Methods for Adult Bible Classes

Sharpening Your Bible Teaching Methods
(Click image to learn more about this teacher training resource.)

 

Everyone needs to be actively involved in the Bible learning process. That includes even our senior adults.

Once students get to their adult years, however, the activity becomes primarily mental. Yet, do not rule out using physically active types of methodology on occasion.

Methodology Good to Use with Adults:

Guard against using lecture as you primary or sole method in adult classes. Even in large groups, there are ways to engage students. A more passive or one-directional method such as lecture or using a video presentation, can be followed by discussion. Also, learn ways to vary the presentation so it isn’t always one person standing in the front talking. You might use the following:

  • chain reaction forum
  • colloquy
  • debate
  • demonstration
  • film / video talkback
  • interview / interview forum
  • monologue
  • object lesson
  • panel discussion
  • reaction panel
  • screened speech
  • storytelling
  • symposium

While you certainly can use more of this impressional, one-way communication, with adults than with younger ages, you won’t take your students to higher levels of learning unless you also incorporate methods that get them more actively involved in the process.

Use methods that allow for two-way or multi-directional communication in your class such as:

  • agree / disagree statements
  • brainstorming
  • buzz groups
  • circle response
  • discussion
  • neighbor nudge
  • question / answer
  • word association / reaction

Use methods that allow for more expression, at least on occasion, like the following:

  • assignments
  • book reports / reviews
  • choral reading / speaking
  • computer
  • drawing
  • games (more mental than physical)
  • music
  • object manipulation (re-shaping an object to represent something else)
  • projects
  • research & report
  • role playing
  • simulation
  • work group
  • writing

And most certainly guide your adult students in studying God’s Word using:

  • inductive Bible study

The Sharpening Your Bible Teaching Methods Resource contains help on how to use all of the methods mentioned in this post.

Methods for Teens

Active Bible Teaching MethodsStudents of all ages need to be actively engaged in the learning process. When we speak of active methodology, we aren’t merely referring to physical activity but also mental. The younger the students, more physically active types of methods should be used. The older the students, more mentally active types of methods should be used. Where does that leave teenagers?

Teens have gotten to where the activity should be more mental with some physical. As students move into their teenage years, they still need some physically active methodology but not near so much of it as they did when younger.

Methodology Good to Use with Teens:

Physically active methods are still important, but need to be appropriate for teenagers. Consider using these:

  • drama in its various forms (mime/pantomime, monologues, role play, skits)
  • drawing
  • games (structured & purposeful)
  • object manipulation (re-shaping an object to represent something else)
  • simulations

You may find teens complaining when you ask them get up and move, but once they start, they’re usually good with it. Do not let their initial reactions keep you from incorporating these types of methods. They still need to be physically active in the learning process.

Since they are capable of going to higher levels of thinking, teens are at a point where they can learn with mentally active methodology such as:

  • case studies
  • debate
  • inductive Bible study
  • listening activities
  • research & report
  • writing

Also think about using more group-oriented activities at this age level as peer becomes increasingly more important. Include methods like the following:

  • discussion in its various formats
  • work groups or projects

While you can incorporate some lecture into the lesson, you most certainly should keep it short and break it up with other activities.

The Sharpening Your Bible Teaching Methods Resource contains help on how to use all of the methods mentioned in this post.

Methods for Grade School Children

Sharpening Your Bible Teaching Methods
(Click image to learn more about this teacher training resource.)

 

Younger ages demand primarily physically active types of methodology. By the time children get to grade school, their vocabulary and reasoning abilities have greatly expanded. Their attention spans have lengthened a bit as well. They are ready to tackle some mental activity blended in with the physical.

Methodology Good to Use with Grade School Children:

Choose methods that provide opportunity for grade school students to both physically and mentally engage in the learning process. Some of the methods listed below lean one way or the other depending on how you structure their use.

  • assignments
  • book reports
  • choral reading/speaking
  • computer
  • crafts
  • demonstrations
  • drama
  • drawing
  • drills
  • exhibits & displays
  • field trips
  • games
  • learning centers
  • listening activities
  • music
  • object lessons
  • play (structured & purposeful)
  • question/answer
  • simulations
  • story playing
  • story telling
  • writing

Also consider using methods that include some basic discussion types of methodology. While you shouldn’t build your lessons for this age level solely around discussion, especially for the younger grade school ages, you can use some of the following:

  • brainstorming
  • case studies
  • circle response
  • film/video talkback
  • interviews
  • word association/reaction

The Sharpening Your Bible Teaching Methods Resource contains help on how to use all of the methods mentioned in this post.

Methods for Preschoolers

(Click image to learn more about this teacher training resource.)
(Click image to learn more about this teacher training resource.)

The younger the age, the greater the need for physically active methodology. Think of the implications for your early childhood classes.

When choosing methods for preschoolers, pick those that provide the greatest level of activity.

Methodology Good to Use with Preschool Children:

The following methods are some of the more active methods which are good to use with preschoolers. Some of these methods require a higher level of physical activity than others. Teachers would do well to alternate higher and lower levels activities.

  • crafts and coloring (keep it simple)
  • dramatic play (i.e., dress up, home living centers)
  • fingerplays
  • games
  • manipulatives like blocks and puzzles
  • music that’s active
  • play
  • story playing (all may need to be the same character)

Other less physically active methodology can be appropriate to use with this age level but you must pay heed to their short attention spans. The more you engage them when using these methods, the longer you should be able to keep their attention.

  • books
  • media
  • pictures

The Bible Learning Activities for Children Teacher Training Download includes one page instructional sheets of many of the methods mentioned in this post — books, crafts, dramatic play, games, manipulatives, media, music, pictures.

When using any of the above mentioned methods with preschoolers, you will increase the potential for learning with guided conversation. Informally talk with these little ones, directing their thoughts from their current experience or activity to God and His Word. Teacher Training Resource: Guided Conversation Worksheet