Increasing the Clarity of your Teaching

By Scott Knecht Details matter. Sometimes in lesson preparation I think of large themes and big things to do in class. But if I forget the details I lose some of the power that the lesson could have. For example, there are some words that pop up frequently that beg for definition. I happen to think that it is not a good idea to ask students for word definitions because almost always they will be wrong, either completely, or miss the mark by enough that what they say is not very useful. If they really knew the words there would not be a need to define them. I prefer definitions to be teacher directed, not student led. Here are a couple of examples of common scriptural words that, if defined properly, have the ability to really deepen our understanding.

The word ‘steadfast’ comes to mind. When I’ve asked students to define the word, what I usually get is something like “hanging in there when it gets tough”. That is sort of it, but if you break the word in half you get a much better feel for it. “Stead” means ‘place’ as in, “I’ll do that instead of you” (in your place). “Fast” comes from the same word as ‘fastener’ and means to lock into place. So ‘steadfast’ means to be locked into your place and not capable of moving. Think of nuts and bolts, staples, glue guns, nails, things like that. If I am steadfast then I’m not moving, no matter what is going on around me. That is why Moroni in his first chapter, verse 3 says, “And I Moroni will not deny the Christ.” You could read that as a cocky statement, or you could see it as an expression of a man who is steadfast in the right place. When Read More

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