What makes a Bible lesson boring ?
Why would people listen to Jesus for hours without ever getting bored or uninterested?
Engagement is an important aspect of human interaction. It’s hard to pass a message across to a group of people who are uninterested in what you are saying, or you are not interesting enough for them to give you their attention.
It is human nature for people to crave for something interesting and engaging. If students are not engaged in your lessons, it is your responsibility as a teacher to do something about it. It’s probable that you are not doing something right to keep them engaged.
But first, let’s explain what engagement in lessons is all about.
The goal of every bible teacher is to have his/her students share personal experiences and testimonies, ask questions during the lesson, provide answers to questions, search the scriptures, challenge conventional ways of thinking, correct misconceptions and wrong doctrine, and apply Bible principles in the right context and in their own culture or community. This is what engagement is all about.
Jesus is a master teacher because he used different teaching methods to get students engaged throughout His lessons.
You too can do the same.
In this blog post, I am going to share with you 11 ways to get your students fully engaged in your bible study lessons.
Here some factors to consider.
Start with an appropriate icebreaker or attention grabber.
Sometimes, it is called a hook. Your beginning determines your entire lesson. A poor beginning will assuredly flow through into your lesson. Therefore, work out your beginning carefully.
An icebreaker could be a story, a question, a quote or an interesting analogy related to what you are going to teach.
An icebreaker wets the appetite of your students as they get ready to go deep into the core of your lesson.
It prepares them mentally and psychologically to receive the lesson right from the start of your introduction all the way to the conclusion. If you begin a lesson poorly, it’d be hard to get them involved throughout the lesson.
Avoid being judgmental.
There is a difference between rebuke and being unnecessarily judgmental. Students can quickly sense when your lesson descends into a rabbit hole of blame, bias and negative critics.
Such lessons do not convict hearts. They rather deter students from attending your subsequent lessons. Students under such conditions are bored and uninterested. Stay away from it.
Your body language matters
Appearing unprepared for a lesson has an enormous impact on the behavior of your students.
When you constantly refer to your notes, slurs your words, or act doubtfully when teaching, it automatically signals to your students that you were unprepared for the lesson.
This alone can transmit negative energy to the entire class and cause students not to be engaged in the lesson.
You are talking too much
In active learning, you need to guide the learners to take responsibility of their learning. Ask the students to search the scriptures, discuss in pairs or groups, or interact through questions and answers.
Talking continuously for hours bores the students. Your job is not to narrate Bible principles throughout the lesson as the sole master of the class.
Look for ways to incorporate activities that will keep your students active throughout the lesson.
Call students by their names.
Names are important in any form of teaching. It signals to students you care about them, and you trust in their ability to provide the right answers to your questions.
When you call students by their names, they stay alert and take part in your lesson. However, you need to be nice about name-calling because it can also lead to an adverse effect, especially if your goal is to embarrass someone who is not taking part in class.
Be nice and polite in name-calling as you encourage learners to think through a question or an observation.
Plan to ask a lot of strategic questions.
Questions are a key to a Christ-centered model of teaching and learning. Jesus asked questions to clarify misconceptions, to challenge conventional ways of thinking, to challenge wrong values, and to express deep disappointment. He used questions to drive a point home. They were not empty and vain questions. They were purposeful.
The problem with most of our questions today is that they are too difficult, too tricky or too simple. They don’t have a piercing purpose.
Good questions have a purpose. They should be intended to build the student—without which they shouldn’t be asked.
A good question should cause students to reflect critically, to use their other senses, to drill their retentive memory and to help them consider other perspectives.
There are three categories of questions every teacher should ask in order to have a balanced lesson.
- Observation questions: These are questions you ask students to ensure that they’ve understood the Bible passage under study. For example:
- List the sins mentions in Joshua 4…
- Relate the story of the prodigal son.
- Who was this person referring to when he said…
- Interpretation and analysis questions: These are questions intended to test the bible knowledge and doctrine of the learners.
- Compare this verse with this….other verse…
- Suggest the implication of this statement in this verse……
- Where else is this concept mentioned in scripture?
- Application questions: These are questions that points directly to the realities in which your students are experiencing: What they do, what you expect them to do, what is happening in their community, what is happening in the church and what changes could be made to change situations for good.
- How are you showing the light of God in your life in the community?
- What can the church do as a body to improve on……..
- Why is it difficult for some believers to….
When preparing a lesson, plan to ask these three categories of questions. It makes your lesson balanced.
Tell stories and share testimonies
Jesus was a master storyteller. Throughout Scriptures, he taught his disciples using many parables. You too can do the same. If you can inundate your lessons with stories, do it without hesitating. Nothings keeps a class engaged than effective story telling.
It is also important to encourage learners to share their life experiences and testimonies to the entire class. These are elements of a lesson that causes students to lean forward to listen, keeping them engaged.
When people identify themselves with a particular story or testimony, it uplifts their spirit to take part more in the lesson. Stories and testimonies add truth, practicality and enthusiasm to a lesson. Never ignore it in your lessons.
If you are the one telling the stories, stay away from stories common to everyone. Tell fresh true life stories and testimonies. Also, encourage your learners to tell real-life stories and testimonies about themselves.
Use visual aids
People love illustrations and visuals. Jesus in his teachings used visual aids. In one instance, when challenged whether to pay taxes, He began the lesson by asking to see a sample coin (Mathew 22:15-22).
In another instant Jesus asked for a child to be brought to illustrate to us how to be childlike in our faith.
If you can bring along objects or visual aids to your lesson, do so without hesitation. It adds extra energy to your lesson.
Leverage on technology.
You could share an image or a link to a YouTube video on WhatsApp for students to watch and make comments in the course of the lesson. Technology enhances engagement in a lesson. Make good use of technology in your lessons. That’s the world in which we live.
Start on time and end on time
When you drag a lesson beyond the expected time, no matter how interesting your lesson is, students will soon get bored. The attention span of humans has greatly reduced in recent times. So learn how to drive a point home quickly and stick to the essentials as you deliver your lesson. Nothing kills engagement faster than lengthy lessons.
Encourage group work and pair activities.
Although collaborative teaching is a modern teaching method that was not emphasized as one of the Gospel teaching methods of Jesus Christ, it is an effective teaching method that promotes engagement in students.
Students need to learn from their bench mates, especially when they share ideas from their own perspective without relying on the views of the teacher.
You could pair students to discuss a view point or search the scriptures together and report their findings. These are active forms of learning that spontaneously keep students engaged in a lesson.
Stay local or in context with your student’s culture
Often, we teach Bible principles to students as though they were 1st century students living in the times of Abraham to Moses to Jesus, and to Apostle Paul.
Jesus taught his lessons in the context that was familiar to his audience. For instance, most of his parables and analogies pointed to farming, slaves and masters, vineyard, kingdoms, tax collectors and so on.
His narratives made concrete connections with the life experiences of his learners.
Likewise, as a 21st century teacher, relate experiences of social media, COVID-19, flat screen television, computers, Bitcoin, etc. Talk about what is happening in your community and what your learners can easily relate to.
Bible principles have not changed and will never change. But the times and cultures change. So teach in the season’s context and the culture. Teaching out of context makes it difficult for students to relate with the principle you wish to pass across.
As teachers, we all crave to have engaging lessons. Jesus is our model. if we apply the teaching secrets of Jesus Christ in our lessons, we’ll get students fully involved on our lessons.
If you, or your team have any difficulty in delivering engaging lessons, do not hesitate to contact me for assistance via +237 68 55 79 446, or through mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leave a comment below if you learned from the post.
Go teach like Christ