Saturday, November 1, 2014

Extra Helps #12 - Worksheets Or Creative Projects?

What is more helpful in teaching small children? Many Bible teachers believe that worksheets, meaning multiple choice questions, crossword puzzles, questions-and-short-answers, or maybe word jumbles are the best way to test a child's memory after the Bible lesson. Others believe that small hands-on projects are the better way. No scientific answers or statistics are offered here tonight, only past experience of one Bible teacher.

Last Wednesday night as I was sitting behind two young boys who had just come out of Bible class into the auditorium, I noticed that they both carried worksheets in their hands. As they sat down and the announcements had begun, both boys were fascinated with their worksheets, but it probably was not the same intended aim of the Bible teacher. They were forming their worksheets into paper airplanes, putting great effort into "getting it just right." Worksheets did not work for these two boys.

While worksheets may "work" for some young students, they do not work for all students. I present an idea to all Bible teachers:  Try something new. Try something that must be prepared in advance and well-thought out by the Bible teacher, almost choreographed. Try something that will be kept in a special place for many days when the child takes it home. Try a hands-on project to see if it works for your Bible students.

I strive for the following scene:  Students come from their Bible classes holding a handmade Bible project in their hands with a broad smile and twinkling eyes, waiting for the anticipated question from their mother, father, grandparents, sibling--from whom makes little difference. The anticipated question? "What's that?" The child then quickly explains the Bible lesson in great detail and with much enthusiasm. That moment is worth all the great planning, preparation, and sometimes anguish that a Bible teacher can go through for that moment. Priceless indeed.

So, a challenge is presented to you--one Bible teacher to another--try something new this coming week, perhaps something 3-dimensional with lots of glue and paper, and, of course, something right from the Bible. See if you can capture that precious moment between Student and Question Asker. It will definitely make you strive for that same moment week after week after week--as I do.