This book is about becoming a better teacher. Perhaps it is high time we define our terms. What is good teaching? For some it is it deep teaching. (I am still waiting for the first person to tell me one of my lessons was deep.) Some people use the word deep to describe teaching that is hard to understand. That is not deep teaching. That is muddy teaching.
For some, good teaching is about a certain methodology. Lots of people, for example, are down on lecture, but I have heard some lectures that would certainly qualify as good teaching. There is nothing better than a well delivered lecture. Most lectures, however, are not all that good.
Group discussion is the 90s way to teach. Involvement. Participation. Touchy-feely, feel-good emotional stuff. Warmth. Relationships. Involvement. You can do all of that and be lousy at teaching.
Variety is the textbook answer. I even taught this one myself: “Any method is good except the one you used last week.” Variety, that’s what makes an effective teacher, isn’t it? Yes. . . unless you are moving from one ineffective method to the next. And I have heard people who do pretty much the same thing every week and are great teachers.
Where there are disciples, great teaching has taken place. Where there are no disciples there was no great teaching.
What makes great teaching? Great teaching means creating great people. Where there are disciples, great teaching has taken place. We know that Jesus’ teaching was great, not because we find his stories interesting, but because we know that his men turned the world upside down. When our students turn the world upside down, we have done a reasonable good job of teaching. Jesus told us to make disciples, not merely make converts. The object of Christian teaching is measured by the lives that are produced.
Where there are no disciples there was no great teaching. You may have a great lecture and not produce disciples. You may have a mediocre lecture, but somehow, lives were changed. Teaching took place. I have seen stimulating discussion that kept people talking about the subject on the drive home and hours later. It is likely that good teaching took place. It is likely that changed lives are forthcoming.
Teaching is not about methods. It is about results.
Josh Hunt. Disciplemaking Teachers.
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