Effective Lesson Preparation

I would love for you to consider the following questions:

What is your vision for teaching?

What do you hope to accomplish?

What would you love God to do with your lessons?

What can you do to accomplish your vision?

Here are some suggestions.

  • Know your content.
  • Know your audience.
    • Know the student.
    • Know God.
  • Excite & Inspire, don’t just inform.
  • Worship God with your teaching.

Some things to keep in mind

  • Excellence glorifies God. Inspired and perspired excellence glorifies God. We want to pursue excellence in content and communication, excellence in fact and form.
  • Teaching as worship. We highly recommend that all teachers spend time to prepare their lessons. Use prayer, perspiration (hard work), and reflection and reliance on the Holy Spirit to come up with teaching that will not only equip students but be received by God as worship. Let your teaching be a sweet smelling aroma to God. Remember that God can use one lesson you create to transform many lives. I suggest that you:
    • Spend time praying for all your students.
    • Pray through the process of preparing and delivering your lessons.
    • Use technology to make excellent lessons. Beauty matters to God. The look of your videos matter a lot in today’s internet world where beautifully presented information is just a click away. Produce videos that stand out. We can help you even if you’ve never done it before. Anyone can do excellent work if they are willing.
  • Don’t just cover the material. Don’t be content with just covering the material. Anybody can do that. Instead pour your heart into a presentation. Produce something that you will be proud of when it is played before everyone in eternity. Do something you would be happy seeing on worldwide television.
  • Don’t bore students. Make a resolution that you will not only cover the material you need to teach but you will excite and inspire.
  • Excellence is good for everyone involved. It is in the best interest of our teachers and students that we all pursue excellence. For our teachers who are paid per head, it means that: 1) the school will attract more students into your courses allowing you to make more money, 2) it also means that your students will not drop the courses. That means you get to teach more and also earn more. For the students, when we pursue excellence, they get an excellent education for the price they pay.
  • Our students are our customers. They pay a fee for the service we offer them. We owe them our best efforts.
  • We have more than one customer. In fact, we have two customers: 1) the student and 2) God. We exist to serve God with our worship and to serve the students with our training, coaching, and praying. See your teaching as an offering to God. Let’s all strive to give our best offering. Somethings to remember when we teach:
    • It’s not about us. It’s not about how we feel or how we like to teach. It’s about the student. It’s about how they like to learn, what works best for them. God is often glorified when we forget ourselves and devote ourselves to meet the needs of those we are called to serve.
    • The customer is always right. The student is always right. I don’t mean they know more than their teachers. Their answers on the exams won’t always be correct. I mean that as much as possible, we should treat the student as the customer and yield to their preferences. As much as possible we should find ways to please them without dishonoring God.
    • Students pay us, the teachers, and we must truly serve them. In a sense, they are our employers. We must honor them for it.

“I can’t afford to do this”

You may be asking yourself, “Can I afford to do this?” Can I afford to put in the time required to produce excellent lessons both in content and communication, in fact and form? Or you may flat out be throwing in the towel saying, “I can’t afford this.” Here’s the thing: If you want to teach for God’s glory, you can’t afford to not do this. You can’t afford to not offer your best possible teaching. You cannot afford to give God anything but your very best. Think about it. Our work is our worship. As a fellow brother and teacher, I want you to consider this: If you cannot afford to put in the time and effort needed to offer your very best teaching to God now, maybe you are not ready to teach now. Instead of dividing your effort in multiple places and giving less than your best in each one, maybe you should focus on one thing and give all you have there and give your very best sacrifice to God there. You may say, but I have to make ends meet. I need to earn some money to live by. To that the Bible says, “Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.” Prov. 22:29. When you and I stand before kings, we won’t have to worry about money. Is it possible that the reason you and I don’t get to stand before kings is that we divide our efforts and try to do too many things to make ends meet? Perhaps the very thing we are trying to do to make enough money to live on is what is keeping us poor! At Austin Bible Institute, we have decided to offer our best in each lesson. Like Charles Stanley always says, “We will obey God and leave all the consequences to him.” We are confident that if our teachers do their best teaching, they will end up impacting more lives and making more money through us than if they don’t.

 

Suggestions on how to do excellent video lessons.

Here are some suggestions (not requirements) for excellent videos. Please do your best to incorporate as many as possible.

  • Keep them short and sweet. The shorter the better. The length of your videos should not exceed 30 minutes. In fact, 5-10 minutes is ideal. However, 30 minutes is acceptable. Each week’s lessons should add up to about 2 hours of lessons. However, there are tremendous advantages to breaking them up into smaller videos. Many people who use videos to teach have realized that doing short videos is easier for them. Simply take your long lesson and look for good pause points. Continue the lesson in the next video. Instead of recording a 2 hour video, it’s really easy to record shorter ones that add up to that time. It’s good for uploading to YouTube. Students love shorter videos than longer ones. In fact, research has shown that we have short attention spans. Shorter videos are best for learning purposes. Believe me, you would soon love doing shorter videos if you tried it.
  • Give sweet and captivating titles. Give your lessons, even the shorter versions, captivating titles that will draw students.
  • Listen to your own messages and critique yourself. Learn and do the next one better.  Be careful not to sound dull in the microphone.  It is a different experience to teach a class into a video recording device.  Teach as if you are speaking to a large crowd, with proper tone, hand gestures, and emotions.
  • It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Many people can read a textbook and teach a course. The Bible is not a new book. There are even FREE youtube videos on many of the things we teach. How we present material makes a difference. We trust you, that’s why we have accepted you to teach with us. We believe that you are not just anyone. You can do what it takes to present great lessons, not just good ones.
  • Quality Quality Quality. Good quality videos will sell themselves.
  • Excellence, Excellence, Excellence.  God will reward excellent work.
  • About 2 hours per week. Videos lessons should be about 2hrs for each of the eight weeks.
  • Point by Point. Precept by Precept. Wherever possible, present materials in point form. As much as possible, make each point in a captivating and memorable way. That helps students learn your material.
  • Unlisted. When you upload your videos to YouTube, chose the “unlisted” option so that only our students can see them when you embed them.
  • Excellent PowerPoints. We encourage teachers to use PowerPoint (or similar software) whenever possible. It helps students learn the material well when they see main points on the screen while they are also listening.
  • Create an outline. Create an outline of your teaching so that each video has an introduction, body, and conclusion. It helps to make the videos beautiful and enhance learning.
  • Send in the transcript or outline. It will be helpful to students to have this available. This is not required but it will be very helpful.
  • Branding. Branding is using Austin Bible Institute, not college. 
  • Contact Information. Don’t give your contact information in your lessons. Tell students to refer to the course syllabus for your contact information.
  • Don’t rush the preparation. Remember that these videos could be around for many years. You never know who might watch them. Let God help you put out your best effort. People have had breakthroughs because just one person saw something excellent that they did. Do something that you will be proud of in the future. It’s better to discuss with the provost and take time to gradually do great videos than to rush through them and put out work that you will not be proud of in the future.
  • Austin Bible Institute’s Logo. Download it here.
  • Additional Video.  If you are interested, watch this great lesson on how to train the Bible teacher.

 

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