Thursday, December 17, 2015

Let the Holy Spirit Guide: Creating a Spirit-led Learning Environment

After attending a teacher training last week, I've been inspired to pull out my file and review some gems I've collected about gospel teaching. Here are some great LDS quotes about the importance of the Spirit in gospel teaching and learning. Without the Spirit, we shouldn't be teaching, because the Spirit IS the teacher. 





THE SPIRIT IS SUPREMELY IMPORTANT IN TEACHING AND LEARNING


“The greatest education you can get is to learn the voice of the Spirit” (Boyd K. Packer, Mine Errand from the Lord).

“The real teacher is the Spirit. ... We’re instruments, we’re tools, and it’s our tongues and our lips, but the real teacher is on high. ... ‘And if it be by some other way it is not of God’ (D&C 50:18)” (Elder Holland, Worldwide Leadership Training, 2007).

“The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life.” (Julie Beck, “And Upon the Handmaids in Those Days Will I Pour Out My Spirit,” Ensign, Nov. 2010). 

2 Nephi 33:1 – “When a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men.” 

D&C 100:6 – “It shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say.”
 
WHY? BECAUSE THE SPIRIT CONVERTS – CHANGES MINDS, HEARTS, AND ACTIONS 

“True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior. Preoccupation with unworthy behavior can lead to unworthy behavior. That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the doctrines of the gospel” (Boyd K. Packer, Ensign Nov. 1986, 17).

“The goal of gospel teaching ... is not to ‘pour information’ into the minds of class members. ... The aim is to inspire the individual to think about, feel about, and then do something about living gospel principles.” (Thomas Monson, CR 10/70). 

Alma 31:5 – “As the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just – yea, it had a more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them – therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God.” (Elder Holland said about this verse, “Another word for virtue is power.” From Worldwide Leadership Training, 2007)

“The Spirit not only informs and increases mutual understanding, it convinces! The Spirit can convince the student to ‘experiment upon’ (Alma 32:27) the gospel, so that the prized personal verification will come and individuals come to know for themselves that these things are true.  Brigham Young said of the Spirit’s convincing power: ‘Anything besides that influence, will fail to convince any person of the truth of the Gospel of salvation’” (Neal A. Maxwell, “Teaching by the Spirit: the Language of Inspiration,” August 15, 1991). 

“For you teachers of the Church, the principal goal of your lessons is the conversion of hearts. The quality of a lesson is not measured by the number of new pieces of information that you give your students. It comes from your capacity to invite the presence of the Spirit and to motivate your students to make commitments” (G√©rald Causs√©, CR, Oct. 2008).

THE TEACHER’S CHARACTER TEACHES AND INVITES THE SPIRIT 

My husband teaching my seminary class last year about
the duties of a bishop.
“We teach what we are” (Boyd K. Packer, The Ideal Teacher). 

“Paramount ... in what they observe is the example of your own life – how you work; how you react to challenges in and out of the classroom; ... how you treat [your families]. How you live is constantly under observation. ... More than what you teach, more than what you show or say, the spirit that radiates from you will effect your students. A truly effective inspiring teacher of youth cannot be marginal in conviction, intermittent in testimony, or wavering on obedience” (Richard G. Scott, “Four Fundamentals for Those Who Teach and Inspire Youth,” August 14, 1987).  

“The greatest impact of all is what they feel in your presence in the classroom and elsewhere. Your commitment to teach the precious children of our Father in Heaven is ... [also] the commitment to a life every hour of which is purposefully lived in compliance with the teachings and example of the Savior and of His servants. It is a commitment to constant striving to be evermore spiritual, evermore devoted, evermore deserving to be the conduit through which the Spirit of the Lord may touch the hearts of those you are trusted to bring to a greater understanding of His teachings” (Ibid).

WHEN STUDENTS PARTICIPATE THEY INVITE THE SPIRIT AND CONVERSION

My daughter during an interactive seminary activity. 
“Never, and I mean never, give a lecture where there is no student participation.  A ‘talking head’ is the weakest form of class instruction. ... Ensure that there is abundant participation because that use of agency by a student authorizes the Holy Ghost to instruct. It also helps the student retain your message.  As students verbalize truths, they are confirmed in their souls and strengthen their personal testimonies” (Richard G. Scott, “To Understand and Live Truth,” Feb. 4, 2005). 

“When you encourage students to raise their hand to respond to a question, they signify to the Holy Spirit their willingness to learn.  That use of moral agency will allow the Spirit to motivate and give them more powerful guidance during your time together. Participation allows individuals to experience being led by the Spirit. They learn to recognize and feel what spiritual guidance is. It is through the repeated process of feeling impressions, recording them, and obeying them that one learns to depend on the direction of the Spirit more than on communication through the five senses” (Richard G. Scott, “Helping Others to Be Spiritually Led,” August 11, 1998). 

“A person learns more rapidly from what he does than from what others do for him.  One expert has concluded that ‘the ratio of learning is: one by hearing, ten by seeing, and one thousand by doing.’  A person does not learn nearly so well by sitting and listening to someone talk as he does by participating.  He must be involved in the lesson.  The secret of successful teaching, therefore, is getting a person to do something for himself”  (President Monson, Favorite Quotations from the Collection of Thomas S. Monson, p. 266).

1 Nephi 19:23 – “I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.”

TESTIFYING –  FROM BOTH TEACHER AND STUDENTS – INVITES THE SPIRIT 

“Above all, testify to them. Love them. Bear your witness from the depths of your soul. It will be the most important thing you say to them in the entire hour, and it may save someone’s spiritual life. ... Never let your faith be difficult to detect. ... Avoid self-serving performance and vanity. Don’t try to dazzle everyone with how brilliant you are. Dazzle them with how brilliant the gospel is” (Elder Holland, Worldwide Leadership Training, 2007).

“We are to help students learn to explain, share, and testify of the doctrines and principles of the restored gospel. We are to give them opportunities to do so with each other in class.  We are to encourage them to do so outside of class with family and others”  (The Teaching Emphasis in the Church Educational System, November 14, 2007).

ASKING INSPIRED QUESTIONS – FROM BOTH TEACHER AND STUDENTS – INVITES SPIRIT-LED LEARNING 

“The more questions we can get from the learners about something, the more they are engaged in the learning” (Julie Beck, Worldwide Leadership Training, 2007).

“The very process of formulating a question, raising a hand, asking a question and listening attentively is an expression of faith. This principle of seeking learning by faith invites individualized teaching by the Holy Ghost”  (David A. Bednar, Address to Australian Saints, April 2008).

“As teachers, we must require our students to think. ... After discussing each story, we were asked questions such as ‘What does that mean to you?’ ‘How does this scripture–or story or principle–relate to your life?’ ‘How can you apply this teaching in your home?’ ‘How do you feel about it?’ I found in my own home with my boys that once I asked these questions they began to live and feel what they were being taught” (Elder Robert D. Hales, “Teaching By Faith,” Feb. 1, 2002). 

“To ask and to answer questions is at the heart of all learning and all teaching. The Master asked, answered, and sometimes chose not to answer questions in his ministry. ... Some questions invite inspiration. Great teachers ask those. Here is a question that might not invite inspiration:  ‘How is a true prophet recognized?’ That question invites an answer which is a list, drawn from memory of the scriptures and the words of living prophets. But we could also ask the question this way, with just a small difference: ‘When have you felt that you were in the presence of a prophet?’ That will invite individuals to search their memories for feelings. After asking, we might wisely wait for a moment before calling on someone to respond. Even those who do not speak will be thinking of spiritual experiences.  That will invite the Holy Ghost”(President Henry B. Eyring “The Lord Will Multiply the Harvest,” Feb. 6, 1998).

WRITING DOWN IMPRESSIONS FROM THE SPIRIT INVITES CHANGE AND MORE IMPRESSIONS

“Those who earnestly seek help through prayer and scripture study often have a paper and pencil nearby to write questions and record impressions and ideas” (Julie Beck, “And Upon the Handmaids ... I Pour Out My Spirit,” Ensign, Nov. 2010). 
“Do you know how to get the most benefit from this time together?  Write down the impressions you feel…Spiritual moments in life often come when it seems difficult to record them.  Yet that special effort to crystallize in a permanent record sacred impressions of the Holy Ghost is powerfully rewarded.  Begin now even if you have to borrow paper and pencil to do it.” (Richard G. Scott, BYU-I Devot., Feb. 24, 2004)

“I encourage you to emphasize that we often leave the most precious personal direction of the Spirit unheard because we do not record and respond to the first promptings that come to us when the Lord chooses to direct us or when impressions come in response to urgent prayer” (Richard G. Scott, “Helping Others to be Spiritually Led,” August 11, 1998).

“Powerful spiritual direction in your life can be overcome or forced into the background unless you provide a way to retain it. ... Knowledge carefully recorded is knowledge available in time of need. Spiritually sensitive information should be kept in a sacred place that communicates to the Lord how you treasure it. That practice enhances the likelihood of your receiving further light” (Richard G. Scott, “Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge,” Ensign, Nov. 1993).

IT’S BETTER TO REALLY DIGEST ONE PRINCIPLE THAN RUSHING TO COVER ALL YOUR MATERIAL

“Avoid ... the temptation to cover too much material, the temptation to stuff more into the hour – or more into the students – than they can possibly hold! .. We are teaching people, not subject matter per se; ... An unrushed atmosphere is absolutely essential if you are to have the Spirit of the Lord present in your class. ... Don’t try to do too much. ... If we can get one thing across, one idea, one principle, something sterling and significant ... be assured” (Elder Holland, W Leadership Training, 2007).

PONDERING AND REVERENCE INVITE THE SPIRIT 

“The word ponder means to consider, contemplate, reflect upon, or think about. Pondering the scriptures, then, is reverent reflecting on the truths, experiences, and lessons contained in the standard works. The process of pondering takes time and cannot be forced, hurried, or rushed” (David Bednar, “Because We Have Them before Our Eyes,” New Era, Apr 2006, 2).

“Reverence is profound respect and love…As you become more reverent, you will notice a quiet transformation in your life.  The Lord will pour out His Spirit more abundantly on you.  You will be less troubled and confused.  You will be able to receive revelation to help you solve personal and family problems” (“Reverence”, True to the Faith – A Gospel Reference, p. 145)

The Spirit does not get our attention by shouting or shaking us with a heavy hand. Rather it whispers. It caresses so gently that if we are preoccupied we may not feel it at all. ... Occasionally it will press just firmly enough for us to pay heed. But most of the time, if we do not heed the gentle feeling, the Spirit will withdraw and wait until we come seeking and listening and say in our manner and expression, like Samuel of ancient times, “Speak [Lord], for thy servant heareth.”  (1 Sam. 3:10.)  (Boyd K. Packer, “The Candle of the Lord,” Ensign, Jan 1983 )

WE CAN EXPECT A LOT FROM YOUTH, AND THEY NEED DEEP CONVERSION IN THIS DAY AND AGE

“One of the dangers of the times we are passing into is that we might be tempted to lower our expectations for ourselves and for those young people we serve.  As the world darkens, even a partial conversion and a few spiritual experiences may seem more and more remarkable, compared to the world.  We might be tempted to expect less.  The Lord has given another signal, clear and powerful.  It is that we can expect more, not less, of youth.” (Henry B. Eyring, “Raising Expectations,”August 2004)

THE SPIRIT CAN TESTIFY OF ALL TRUTH, NO MATTER THE SOURCE 

“If you can find a truth in heaven, earth or hell, it belongs to our doctrine. We believe it; it is ours; we claim it. ... If the infidel has got truth it belongs to "Mormonism." The truth and sound doctrine possessed by the sectarian world, and they have a great deal, all belong to this Church. As for their morality, many of them are, morally, just as good as we are. All that is good, lovely, and praiseworthy belongs to this Church and Kingdom. "Mormonism" includes all truth. There is no truth but what belongs to the Gospel” (Brigham Young, Teaching: Brigham Young, Chapt. 2: The Gospel Defined”).

PRAY FOR THE TEACHER TO PREPARE AND TEACH BY THE SPIRIT 

“I will talk to God about [the teachers] and tell him how much I desire for him to teach me through them. I am not sure I understand how this works, but I know it works. Last Monday night I was preparing to come here. I felt some impressions of something I was supposed to teach you. They came with more than the normal intellectual force. ... As I received the idea for this talk, I felt it an impression that I was receiving it because of the prayers of one or more of you. ... Perhaps it wasn't so much that you were naming me, but you must have been pleading to be given some help, to be taught something, to be given some assurance. ...  By your prayers you can and will bring down the blessings of heaven, and particularly the gift of the Holy Ghost, which will help your teachers and your leaders” (Henry B. Eyring, “Listen Together,” BYU Fireside, Sept. 4, 1988).


Click here to see quotes about getting students to participate in class. 

2 comments:

seesuerun said...

Thanks for compiling this. This is the second time I am the Education/1st counselor in Relief Society and I keep getting put in as an RS teacher. These quotes are gold! I am printing them out.

Becky Edwards said...

Hello Seesurun!

Thank you for your kind comments. I'm glad the quotes are helpful. I love these quotes too. Such treasures for gospel teachers!

-- Becky