Welcome to today’s edition of Teaching Tip Thursday!
Today’s Tip: Review isn’t for dummies
If you have the opportunity to teach a class with the same person (or people) more than once, do not hesitate to review. It gives you, as a teacher, a pulse on what information has been retained and what the student does (or does not) already know.
#1: Review (briefly) the previous lesson.
When the kids and I have our daily bible reading, I often ask them about yesterday’s reading. If we are reading a bible account like the gospels, it helps orient them to a time period. If we are reading out of the same book (i.e. Romans), I ask questions like, “who wrote it?” or “who was it written to?” I may have asked the question every day for the last 5 days, but until I’m satisfied that all three of them really retain it, I keep drilling. As noted in the previous tip, context is extremely important. Knowing details helps keep things in their proper place.
#2: Review verses.
This includes both what it says and where it’s found.
While I was attending college, the preacher at our congregation taught countless Bible studies, and I was blessed to attend many of them. It was his regular habit to ask those in attendance to quote a particular passage while emphasizing a particular point. For example, he would be teaching about the inspired writers of the Bible and would say something like, “…as it says in 2 Timothy 3.16. Can you tell me what that says?” If we all looked stumped, he’d reply, “I’ll start it for you and then you can paraphrase or finish it: ‘All scripture is given by…'” The light bulbs would start flashing and at least one person in the class could paraphrase or quote it. If nobody could come up with it, we would all look it up together and read it aloud. By the time I graduated college, I could both reference and quote (or paraphrase) hundreds of passages, all because of the repetitive drill! He took great care not to come across as belittling in this approach; he was trying to encourage us all to rise in knowledge. It was like being in a math class and the professor asking if anyone can recite their multiplication tables every week. You didn’t want to be the only one in class who couldn’t do it!
#3: Review basics
Basics include (but are not limited to): books of the Bible, the categories of Bible books, Old vs New Testament, principles of salvation, what faith is, the Trinity, etcetera.
Books of the Bible? Yes! Knowing the order of the books of the Bible enables you to look up passages without having to go to the table of contents for page numbers.
Categories of Bible books? Yes! Knowing categories helps one understand the order of the Bible books and emphasizes the non-chronological nature of the Bible. Granted, the events in Genesis happened first, and Revelation is indeed the last book written, but not all books are in their chronological place. Books of the Bible are grouped by category. For example, Ruth did not happen after Judges, but during the period of the Judges. The minor prophets did not come after Kings and Chronicles, but were often contemporary with them. Job is often believed to have taken place during the time of the patriarchs, but it is grouped with the “Books of Poetry” (Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon).
Old vs New Testament? You betcha! I can’t tell you how many times people try to put us under the Old Law because they fail to understand the division between Old Testament books and New Testament books.
Basics deserve regular emphasis.
This may sound a bit crazy, but even though I practically grew up on the pew, I absolutely love hearing a preacher deliver a lesson on some basic or foundational principle. For one thing, reviewing the basics gives the seasoned Christians fresh ideas on how to present facts to people who aren’t familiar with the gospel. For another, if a teacher is in front of a large audience and does not know the knowledge point of everyone, he is likely introducing or clarifying an important principle for someone in that group.
Review really isn’t for dummies!
In order to retain knowledge, it must be used and repeated.