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Are you looking for tips to become a better teacher?  Whether you teach in a church or school (or even at home), the following is a collection of posts that I think will be helpful to you.  These teaching tips come from an online book discussion that I conducted last year over the book, Teaching to Change Lives, by Howard Hendricks.  I trust they will challenge you to become a better teacher and life-long learner.

Law of the Teacher 

Law of Education  

   

Law of Activity     

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Law of Communication 

 

 

Law of the Heart

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Law of the Encouragement

Law of Readiness

True teaching aims at life change.  I can teach an amazing lesson complete with powerpoint and handouts, but if my students haven’t changed, then have I really taught?

Knowing full well that life change is impossible without God’s intervention, there are still some things that we as teachers must do.  I call it the M.I.A. (Missing in Action) as these 3 elements are often missing in our teaching:

  • Modeling — (ME) It starts with me.  The more I change, the more I can influence others to change.  I must become what I want my students to become.  Not a perfect example, but an authentic one.
  • Involvement — (WE) I must get my class involved in the learning process.  I must learn the art of asking good questions and become more of a leader than a lecturer.  Too much of our teaching is entirely too passive.
  • Accountability — (YOU & ME) When I’m done with my lesson, I’m not done.  I must create an intentional plan of action to be done outside the classroom.  Oftentimes, teachers feel the pressure to “get through the lesson” and leave out this important step.  But good teachers follow up with their students to see if they did what they were asked to do in an environment of humility and grace.

If you’re aiming at life change, look for ways you can build these three elements into your teaching, all the while depending on the Holy Spirit to do what you cannot do.

Today we will begin our discussion and interaction over the first chapter of the book, Teaching to Change Lives, by Howard Hendricks.  My plan is to give you a concise summary of the chapter along with questions for reflection.  If you have read through the first chapter please feel free to leave comments or questions (if you’re new to this, simply click on the comments section at the top and it will prompt you on what to do).  Let’s begin than with chapter one.

  • Summary 

521382_1_ftc_dp1.jpgHendricks separates the book into seven short chapters that cover what he calls, “The Seven Laws of the Teacher.”  The first law basically boils down to this main point: If you stop growing today, you’ll stop teaching tomorrow.  In other words, as teachers we must be learners.  We must teach out of the overflow of our lives.  We must continue to grow and change if we expect our students to do the same.  It’s really a simple “law” to understand, but more difficult to actually live out.

More specifically, he challenges teachers to live a balanced life that embraces change in many dimensions.  He says, “we cannot develop spiritually unless we develop in other areas as well-intellectually, physically, socially, and emotionally” (p. 25).  And so he provides some specific steps to guide us in our growth in these often neglected areas. 

In conclusion, Hendricks calls us to a life of examination.  A life willing to change and grow by asking ourselves hard questions such as, “What are my strengths and weaknesses?” and “What do I have to change?”  These questions should prompt in us a desire to continue this process of growth as God works in us to conform us more to His Son.  As that happens–as we change–we become powerful instruments of change in the lives of those we teach.

  • Questions for Reflection
  1. In Luke 6:40 Jesus says, “Everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”  How does that verse make you feel as a teacher of God’s Word?  Humbled, inspired, something else?  Why?
  2. Why must modeling always precede effective teaching?
  3. Knowing that we all have room for growth, which area (intellectual, physical, social, emotional) do you need to spend more time focusing on?
  4. Do you agree with Hendricks when he says, “You cannot neglect one of these [above] areas without endangering your growth in all of them?”
  5. Why do we resist living a life of examination?
  6. Do you feel more like a “running stream” or “stagnant pool” for your students?  If stagnant, what can you do to change?
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