The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands. Psalm 138:8
Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end. Proverbs 19:20
A primary responsibility of the teacher is the development of new skills and new attitudes in the student. The student enters the learning environment, whether the home, classroom or Sunday school room, as an unfinished project. Years ago, there was a popular little button which proclaimed, “Please be patient, God is not finished with me yet.”
It is a foolish thing to think that any student is a finished product. Conversely, it is a foolish thing for us as instructors to think that we are finished products. We are also to continue growing “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). The training process of children or adults is one that will never be finished until either the trumpet sounds or the Lord calls us home.
We need to teach skills in areas that will make people more effective for the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. This teaching is part of developing a mind that will honor Christ. It is wise to remember how we learned some of these skills, and then seek to replicate the processes by which we were taught.
Someone once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Indeed, we must educate people with the Gospel of Christ. This will truly bring about change in lives. Furthermore, instructors must educate students in skills such as reading critically, thinking with discernment, solving problems, seeking solutions, and finding the answers. These skills will enable them to be used in greater ways as they strive to do the Lord’s will.
Before the instructor can develop a student’s skills, the student must have a right attitude. God’s Word clearly states that a wise man will hear and will increase in learning. The student’s ability to learn is directly tied to his or her heart: attitude determines altitude.
The teacher must work at developing the right attitude in the student. Wrong attitudes are obvious. The instructor must learn to point out a negative attitude and then show the student how he can improve in that particular area. It is sometimes uncomfortable to point out a wrong attitude; however, it is this instruction that can bring about change in the life of the hearer.
“Would Christ be pleased with my attitude?” is one of the most effective questions to bring about change. This mandates either a reversal, a tempering, or a re-evaluation by the student.
One final note: It is so important that the student hears from the one who has a heart for him and for the things of God. Our own example is our greatest lesson.
This article is adapted from 101 Tips for Teaching available from Striving Together Publications.