As a team, we are always encouraged and uplifted when we receive news of how the Lord is spreading the fame of His name throughout the nations. Recently, we received an update from one of the most pain-stricken, war-torn regions in the world: South Sudan. Since 1955, the region has experienced two civil wars and casualties of more than 2.5 million people. In this seemingly hopeless land, Emilie Gonzalez and her team are being used to share the truth of the Gospel and the beauty of God’s character to children using Sally Michael’s book God’s Names. In her message to us, Emilie writes, (more…)
This is the second in a series of posts to equip teachers and parents with tools for effective teaching.
Understanding how the lessons target the four learning styles
God has given Children Desiring God an amazing gift in both of our curriculum authors, Sally Michael and Jill Nelson. They are experienced Sunday school and homeschool teachers who have masterfully integrated various teaching elements throughout the lessons in order to address each learning style. As a result, the truth taught in each lesson is conveyed to the students through more than one “channel,” while still having the same goal: reaching their hearts.
Let’s look at how you would target your students’ various learning styles using a lesson from our newly-released revised curriculum, My Purpose Will Stand:
Whether you’re a new teacher who is just starting to know the children in your class, or whether you’ve already been able to identify some of the learning styles in your students, please remember this: targeting learning styles while teaching, although important, is not your ultimate goal.
Psalm 78 reminds us that as we tell the coming generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, our goal is that they “should set their hope in God” (v. 4-7). In His goodness, God has created us and our students with senses to understand truths about Him. Use your students’ learning styles as channels to convey the truth of God’s greatness and glory!
Remember that it is through His Spirit, not through our teaching endeavors alone, that He has promised to use the proclamation of His Word to bring about the fruit that He desires (Zechariah 4:6, Isaiah 55:10-11). Trust that and teach, “knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58b)!
Read Part 1: Channels for Conveying Truth.
This is the first in a series of new posts to equip teachers and parents with tools for effective teaching.
A brief history of learning styles
Most of us remember that moment: our teacher passed a strange, new, and somewhat unknown object around the classroom so we could see and feel it up close as she taught. Perhaps she showed us a startling image of what, to our young minds, seemed to be a miniature monster… or, as she proceeded to explain, a human cell. Maybe she taught us a song to remember the alphabet… or present-tense verbs!
All these teaching aids are so commonly used in modern education that we don’t really give them a second thought. They seem to be “part” of the teaching/learning experience somehow. But it was not always so.
Teaching methods that used the student’s senses to better explain subject matter were not overly common. This began to change, in part, by the ideas and writings of a man named John Amos Comenius in the 17th century, who is best known as the father of modern education. He was a leader of the Moravian Brethren in what is now known as Czechoslovakia. His fresh, new approach to teaching included a strong advocacy for using the child’s senses as a means to aid his understanding and application of subject matter. He believed that God had designed the world with colors, sounds, and smells to teach us about His greatness.
When Jesus taught His disciples, He did so by illustrating truths about God using things that they knew and could perceive: birds, flowers, grain, seeds. Applying that same approach to his teaching of subject matter, Comenius worked on and published the first-ever book that applied illustrations to teaching. His ideas were the beginning of a brand-new approach to education that continued on to the twentieth century. In 1987, a man named Neil Fleming came up with a series of categories in which he identified each student’s learning style, based on the sense(s) that the student most commonly used to learn. The learning styles he identified are:
- visual learners (understand through pictures, movies, diagrams)
- auditory learners (understand through music, discussion, lectures)
- reading and writing learners (understand through making lists, reading textbooks, taking notes)
- kinesthetic/tactile learners (understand through movement, experiments, hands-on activities)
Watch for part two of this series to find out more about how our curriculum incorporates these learning styles to help engage students of all ages.