From Passive Listening to Active Learning
If our Bible study participants are accustomed to listening passively, a dramatic change in teaching methods could put the learners well beyond their comfort level. What steps can we take to help our classes learn to be (and appreciate being) active learners? In our feature article this month, Rev. Dan Schroeder lays out a 12-week plan for moving the class from passive listening to active learning.
Rev. Dan Schroeder, St. Peter, Modesto, California, has served as the editor of "Teach the Word" since its beginning in 2015. As Dan steps away from his editorial duties, we thank him for his faithful service on behalf of the many who have benefitted from "Teach the Word" under his direction. For our feature article this month, we went back into the archives to find one of Dan’s greatest hits.

They never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah. Acts 5:42
Adult Education: Additum
Pedagogy or Andragogy?

Is there are a difference between how children learn and how adults learn? The debate continues among education scholars. One thing is certain: adults bring to our classrooms more years on this earth and all the life experiences that go with those years. How can we best leverage those experiences in the communication of gospel truths? Theorist Malcolm Knowles (1913–1997) wrote about many of the traits unique to grown-ups that affect how and why they learn. Knowing about those unique traits can give us direction on how best to reach them.

Check out this chart and its corresponding information for a handy summary of Knowles’ distinctions between pedagogy and andragogy. Does the comparison match your experience in teaching children and adults?

Teaching Toolbox
Formative Assessment With Poll Anywhere

Student response systems are one way to foster active engagement and the participation that goes along with it. While there are many online options available that can be embedded into a PowerPoint slide, Poll Everywhere is one of the most user friendly—and when teaching adults, “user friendly” remains an important consideration for when and how to use technology. Remember, many of our adult learners are not at all used to using technology as students in a classroom. They can respond to a question you ask by either texting their answer to your unique Poll Everywhere identifier or by responding via web browser on their phones. Their answers appear on the screen up in front in real time. Look below for a sample “word cloud” question and response. 
Curriculum Connection

An interesting Old Testament prophet that people typically know only a little about is Jonah. The Bible study kit Jonah: A Prophet in Spite of Himself helps your students understand the motives and struggles of the reluctant missionary. Additionally, author Mark Braun presents background material on prophecy.

Teaching Tip

Multi-level classes are hard and every class is multi-level. Students in every class have a range of ability. Structure the course to engage everyone, taking advantage of students’ differences rather than ignoring them. For an explicitly multi-level class, such as martial arts or ESL class with beginning through advanced students, you can start by having students work with others of the same level, and then switch to working with students of other levels for a while. You can even pair up advanced and beginning students for in-class tutoring.
– Dan Spalding from his book “How to Teach Adults”

For further thought…
In what ways are your adult Bible studies multi-level classes?
Are there ways you can subtly pair up beginning Bible students with more advanced learners, without calling out either group as such?
Will simply dividing groups up by tables for group discussion allow you a random mix of beginning/advanced learners in each group?
 Teach the Word is a collaboration of Northwestern Publishing House,
Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, and WELS Discipleship.