Summer is an ideal time for reading to refresh and energize the soul. For anyone who teaches children and youth it’s also an opportunity to become a better teacher. At only 152 pages, Teaching to Change Lives: Seven Proven Ways to Make Your Teaching Come Alive by Dr. Howard Hendricks is filled with practical, biblical, seasoned wisdom that is helpful for both new and experienced teachers alike. At Truth78, we highly recommend this book. Our curricula’s teaching philosophy and methodology closely mirrors the principles found in his book. Here is a brief summary of the seven principles, or “laws” Dr. Hendricks describes followed by examples of how Truth78 curricula implements each:
The Law of the Teacher— If you stop growing today, you stop teaching tomorrow…You cannot communicate out of a vacuum. You cannot impart what you do not possess. If you don’t know it—truly know it—you can’t give it.
Truth78 encourages teachers to take time to prayerfully study each lesson and make your own personal application.
The Law of Education—How people learn determines how you teach.
Truth78 incorporates a teaching philosophy, methodology, and format that is age-appropriate, interactive, and teacher friendly.
The Law of Activity—Maximum learning is always the result of maximum involvement. That’s true, with one condition. The activity in which the learner is involved must be meaningful.
Truth78 encourages students to interact, first and foremost, with the text of Scripture: questioning, organizing, analyzing, evaluating, drawing conclusions, and applying God’s Word. Interactive illustrations and other activities are also used to help students better grasp biblical truth.
The Law of Communication—To truly impart information requires the building of bridges. All communication has three essential components: intellect, emotion, and volition—in other words, thought, feeling, and action. If I know something thoroughly, feel it deeply, and am doing it consistently, I have great potential for being an excellent communicator.
Each lesson of our curricula includes material that serves to instruct the mind, engage the heart, and influence the will.
The Law of the Heart—Teaching that impacts is not head to head, but heart to heart. To the Hebrews, heart embraced the totality of human personality—one’s intellect, one’s emotions, one’s will. Teaching happens when one total personality, transformed by the supernatural grace of God, reaches out to transform another personality by the same grace.
Each lesson includes a significant “Small Group Application” section to encourage and challenge students to personally embrace and apply God’s truth to their lives. Spirit-dependent prayer with and for the students is an essential aspect of this time.
The Law of Encouragement—Teaching tends to be more effective when the learner is motivated to learn. As a teacher—a motivator—you want to help people develop into self-starters. You want them to do what they do, not because you ask them or twist their arm, but because they themselves have chosen to do it. One of the best ways to trigger this choice is to help the learner become aware of his need.
Our lessons are written to fuel spiritual desire by giving students a big vision of the greatness of God and His all-surpassing worth. We continually point students to see that eternal, all-satisfying joy is found in God alone, through faith in Christ.
The Law of Readiness—The teaching-learning process will be most effective when both student and teacher are adequately prepared. Truth78 provides curricula components and other training to help teachers prepare for the lesson. Additionally, we include practical resources and ideas for helping students in preparation for the lesson material.
These descriptions are too brief to do justice to his main points and practical applications. I urge you to read the whole book. And if you’re a ministry leader, consider buying several copies this summer to pass on to your teachers and small group leaders. It is a wonderful training resource.