Imagine trying to teach someone to operate a computer using the same methodology we use in church. First, listen to a lecture on computers, try to unscramble the word ‘megabyte,’ look at the manual, memorize small portions of the manual, then bingo, you are a computer expert. How about teaching someone to drive a car? First, listen to a lecture on the history of cars, connect the dots to form a car, find the hidden car parts in a word search puzzle, open the door, get in and drive off. Sounds a little silly, doesn’t it? Yet this is what happens in Christian education settings across North America every week.
What are we telling our listeners? Are they learning what we think we are teaching? What they might be learning is, “If God is as boring as this teacher or preacher, count me out!” Or perhaps we are teaching them, “God is mixed up and scrambled and you have to keep looking to find Him, if you can.” Some of the exercises we use might lead some persons to believe they need a special “decoder ring” to understand God. We must strive to use teaching methods conducive to the learning styles of our attendees.
Freeze Frame List some learning exercises that would direct learning through each of the five senses. I have listed some to help you get started.
See – dry erase board, visuals, flip charts
Hear – small groups, interactive sharing
Touch – object lessons
I trust you were able to list several for each category. We will learn more about methods as we look at Jesus’ approach to learning in chapters three and four.
Much has been written over the years concerning learning styles. Depending on whom you read and study you will find different lists and names for the various learning styles. However, most researchers and writers agree there are four basic learning styles. The names that I refer to come from David A. Kolb as found in his book Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development: 1) Convergent, 2) Divergent, 3) Assimilative, and 4) Accommodative.
George Yates, Teaching That Bears Fruit, n.d.