atmosphere to attendees!Mixing ages creates a family feel.We must remember that long before institutionalized schooling was the norm, Americarelied on one-room school houses. Kids love to watch shows like Little House on thePrairie where such are featured, probably because instincts draw them to appreciate acluster of kids acting like extended family.In a group where ages can range five or six years, this is where your leadershipinstincts and discernment can really get some exercise. Some kids can be naturalborn leaders if given the chance. Giving them a title that they can be proud of like―worship leader‖ will make them enjoy helping younger ones. Younger children tend tohero-worship older children. A mentorship or leadership program will give the youngerchildren exposure to older ones that they may not get often in school. And olderchildren enjoy leading, especially if they have adults on hand to offer support andguidance.Of course, questions arise, such as do I speak down so the youngest ones canunderstand? Younger children can’t sit still as long, so do I talk less? One norm with aproven track record is not to speak down to younger children and yet cater to theirmovement needs as much as possible. Mothers of five will tell you they spend verylittle time baby-talking.They rely on the younger ones to stretch and grow. Yet squirming and fidgeting can bemore distracting than mind wandering, so catering to the younger children’s need tochange direction frequently might also be wise.25 | P a g e
  • 26. Key Steps to follow when teaching multiple age groups:1. Establish BuddiesPair one older child with one younger child as a ―big buddy‖ and ―little buddy.‖ Thebuddies can work together in a variety of ways in the classroom.  Pair them up for working on scripture memorization. The older child will be amazed how easily the younger can memorize and the younger will enjoy helping the older learn a new verse.  Pair them up for craft projects. Many times we do not attempt complex crafts with younger children because there are not enough adult helpers. In a multi- level classroom you have an advantage, which age-separated children’s ministries do not; you can utilize the ―big buddy‖ to assist their ―little buddy‖ in completing the craft. They can work on the craft together!2. Utilize Experienced ReadersChildren sustain more attentiveness when they are not hearing the same voice for theduration of the Sunday School lesson. Enlist your older students to read aloud theBible verses. The older students will love reading aloud and the younger children willbe eager for the day when they will get to read aloud in Sunday School!3. Create Special Privileges for Older ChildrenCreate certain privileges which can only be done by the older children. For example, ifyour classroom goes up through 6th grade, set aside special tasks only given to the 5thand 6th graders to complete.  These older children could help lead the other children in singing a few songs at the beginning of class each week.  These older children could be used to act out an upcoming Bible story, as an introduction for the other children, in the form of a play or reader’s theater.  The older children could help set up and close down the room each week or make copies for the teacher before the start of class.By setting aside special privileges for the older children, they will get to experienceleadership and set an example for the younger children. This will also give the youngerchildren something to look forward to doing when they become 5th graders.26 | P a g e
  • 27. 4. Modify Supplemental ActivitiesMost lessons you will teach, when reading a passage from the Bible and explaining itsmeaning, will look similar across all elementary grade levels. The difference andchallenge comes in the application and follow up activities.  One modification is to break them up into age leveled groups at the close of a lesson to discuss how the lesson can be applied to their everyday life. Then the groups will report back to the whole class. There can be a K-1 reporter, a 2-3 reporter, and so forth until all groups have shared their application of the lesson.  Another modification can be made in the area of crafts. The same craft can be completed by K-5 children, but for the K-2 children you can prep part of the craft ahead of time. You can have everything prewritten on their craft or you can precut parts of the project. The older children can complete all of the writing and cutting independently in the same about of time it takes the younger children to complete their modified version.Serving in a small children’s ministry can be challenging, but it also has its greatrewards! You get to know all of the children in your church personally. You areblessed to work with one child from kindergarten through 6th grade and see how theygrow in their knowledge of the Lord over a period of years.27 | P a g e
  • 28. A FINAL WORD TO THE CHRISTIAN EDUCATOR FOR CHILDREN’SMINISTRIESEphesians 4:11-13And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some,pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry,for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, andof the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of thestature of the fullness of Christ: The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge)1769.In summary, we have proven that the Word of God was given by God, through theinspiration of the Holy Spirit, fulfilled by Jesus Christ, commissioned to believersthrough the church for the instruction in righteousness unto the unity and maturityin the knowledge and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This great and awesomeresponsibility rests with those who have been called and appointed by God to teachthe Holy Scriptures (1 Corinthians 12:28). Christian education in the church involves the following areas of concentration: Evangelism - bringing others to faith in Christ Enlistment - increasing the local church membership Edification - building up membership to maturity, growth and development in the faith.28 | P a g e
  • 29. In what ways will you focus your role as a teacher in all three areas?Evangelism:_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Enlistment:_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Edification:_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________"O that we may love our Bibles more, and keep closer to them than ever and thenshall we find the benefit and advantage designed thereby, and shall at last attain thehappiness therein promised and assured to us." (Excerpt taken from the MatthewHenry Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:14-17)29 | P a g e