There are some basic principles that all teachers need to know and put into practice. These Basic Guidelines For Successful Teaching are simple to understand and easy to use.

1) Begin Where The Student Is: -- The first basic principle is to find out where the learner is in his understanding. If you try to teach him Bible baptism when he does not ever believe the Bible, then the teaching effort will be ineffective. Philip found where the Ethiopian Treasurer was by being a good listener and asking a good question (Acts 8;30). "Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture..." (Acts 8:35).

2) Get Feedback: -- The student has information valuable to the teacher. You will have to get some response from the student to know how to proceed in teaching. Effective ways of obtaining feedback include: questions, tests, reviews, drills and discussions. Feedback is needed to know where the student is, if he is learning, and how effective you have been. Philip gained feedback from the Ethiopian when he asked, "Understandest thou what thou readest?" (Acts 8:30).

3) Build On What The Student Knows: -- If we learn what the student knows, we will have a good foundation upon which to build. "Like" and "as" are effective in building on the student's knowledge. Jesus recognized this as He said, "The kingdom of heaven is like..." (Matt. 13:31) and "the kingdom of heaven is as..." (Matt. 25:14).

4) Know Where You Are Going: -- There is a need for teachers to set clear, definite, obtainable goals and objectives in their teaching. Ask yourself, "What is my purpose in teaching?" Where do you want the student to be at the end of the class? What do you want him to know or be able to do? Nathan knew where he was going as he led David to confession of sin in 2 Sam. 12:1-13.

5) Create A Need For Learning: -- If the teacher can get the student to decide that he needs what is being taught, the teacher will not have to motivate him to learn. The motivation will come from within the student. If the student does not think he needs what you are trying to teach, the teaching will not be very successful. Jesus created a need as He evoked the response, "Sir, give me this water" (Jno. 4:15).

6) Get The Student Involved: -- Too many classes could be taught without students! The successful teacher prepares activities which demand student involvement, and his teaching techniques require the student to be involved. Every case of successful teaching in the Scriptures involved the learning student.

7) Let The Student Reach The Conclusions And Know He Is Learning: -- Instead of cheating the student by telling him the answer, let him do the mental work to reach the conclusion for himself. We have a much better memory of the conclusions we reach on our own than the conclusions we hear others express. Few things reward one as much as knowing he has learned. Learning motivates learning! The teaching of Jesus led the chief priests and Pharisees to the conclusion "that He spake of them" (Matt. 21: 25).

Teachers set the atmosphere for learning. Creat an environment that facilitates learning.

By John Isaac Edwards in Back To Basics, Vol. 2, No. 12, Dec. 2004.

Return to the General Articles page

Home / Bible studies / Bible Survey / Special Studies / General Articles / Non-Bible Articles / Sermons / Sermon Outlines / Links / Questions and Answers / What Saith The Scriptures /Daily Devotional / Correspondence Courses / What is the Church of Christ / Book: Christian Growth / Website Policy / E-mail / About Me /