While there are many different venues for Bible teaching, Sunday School has been a major arm of the Church for Christian Education. While teaching in the various settings can be similar, there are some differences which should affect teacher training.
Factors to Consider in Sunday School Teachers Training:
Sunday School, at least in its more traditional format, provides classes divided according to the different ages. Are your teachers well acquainted with the age level developmental characteristics of the age they teach?
If you are a smaller church and have resorted to combining age levels, do your teachers know how to make that work?
Sunday School classes are often mid-size groups. The larger the group the less active the participation of all students tends to be. Help your teachers know how to nonetheless engage students. They do not need to resort to lecture. What methods are good to use with their group size?
In smaller churches, teachers might occasionally only have 1-3 students show up on a given Sunday. Much of their curriculum is written with a larger group of students in mind. Do your teachers know how to make on the spot adjustments?
The Sharpening Your Bible Teaching Methods Resource includes charts to help teachers choose methods based on group size as well as age level, time, and more.
Sunday Schools often use pre-determined, dated curriculum, especially for children. Are you training Sunday School teachers on the nuances of that particular curriculum? Do they know when and how to tweak the curriculum for a more effective lesson?
Sunday School tends to have many of the same students attend over the course of time so you are able to work at building relationships, making long-range investments into their lives. Because of this, teachers also will have greater opportunity to build on previous learning, which opens the door for a series or unit of study. Do your teachers know how to provide review of previous lessons without boring students?
Providing this kind of consistency becomes more of a challenge if you rotate teachers. Do your teachers understand how each lesson fits into a bigger scheme? Do they realize that they can’t simply bypass a lesson if it is part of a unit on which the next week’s teacher is to build? Have you acquainted all Sunday School teachers with the scope and sequence chart provided by many curriculum companies to let them see where each lesson fits?