TEACHING DEEP OR COMPLEX MATERIAL
Someone said that the Bible is shallow enough for small children to splash around in with no fear of drowning, yet deep enough for theologians to dive into without ever completely fathoming its depths. Many youth are ready for the deep end of the theological pool, but have never been allowed in. Yet it�s only here that some of their deepest needs will ever be satisfied. How can we introduce deep or complex material, without drowning them in the process? Here are some ideas:
- Master the material yourself before trying to teach it. (I had to go back to my college biology text to better grasp the intricacies of the cell.)
- Show sincere excitement about the material. It will take effort on their part as well as yours to grasp certain truths. Convince them it is well worth their effort.
- Don�t use specialized, unfamiliar words if a well-known word will do.
- Restate in different words.
- Often, illustrations provide the best explanations. Although some youth respond well to bare facts most respond better to stories.
- If it takes time to make a point, and they need to follow the entire train of thought, regularly reclaim their attention with phrases like, "stay with me now," "this will all tie together in a few minutes," "now catch this."
- Be alert for puzzled looks. Ask occasionally if they are following.
- Don�t get in a rush.
- Ask questions to see if they are following.
10. >Generate an atmosphere where no question is a stupid question. Often youth will ask a question that you just specifically answered two sentences ago. Resist leading the rest of the group in a hearty laugh. Patiently put it in a slightly different way, preserving his ego, and leaving the door open for other "stupid" questions that nevertheless need to be asked.