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I am wondering what has been the common practice for wards in various parts of the country:

This Sunday will be the first Sunday of the month.  It has been three weeks since the last Gospel Doctrine class.  That means three weeks worth of reading and three chapters in the CFM manual.

Does your ward only cover the most recent week?  All the weeks since the last class?  Or just "pick one?"  Or try to find highlights of the entire set? Or ???

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We just do the most recent week of study. Trying to fit in everything is just too much, and our instructors tend to rush the lesson so they can "cover everything" rather than let the class make comments and learn from each other. By doing that they really aren't covering everything, bur rather muffling the spirit.

Ultimately, our lessons are just meant to be a discussion about what everyone learned in their personal study that week...not an actual teaching of the material.

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Same as Scotty’s; just the most recent week for us.  I’m currently serving in our ward Sunday school presidency, and I think our ward’s teachers have mostly surrendered to the idea that they just won’t cover everything.  With that sense of urgency gone, we’ve seen some really good discussions.  My approach is that if you can get people to really enjoy taking about the scriptures, that’ll inspire them to go home and study more on their own time—where, so suspect, most of the actual “learning” is going to take place.  

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4 hours ago, Carborendum said:

I am wondering what has been the common practice for wards in various parts of the country:

This Sunday will be the first Sunday of the month.  It has been three weeks since the last Gospel Doctrine class.  That means three weeks worth of reading and three chapters in the CFM manual.

Does your ward only cover the most recent week?  All the weeks since the last class?  Or just "pick one?"  Or try to find highlights of the entire set? Or ???

The three weeks are a buffet of options to pick from. Anyone whom had a special moment related to any topic is free to talk about it, and the teacher brings a list to talk about to fill any gaps in discussion.  But we don’t try to cover every point. 

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I'm in our Sunday School presidency and we specifically tell the teachers don't even try to cover everything. Familiarize yourselves with the material and see where the Spirit takes you both in preparation and in teaching. If they don't feel particularly impressed to cover anything it is my preference that they cover the material that is freshest in the member's minds to help spark discussion.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 6/3/2022 at 8:06 AM, Carborendum said:

I am wondering what has been the common practice for wards in various parts of the country:

This Sunday will be the first Sunday of the month.  It has been three weeks since the last Gospel Doctrine class.  That means three weeks worth of reading and three chapters in the CFM manual.

Does your ward only cover the most recent week?  All the weeks since the last class?  Or just "pick one?"  Or try to find highlights of the entire set? Or ???

i taught this lesson, and I covered it all. We discussed how the book of Judges is about the fall of Israel from mostly good to downright evil of it's 500 years of time. We also discussed the Canaanite worship of Ba'al, with child sacrifice, and how that infiltrated every aspect of Israel. Even to the point where the Judges murdering their own children in this way. The lesson also showed how patient the Lord really is, because he would send saviors to rescue them from their sin.

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On 6/3/2022 at 8:06 AM, Carborendum said:

I am wondering what has been the common practice for wards in various parts of the country:

This Sunday will be the first Sunday of the month.  It has been three weeks since the last Gospel Doctrine class.  That means three weeks worth of reading and three chapters in the CFM manual.

Does your ward only cover the most recent week?  All the weeks since the last class?  Or just "pick one?"  Or try to find highlights of the entire set? Or ???

I was the Sunday School president in our ward some years ago when the "Come Follow Me" changes were made to Sunday school teaching curriculum.  At the time our stake was shrinking in population as families aged and children left home.  Our ward was the result of pieces from 3 previous wards.  Gospel Doctrine was to large for discussions so it was determined to have two Gospel Doctrine classes.  At the time Sunday school was part of the 3 hour block and was taught ever Sunday.   In an effort to discourage old ward boundaries and favorite teachers, I had 5 teacher called and created a mathematical "fractural"  of which teacher would teach in which classroom so it would be most difficult for the average person to follow a particular teacher.  Rather I encouraged the ward members to pick a classroom and enjoy the inputs and methods of all our teachers.  

I spent a lot of time in prayerful attitude with my presidency, bishopric, stake leaders and teachers going over the new "Come Follow Me" approach to teaching.  Jokingly but with some seriousness I told the teacher that if they ever said something like "we need to move on to cover the material" they would be released.   In essence we rotate through the same material ever 4 years.  If we miss something important one cycle we have something "new and exciting" to teach in the next.  The teacher's job is not to cover the material but to lead and encourage discussion.   If we spent the whole year on a single lesson it would be the right thing to do if it was directed by the spirit and the questions and input of the class.  

Since then our ward has gone through 3 different Sunday school presidencies and I have moved on to other callings (including nursery leader - which was one of my biggest challenges for a calling) - but the tradition has somewhat continued through all the changes - that for Gospel Doctrine the teacher and class together determine how the lesson materials and which lesson and parts of lessons are covered.

One last point - it is a personal belief of mine that the most important calling in a ward is the Gospel Doctrine teachers and thus the teacher called should be spiritually strong - much more important than the Sunday school president for sure.  If they have the spirit strongly with them - all the other calling in the ward will be easier because the ward members will become more lead by the spirit themselves.   Eventually all members in the ward (that come to church will be in Gospel Doctrine).  Thus Gospel Doctrine is the crucible of all the other callings. 

 

The Traveler 

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This past Sunday the YSA branch I help out at did a somewhat awkward bit on Samuel and Saul. Don't know if this is where we should have been as I am reading the scriptures on my own schedule (one chapter of each of the four main works a week), but there we are.

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7 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

How does one encourage discussion about the scriptures when no one reads the material?

The Sunday school presidency should have read the material - if they haven't - they should be asked to do so by the teacher.  Also if there is more than one teacher the other teacher(s) should be reading the material.  In addition the teacher can request the bishopric and other ward leaders (presidencies) read the material.  If there is a problem this should definitely be something brought up in ward consul by the Sunday school President.

If all else fails - I suggest that the teacher have class members (during class) read excerpts from the lesson that the teacher is prompted by the spirit during the class to have read.  If I was the teacher I would make a special effort to involve class members that other wise to not participate - of course as lead by the spirit.

 

The Traveler  

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28 minutes ago, Traveler said:

The Sunday school presidency should have read the material - if they haven't - they should be asked to do so by the teacher.  Also if there is more than one teacher the other teacher(s) should be reading the material.  In addition the teacher can request the bishopric and other ward leaders (presidencies) read the material.  If there is a problem this should definitely be something brought up in ward consul by the Sunday school President.

The teacher or SS presidency or the bishopric reading the material doesn't change the fact that no one in the class has read the material.  (Usu. the bishopric and SS presidencey don't attend the class.)

"Encourage discussion"??? Discussion from whom?  If the teacher is the only one who's read it, then how does he get the class to discuss something they haven't read?

28 minutes ago, Traveler said:

If all else fails - I suggest that the teacher have class members (during class) read excerpts from the lesson that the teacher is prompted by the spirit during the class to have read.  If I was the teacher I would make a special effort to involve class members that other wise to not participate - of course as lead by the spirit.

This ends up being the default.  And that is unfortunate.

Edited by Carborendum
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10 hours ago, Carborendum said:

The teacher or SS presidency or the bishopric reading the material doesn't change the fact that no one in the class has read the material.  (Usu. the bishopric and SS presidencey don't attend the class.)

"Encourage discussion"??? Discussion from whom?  If the teacher is the only one who's read it, then how does he get the class to discuss something they haven't read?

This ends up being the default.  And that is unfortunate.

It is likely that someone has had some experience with the points for discussion even if they did not review the lesson.   If I were the teacher my goal would be to inspire someone in the class to read some of the scriptures or lesson material that is being covered.  Even if all the reading was done after class.  50 years ago SS teacher were taught to pre-assess their class and set goals accordingly.  One should never be discouraged with those coming to SS class.  Nor should a teacher discourage anyone from coming.   If you are the teacher - be of good cheer - someone is being touched and inspired more than you realize.  You are in the service of G-d - it is impossible to fail.

 

The Traveler

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14 hours ago, Traveler said:

It is likely that someone has had some experience with the points for discussion even if they did not review the lesson.   If I were the teacher my goal would be to inspire someone in the class to read some of the scriptures or lesson material that is being covered.  Even if all the reading was done after class.  50 years ago SS teacher were taught to pre-assess their class and set goals accordingly.  One should never be discouraged with those coming to SS class.  Nor should a teacher discourage anyone from coming.   If you are the teacher - be of good cheer - someone is being touched and inspired more than you realize.  You are in the service of G-d - it is impossible to fail.

 

The Traveler

Once upon a time I spent about 18 months teaching the Gospel Principles class. 

Officially, I was to go through the book on an endless cycle to ensure that everyone got the full load of lessons before moving into regular Sunday school.

In reality, I'd start each Sunday by asking if anyone had any questions, and several times it so happened that *answering* that question took the entire scheduled block. 

Other times it'd happen that I'd have to spend 2 - 3 Sundays on the same lesson because there was *that* much for someone new to try and comprehend, and they needed the help understanding it. 

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3 hours ago, Ironhold said:

Once upon a time I spent about 18 months teaching the Gospel Principles class. 

Officially, I was to go through the book on an endless cycle to ensure that everyone got the full load of lessons before moving into regular Sunday school.

In reality, I'd start each Sunday by asking if anyone had any questions, and several times it so happened that *answering* that question took the entire scheduled block. 

Other times it'd happen that I'd have to spend 2 - 3 Sundays on the same lesson because there was *that* much for someone new to try and comprehend, and they needed the help understanding it. 

Teaching that class was the best calling I've ever had and when I wasn't teaching I still enjoyed attending it more than any of the others classes. Just focusing on the doctrine is how all classes should be but unfortunately is often not the case.

Edited by laronius
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18 hours ago, laronius said:

Teaching that class was the best calling I've ever had and when I wasn't teaching I still enjoyed attending it more than any of the others classes. Just focusing on the doctrine is how all classes should be but unfortunately is often not the case.

I was politely asked to let a sister take over as teacher because she needed experience with public speaking; English wasn't her first language, and so she lacked confidence in talking to others. I stayed in the class anyway, helping out as needed to make things easier for her.

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In my former ward, the teacher was the one who decided what they would teach. I think he only made up his mind about what he would teach after he had read through both lessons and decided which one he liked best. I don't believe anybody else had any input into his decision. It seemed to work fine. 

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