Adult Bible Class Myths: Adult Education is All About Education

TeacherMyth # 2. Adult education is all about education.

The fact is that most of our classes are filled with students who’ve been to thousands of classes and know as much about the topic as the teacher. They aren’t really there to learn new material. Rather, they are there —

  • To be reminded of what they already know,
  • To be encouraged to live out what they know,
  • To make friends,
  • To be with friends,
  • To belong,
  • To matter,
  • To share their church with friends,
  • To find out what others think, or
  • To share their ideas.

Now, learning something new can also be very important; it’s just that it doesn’t happen all that often and yet people keep coming back.

Now, this has a radical impact on how you teach. You’d better be friendly. And you need to try to learn the names of your students. They’ll spend the next 13 weeks looking at you and they’ll assume you’re looking at them. They’ll remember your name and you need to try to remember theirs.

And you need to leave some time for discussion, although not necessarily every week. In fact, you need to encourage discussion, as discussion helps break down social barriers. It helps people feel like they belong.

And be sure that people who’ve missed a couple of weeks are missed. Someone needs to call. They want to matter and that means they want to be missed when they’re out.

Just work through the list and make sure that you’ve done something positive to help with each listed need at least every other week.

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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