Five Things With a Mission Pastor
This month we continue our series of articles entitled “Five Things.” Each month, we interview a practitioner of Christian adult education to learn about their educational philosophy, books they’ve read, advice they’d give to other educators, and their perspectives on teaching the Word. This month features Pastor Mike Quandt, who serves Redemption Lutheran Church in St. George, Utah.

Pastor Mike Quandt served for six years as professor of Education at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, during which time he completed advanced study in Education at Concordia-Wisconsin. His time in Mequon was sandwiched by parish calls in the great state of UtahSalt Lake City first and St. George since 2014. Mike and his wife Mary have three children.

They never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah. Acts 5:42
Adult Education: Additum
Assessment in the Adult Learning Classroom

Pastor Quandt spoke about the importance of assessment at the end of a Bible study. Maybe we fear being redundant or maybe we just plain run out of time. Maybe we don’t want to risk putting grown-ups on the spot in any way. Whatever the reason, the important “tie it all together” activity often gets shortchanged in our classes.
The fact is, there usually aren’t grades to give out in adult classes, so we might ask why assessment is so important for grown-ups. Checking for understanding . . .
1)   Allows the educator to discover whether or not we’ve achieved our learning goals for the learning activity.
2)   Allows the learner to identify and express what they’ve learned, thereby verifying for them that their time in class is time well spent. (“I learned something!”)
Here’s an article that introduces several broader categories for doing classroom assessment. Depending on the context of your classroom, this information could work for either formative or summative assessment.

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Teaching Toolbox
Check for Understanding

Take a look at the infographic above for several specific ways to check for understanding with your adult learners.

Curriculum Connection

Finding time to stay connected in the Word as a family can be challenging. 5-Minute Bible Studies: For Families is designed with busy families in mind. This second book of the 5-Minute Bible Studies series offers three short messages a week for a full year. Whether everyone has time only in the mornings or you finally see each other at dinner, this book will help you face the week’s challenges with reminders of God’s love.

Teaching Tip
An Authoritative Ally: Credibility and Authenticity

In students’ eyes an important component of a successful learning is regarding the teacher as both an authority and an ally. As an authority, students want to know that their teachers have something useful and important to offer and that they know their stuff. As an ally, students want to know that their teachers are genuinely concerned with helping them learn and that classroom activities, grading rubrics, and homework assignments are all designed with that in mind . . . all of which is to say they want to feel that you're dealing with them honestly in an adult way.
– Stephen Brookfield from his book “The Skillful Teacher”

For further thought…
Many times, the pastor as Bible class leader has a built-in authority, something that typically grows in proportion to time spent at a given call. The evangelical encouragement is probably worth mentioning that while experience can establish authority, it shouldn’t be the only thing that establishes authority. The authority that comes from prayer and time spent in the Word, from dedicated preparation and high-level mastery of the content, goes a long way toward establishing continued credibility.
Do you have any classroom habits that might undermine your goal to be an ally to your adult learners? (For example, could good-natured “back and forth” that you have with one learner be out of place with another more sensitive student?) 
What are some things that you can do to help your learners see you as an authentic ally in learning? (For example, transparency regarding problems that you wrestled with in preparing the lesson can reassure them that you are not only the teacher but also a student who’s learning with them.) 
 Teach the Word is a collaboration of Northwestern Publishing House,
Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, and WELS Discipleship.