Jesus consistently exhibited some of the best traits of a teacher. I especially picked up on how he was both intentional and conscientious–both of which are qualities I look for in my instructors in the workplace. Jesus didn’t just focus on what he taught or instigate information dumps. No, he thought through how he communicated his teachings, and employed different ways to make learning stick.
Here are three more teaching strategies from the master teacher:
Jesus taught with application in mind. Great teachers always give their learners relevant take-aways and suggestions for application. Adult learners especially want to know the application side of what’s being taught. They ask: How can I use this for my job, my marriage, my family, my personal growth. Good instructors provide tools, job aides, teaching materials, resources–whatever it takes to help learning stick. The classroom or the group meeting is just the starting point of learning.
The model prayer, the Lords Prayer – Matthew 6: 7-15
The Golden Rule – Matthew 7:12
Instituting the Lord’s Supper – Luke 22: 14-19
Be doers and not hearers only – James 1: 22-25
Ask: What can I do to help them better apply my teaching?
Idea 1: Always conclude your meeting with a call to action. Establish the pattern of following up with your students each time you are together. Ask them what they were able to apply from the previous week.
Idea 2: Provide some simple checklists, job aides or handouts to give students after your session together.
Jesus taught with illustrations and stories. There’s a powerful teaching principle here–showing new concepts and ideas by relating them to what people already know. Stories also build drama which usually always draws a crowd or engages the audience. A good story adds an emotional attachment to your teaching. It’s no wonder that so many parents or children can relate to the story of the Prodigal Son.
He used nature to show important principles – Matthew 6: 25-33
He taught in parables – Matthew 13: 1-9
Jesus demonstrated his power and authority – Matthew 9: 1-8
Ask: Am I using relevant personal stories or modern-day illustrations to support my teaching?
Idea 1: For your next small group meeting, consider opening with a great story, a movie clip, a demo, or a joke. Make sure it’s relevant to the topic you will be covering.
Idea 2: Read your child an awesome bedtime story. We used to read to our kids chapters from the Chronicles of Narnia.
Jesus taught by asking great questions. Jesus wasn’t a monologue. He knew that effective learning involved two-way communication. Very often, he asked open-ended, thought-provoking questions. Discussions seemed to be a common occurrence between him and his disciples. Jesus frequently answered a question with a question. He understood the importance of self-discovery in learning. And what we self-discover, we usually retain and apply the most.
Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath? – Matthew 12:9-13
Who do people say that I am? – Matthew 16:13-20
Concerning divorce – Matthew 19:3-9
Ask: Am I asking questions that generate lively group discussions?
Idea: Think about some idea-generating questions for your next group meeting or team meeting. Move people into a brainstorming mode and a period of self-discovery.
Question: What other methods or techniques can be used to increase not only learning, but also application?