Sunday School


Recommended Posts

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 ???

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
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
Link to comment
Share on other sites

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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
Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not a Sunday School teacher, but I sub pretty regularly. I usually ask what everyone has learned - or what questions they may have had from the lesson material. If no one raises their hand, these are the steps that I more-or-less follow for facilitating/moderating Sunday School.

1. Begin by giving a decent amount of context on what the Israelites were facing (or Saul, David, Solomon, whoever). 

2. Ask a class member to read an important passage of scripture from the week's reading

3. Follow-up with that class member that just read - and ask what their thoughts are on the scripture

4. Give my own impressions on the verses that were just read. Talk about the teachings of the church concerning that specific topic, whether it be on complaining, seeking after other gods, or trying too much to fit into the culture of another land. 

5. Talk about how those principles are relevant in our day and time.

6. Ask open-ended questions to the class. i.e. How might we be tempted to fall into the exact same traps as the Israelites? And what are ways we can check ourselves not to fall victim to these outside pressures?

7. Let the class take over. Ultimately, the spirit will take over. There's revelation scattered all over the room. The more we stay focused on a specific issue and a specific doctrine, and build off of each other, the more I feel like we understand a passage of scripture in the spirit in which the author intended it to be understood. I will insert thoughts from time-to-time related to the discussion - and will sometimes reel the class back in if we veer too far from the topic. 

8. If the discussion dies down, then I proceed to the next portion of the lesson - and repeat the cycle. 

Usually classroom comments take up 80-90% of the class time. That's the way it's intended to be, IMO. It's really cool when the doctrine is taught, the spirit is felt, and you can see people's eyes just light up. 

Edited by ldsguy422
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I team teach the combined youth class of 11 to 14 year olds. We try and cover two weeks worth of lessons. It is hard to get both lessons covered, and we usually focus more on one lesson than the other, usually, just highlighting the less covered lesson. I try to follow the spirit as to what the kids need. My intent is to have the kids feel the spirit, for I know, years later they won’t remember what I’ve taught, but hopefully they will remember how they felt. I try to teach the scriptures in a manner that they can understand and to what they are dealing with at their age level.

I’m really amazed at how many of the kids have read the Come Follow Me lesson for that week. And, many do it week after week.  At the beginning of class we have each class member talk about their week and their thoughts of the Come Follow Me lesson. They let us know if they’ve read it or not. I am really in awe of the youth I teach. I can tell they are valiant spirits. But, I’m also very aware that Satan will not leave these kids alone. I hope and pray as they grow older and face life’s challenges and trials that they can remember Sister Classylady and her testimony, and know that they can remain strong, repent, and find joy in the gospel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, classylady said:

 My intent is to have the kids feel the spirit, for I know, years later they won’t remember what I’ve taught, but hopefully they will remember how they felt. I try to teach the scriptures in a manner that they can understand and to what they are dealing with at their age level.

I actually have had a different experience in this regard.  I've found that adults don't retain much from the lessons.  But they remember the feelings.  Youth remember the lesson material, but quickly forget the feelings except for those who write in their journals.

And youth will tend to understand a lot more than we think they do.

Just my personal experience.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, Carborendum said:

I actually have had a different experience in this regard.  I've found that adults don't retain much from the lessons.  But they remember the feelings.  Youth remember the lesson material, but quickly forget the feelings except for those who write in their journals.

And youth will tend to understand a lot more than we think they do.

Just my personal experience.

I too have found that the youth understand more than we think they do. I’m working with 11 year olds to 14 year olds and that is quite a maturity age gap between them. Some of my 11 year olds are still so sheltered. Some not. I don’t mince words as we talk about the strengths and weaknesses of the people in the Old Testament. I try to bring attention to their own experiences that correlate to what happened in the scriptural experiences and share my own life experiences to enhance and bring interest to the lesson. Hopefully, it will stick with them. If your insight is correct in that the youth remember the lesson material, that is a good thing. I also hope they can remember the feelings.

My own personal experience is I don’t remember anything much that my teachers taught me, or even remember the feelings. About all I remember is that one teacher told us she got married at the age of 14, (she said she wasn’t pregnant), and I was shocked! I was about that age myself, maybe a little older, and I could not imagine getting married at that age. She wasn’t too much older than us, probably in her early 20’s. Her parents gave their permission for her marriage, again something I have a hard time understanding. The only other experience I really remember is that one teacher had me babysit her children. I was the only one she trusted to watch her kids, and that made me feel good. That had nothing to do about the lessons at all. Though, I do remember that particular teacher telling us that her first born died of SIDS. So, I tend to remember the personal experiences my teachers told us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

In answer to the original question, my ward tends to just cover the preceding week's chapters; however, there have been occasions where the teacher covers something from two weeks ago, if they want or feel that it's worth it.  If it were me, I would probably pick and choose from both weeks and cover what I felt was most important within the allotted time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share