Seven Principles for More Effective Teaching

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Would you like to improve the teaching experience for both you and your students? Here is a resource I highly recommend: Teaching to Change Lives: Seven Proven Ways to Make Your Teaching Come Alive  by Dr. Howard Hendricks.  It’s filled with practical, biblical, seasoned wisdom that is helpful for both new and experienced teachers alike. I also appreciate that it is relatively short—only 151 pages – so it’s easily “digestible” for busy teachers. Here is a very brief summary of the seven principles, or “laws” he describes:

(T) The Law of the Teacher— If you stop growing today, you stop teaching tomorrow…You cannot communicate out of a vacuum. You cannot impart what you do not possess. If you don’t know it—truly know it—you can’t give it.

(E) The Law of Education—How people learn determines how you teach.

(A) The Law of Activity—Maximum learning is always the result of maximum involvement. That’s true, with one condition. The activity in which the learner is involved must be meaningful.

(C) The Law of CommunicationTo truly impart information requires the building of bridges.

All communication has three essential components: intellect, emotion, and volitionin other words, thought, feeling, and action.

If I know something thoroughly, feel it deeply, and am doing it consistently, I have great potential for being an excellent communicator.

(H) The Law of the Heart—Teaching that impacts is not head to head, but heart to heart.

To the Hebrews, heart embraced the totality of human personality—one’s intellect, one’s emotions, one’s will.

So the process of teaching is that of one total personality transformed by the supernatural grace of God, reaching out to transform other personalities by the same grace.

(E) The Law of Encouragement—Teaching tends to be more effective when the learner is properly motivated.

As a teacher—a motivator—you want to help people develop into self-starters. You want them to do what they do, not because you ask them or twist their arm, but because they themselves have chosen to do it.

One of the best ways to trigger this choice is to help the learner become aware of his need.

(R) The Law of Readiness—The teaching-learning process will be most effective when both student and teacher are adequately prepared. [For example, use the beginning of your class time to build interest toward the subject matter. Give your students an assignment: looking up texts, reviewing prior themes, etc.]

(copyright©1987, pages 17, 39, 60-61, 71, 85, 100, 103, and 115)

Again, these brief descriptions do not do justice to his main points and practical applications. I urge you to read the whole book. In fact, it is one of the books I have been reading in preparation for my seminar, Encouraging Active Minds in the Learning Process,” to be presented at our National Conference. I would love to have you join me there to further explore this important topic!

Written by Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson is a wife, mother, grandmother, teacher and author. She has taught Sunday School for over 20 years and writes God-centered curriculum for Children Desiring God.

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