Part of teaching God’s Word involves understanding age level issues. Previously we asked:
- Why is it important to understand age level characteristics of the students you are teaching?
- How does spiritual growth correspond with age level development?
- How do you teach multiple ages in one group?
Those questions related more to Bible teachers. In this post we want to look at questions that affect Bible teachers but are more relevant to Christian education directors or administrators.
Issues Related to the Administration of Teaching Various Age Levels
What is the best way to group the different ages?
The best breakdown could depend on certain factors in your particular setting. 1) the number of classrooms you have and/or the size of those classrooms – Obviously, this factor could determine how many classes you can have and the size of those classes. 2) the number of teachers you can recruit – Even if you have the space for multiple classes, you must have enough teachers. You may need to combine ages because of this factor. Whatever you do, seek to guard the teacher to student ratio. 3) the number of students in the varying age brackets – Since this can change every year, make an assessment each school year to determine how many students will fall into the various ages that year. Then, break that down to be the tightest age level fit to work with the number of classrooms and teachers you have.
Should teacher training be based on the age being taught?
As a general rule, yes, it is best to train according to the age being taught as needs, issues, methodology, and the like will differ based on age. If you have a small teaching staff, that could mean only one or two teachers per age bracket in a training session. You may need to combine teachers according to broader brackets like Early Childhood, Grade School, Youth, Adults. But, also remember that there are many ways to provide training besides group training. Check out: In a Teacher Training Rut?
Some topics, however, could relate to teachers of all ages so you could occasionally combine teachers of all ages for training. Even then, however, the specific application of these topics could vary based on the age being taught. You can accommodate for that by using breakout groups according to age levels to discuss the implications and applications.