Aug 30

21 Words

If you’re doing church the same way you were a year ago, or even last week, you’re falling behind and failing.

Len Sweet, page 20.

Aug 29

Tis the Season

Fall. Back to school. Cooler temperatures. College football. It’s that season of the year, college football season. Saturday is the season opener when the Florida Gators play Hawaii at Florida Field, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Coach Urban Meyer asks all fans to “white out cancer” by wearing white Gator shirts. Go Gators!

Aug 22

Having trouble making a decision on a candidate?

If you’re having trouble making a decision on which presidential candidate to choose, try this race

Aug 20

How we treat others

Here’s another wonderful point from What the Best College Teachers Do. A Harvard Law professor, Derrick Bell, was the first African American to be granted tenure at the school. He was noted for being one of the most effective teachers in ways in which he treated his students. He treated his students with courtesy and dignity. Class time was for the students, but he would take a few minutes at the beginning of class to talk with them about their lives and share personal moments of his own with them (page 148). One of his students reported that he and his wife were walking in the Village near NYU one morning and pointed out that Derrick Bell teaches there. The man’s wife suggested that he apply to the program so he did, was accepted, and studied with Bell. He treated his students with decency, respect, and concern (page 149).

How many people in the towns where we live, in our workplaces, or in our schools want to attend our churches because of how we treat others? Are we treating people with decency, respect, and concern? Do we treat them in ways showing we care and want to talk with them?

Or are we busy with our own lives? Do we have separate lives … a work life, a neighborhood life, a school life … and we do our own thing on church days?

Aug 17

You’re not the pastor/teacher.

In continuing my read through What the Best College Teachers Do, I have come to one of the important principles of effective teachers: focus on the student rather than the discipline (page 110). Teaching should be student-centered, not discipline-centered or teacher-centered. Teachers must focus on the interests of the students, what they care about, what they know, what they think they know instead of simply giving them an outline of information. In a sense, the students are the teachers. When involved in the lessons and encouraged to participate in the discussions, then they will listen, think, and respond and reach conclusions on their own understanding and reason.

This technique is often easier to accomplish in a small group Bible study rather than in a large worship service. In this Bible study group, students (or participants) should be comfortably allowed to think and talk about the topic, even if their ideas aren’t the most correct answers. Teachers can use warm language, which is actually story telling, to effectively explain ideas and concepts (page 122).

The most effective teachers guide students into discussing ideas that may help them in solving their problems. Overall, the teacher and the students are learning together from each other.

Aug 16

Find your own answers

I often recall a lesson from one of my favorite school teachers. During vocabulary lessons of looking up the definitions of words, she reminded her students not to use the word or a form of the word in the definition. We were expected to research completely different phrases in the definitions.

This teaching technique was brought to memory when I read one of the aspects of a natural critical learning environment in What the Best College Teachers Do. This environment helps students answer the question when the teacher gets the students to answer the question for themselves (page 103). Students are challenged to develop explanations and arrive at their own conclusions, rather than simply being told the answer.

As an elementary student looking up definitions in a dictionary, I could have simply copied the definitions even though some words may have been defined in the dictionary by a form of the same root word. My teacher encouraged me to seek the definitions of words without using any forms of the root word.

Effective teachers do not give students answers; they encourage them to find their own answers and research all parts of that answer.

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