Wed. Jun 16th, 2021

TEEN DEPARTMENT 12’S THROUGH 14’S ARE WE KEEPING THEM?

BY J.O. AND MARY WALLACE RONALD AND EDNA NATION

 

“We’ve heard much about saving our children and rightly so,” said the mother of three in a recent teacher training seminar in Chicago. “With the children, we have Bible learning activities where they ‘do the lesson,’ then other activities where lesson aims are re-enforced. We are not having problems teaching our children or getting them to the altar. Our problems are with the teens. What can we do about our Junior
High’s? What can we do to keep our teenagers in church? What’s wrong? We’re desperate and must have an answer!” These have been the anguished cries of countless teachers and parents across the country. In an intense soul-searching, as similar cries intensify, a pattern begins to immerge. An attempt is being made to gain a semblance of order from all the chaos, grief, and guilt-tripping on the part of parents and teachers of teens.

First of all, let us take a look into the Junior High classroom. What do we find? What is the learner “doing” about his lesson? Is he interested in the topic at hand? Why or why not’ Is the lesson meeting specific needs in his life? What are the needs of the teen just entering into puberty? This is a special age with a special set of problems. What can the sensitive teacher do about sensitive problems of 12’s and 13’s?

Is the learner “doing the lesson?” The lesson should be relevant and pertinent to the situation at hand. Too often it is a cut-and-dried lesson, lecture-style, which the learner knows already and could recite with almost total recall. Junior Highs have a new and different set of problems which they cannot understand. They come to us for answers, or, at the very least, guidance. They are not favorably impressed by high-
sounding stories, Bible or otherwise, full of platitudes which have no relevancy to their life crises. They are in the midst of some of their most crucial, painful, emotionally-wracked experiences of their hitherto uneventful life and they often receive stories and platitudes! Their aches turn to excruciating pain and still no help comes from some teachers. These teens, our children, are hurting. Their wounds are often bleeding and raw. Where will they turn for an answer to their problems? Often, it is outside the church where they find a listener, a caring person, a sympathetic ear. How tragic! We who care the most should be loving, listening to our teens, guiding them, and pointing them to Jesus Christ who understands and has an answer to all problems.

The teen often attends Sunday school, hoping for help in order to make sense of his chaotic world of confused feelings. Too often, he gets a first-grade solution to a seventh-grade problem. It doesn’t work.

“Will anyone listen to me?” he cries. “Is there anyone here who understands what’s happening to me? Will anybody love me? Why do I have these feelings? Who am I anyhow?” he silently cries. He asks God for
answers, but God often works not? Is the lesson meeting specific needs in his life? What are the needs of the teen just entering into puberty? This is a special age with a special set of problems. What can the
sensitive teacher do about sensitive problems of 12’s and 13’s?

Is the learner “doing the lesson?” The lesson should be relevant and pertinent to the situation at hand. Too often it is a cut-and-dried lesson, lecture-style, which the learner knows already and could recite with almost total recall. Junior Highs have a new and different set of problems which they cannot understand. They come to us for answers, or, at the very least, guidance. They are not favorably impressed by high-
sounding stories, Bible or otherwise, full of platitudes which have no relevancy to their life crises. They are in the midst of some of their most crucial, painful, emotionally-wracked experiences of their hitherto uneventful life and they often receive stories and platitudes! Their aches turn to excruciating pain and still no help comes from some teachers. These teens, our children, are hurting. Their wounds are often bleeding and raw. Where will they turn for an answer to their problems? Often, it is outside the church where they find a listener, a caring person, a sympathetic ear. How tragic! We who care the most should be loving, listening to our teens, guiding them, and pointing them to Jesus Christ who understands and has an answer to all problems.

The teen often attends Sunday school, hoping for help in order to make sense of his chaotic world of confused feelings. Too often, he gets a first-grade solution to a seventh-grade problem. It doesn’t work.

“Will anyone listen to me?” he cries. “Is there anyone here who understands what’s happening to me? Will anybody love me? Why do I have these feelings? Who am I anyhow?” he silently cries. He asks God for
answers, but God often works through teachers. Will your teens find teachers who understand them, recognize their needs, and perceive their “real cries”? Will they find answers in your Sunday school classroom?

The effective teacher “adapts” the material to meet his or her individual classroom needs. Lessons are made applicable to the life of the teen. Is he hurting? Jesus Christ hurt. He was humiliated before His “peers,’ yet He took it and did not say word. Sure, it hurt. The humanity of Jesus hurt. He had feelings which were touched, and He understands the teen’s feelings when no one else does. Teens can identify with Jesus, but they must be led by sensitive, spirit-filled teachers.

Sensitive teachers feel what it’s like to be twelve or thirteen again. They understand the feelings and special problems of their teenagers. Their attitude says to the teenager, “I care. I know you are hurting. Yes, you can talk to me and I’ll listen. You can confide in me and I will not repeat your words to anyone. Trust me! I am trustworthy.”

By giving your learners your full attention, having them know you understand and care, the teen often opens up and shares. Just knowing that a grown-up understands feelings helps Him to better cope with his
feelings. It is amazing what a warm, caring, sensitive teacher can accomplish with a teenager.

How are teenagers different from other learners? All have basic needs which are the same, but teens have a special set of needs. The onset of puberty brings with it problems which sensitive teachers need to understand. The problems of puberty are not unsurmountable, but they leave confused feelings if teachers are not understanding. Teens need teachers who are competent in understanding the answers to these nine
questions:

Questions of Importance to Teens

1. What is happening to me?
2. Does anybody understand?
3. Does anyone care
4. Does anyone love me?
5. Will anyone listen to me?
6. Who Am I, anyhow?
7. What will I do with my life?
8. Who will I marry
9. What can I do for God and His cause?

Teachers and parents who understand teenagers know that teens experience intense emotions. Their mood swings are up and down, high and low, a roller coaster of feelings which leaves them “high” one day and in the “pits” of despair the next. That same teenager is “in love” one day and “out of love” the next. The same swing of high-low is applicable from one year to the next. One year he may seem like the ordinary “nice guy” and the next year he may be irritable, contrary, and disagreeable in every way. The parents and teacher who understands that these mood swings are normal can help the teen “live through” his turbulent years. Somehow, the understanding adult helps to make the emotional “see-saw” trauma more easy to bear for the suffering teen.

Qualifications of the Teacher

A. Have a deep love for God.
1. Dedication
2. Consecration
3. Personal devotion to God and His cause
B. Have a love for teenagers
1. The ability to show love and concern..
2. The ability to express love.
C. Understand the teenager, his developmental tasks, and spiritual needs.
1. Remember how it felt.
2. Empathize.
3. Developmental tasks
a) Help him to know what to expect, Reassure him that his feelings are normal.
b) Remind him that next year will be better.
4. Resolving identity crisis. Helping him answer the crucial, question, “Who am I, really?”
5. Guiding him in making a wise career choice.
6. Keeping him on the Biblical path while he finds his life-mate, that partner who makes his life complete. 7. Guiding him while he finds his rightful position of involvement in the local church.
a) Sunday school trainee or o.p. (observer-participant)
b) Church musician and obligations, whether organist, choir director, or member of orchestra or choir.
D. Be a good listener
1. Be approachable.
2. Be careful about giving advice)
a) Don’t give him cut and dried answers.
b) Allow him to come to his own solutions to problems
3. Lead him to Jesus Christ, the problem-solver.
4. Direct him to his parents or pastor for counseling with difficult problems
5. Don’t betray his confidence. He needs to know he can “count on you” to listen.
E. Use effective Teacher Techniques:.
1. Learn to use all nine verbal skills with ease.
2. Learn to read nonverbal signals..
3. Maintain eye contact with your learners
4. Learn to use the voice of authority.
a) There is no place in the Sunday school for the harsh voice.
b) The voice of authority is always pleasant.
1) Play all the notes of your voice.
2) Use the whisper effectively.
3) Cultivate a pleasant, low, well-modulated voice.
F. Cultivate and foster interaction in the learning process.
Reasons:
1. Involve teens in the learning process.
2. Help him feel at home.
3. Create an atmosphere so that you are approachable and the learner can ask questions.
4. Promote pupil participation.
5. Ideas of teenagers are used in the learning process.
6. Teens are involved in group decisions.
7. Natural leaders immerge and are trained.
8. All are under subjection to the pastor.
9. Clarify all ideas. Summarize. Make sure all interaction clarifications conform to the basic Bible doctrines of the church.
G. Build a wall of faith which is unshakable, unmovable, founded on the Rock, Christ Jesus.
H. Keys to keeping the teen in church.
1. Love him.
2. Understand him and his needs.
3. Listen to him.
4. Keep him involved in church activities.
5. Guide him in solving his developmental tasks.
6. Meet his spiritual needs by leading him to Jesus Christ, the problem-solver.

We can save our children before they reach their turbulent teens. We can also keep our teens in the midst of their storms.

The Classroom

Who can say what makes up the ideal classroom? Does it have four walls? Six walls? Or no walls at all? Perhaps the best learning situation could occur in the shade of the old oak tree in the great out of doors. Do not hem yourself in with the four walls. Allow your learners to experience the wonderful works of nature first hand occasionally. You will be surprised at the wonder and curiosity you will generate in learners by a well planned Bible-learning activity held out of doors.

On the other hand, most teachers and learners are concerned mostly with the physical plant of the structured classroom. So the question arises, “What makes a classroom stimulating?” And “How can I
teach the most meaningful learning experiences with the time I have allotted to me?” The teacher is the key to making the classroom habitable and stimulating. He is the key to setting the atmosphere for learning. A relaxed, well-prepared teacher who loves teenagers will stimulate learners.

However, it takes more than a teacher to make a classroom inviting to the learner. The room should be colorful. The visual stimuli is one of the most effective aids to effective learning. Colors and other stimuli which teach should be used on the walls and bulletin boards. Bulletin boards should re-enforce lessons and quarterly themes. Doctrines of the Bible can be effectively taught through the use of bulletin boards. Bulletin boards which teach should be left up until the learners learn.

And now a few words about the physical plant of the classroom. It should have windows. The classroom should be well ventilated, well-lighted, and should promote a healthy atmosphere. Teachers should work
toward a “safe” classroom environment. Most students flourish in a classroom in which the learner feels accepted, supported, relaxed, and generally unthreatened. Value growth can be observed in this kind of
atmosphere. A climate which promotes feelings of security also promotes learners to think logically and express themselves honestly. The wise teacher uses this atmosphere to teach values which are important in the spiritual development of the teen. Permissiveness is when the student’s need for security is threatened. Neither values nor much of anything else is learned under a permissive atmosphere. Learners must have
freedom to learn and to direct themselves, but too much freedom is more likely to overwhelm the individuals. Remember this advice: Give freedom with limits! The teacher must be in control.

Teaching Techniques

The voice is a marvelous teaching device. An effective teacher learns early to use all the notes of his voice in order to create excitement or suspense. Do not speak on the same note all the time. Learners will go to sleep, and who could blame them? God created in you the ability to train your voice and use it effectively with learners. This is your main tool for discipline. Make your words count. Speak with the voice of authority. Use a well-modulated voice, one which the learners love to hear. One which makes them wonder what you will say next. Use the whisper. See them lean toward you in order that they might hear! Once the teacher learns how to use the voice effectively, there are very few disciplinary problems.

Make good use of the reinforcement schedules. Never allow learners to figure out your pattern of calling on pupils. If this happens, learners tune everything out until their turn. Make sure they know you may expect a response from them at any time. Then make good your promise. Retention will be at its highest with the use of this reinforcement schedule. Also, good discipline will be achieved.

The effective teacher uses sensory perception in his methods of teaching. This simply means that learning experiences are planned which use as many of the senses as possible. For example, during the early age of sense realism, educators believed that knowledge comes through the senses. Thus training based on sense perception, rather than memory, was perpetuated. The Christian educator applies this principle by using colorful visual aids while presenting a lesson. Remember that the eyegate to learning is very important. Hearing the lesson is not enough exposure for adequate retention. Touching, smelling, tasting even experiencing movement as in role-playing, all combine to make an excellent learning situation. Use as many of the senses as possible in your lesson presentation.

Team Teaching

Team teaching is an exciting method of organization. It is defined as an arrangement whereby two or more teachers are ‘jointly responsible for planning, carrying out, and evaluating an educational program.

Team teaching is recommended for teens. Three teachers are usually needed for a classroom and are selected by the pastor and superintendent. These select teachers should demonstrate:

1) leadership training abilities
2) persuasive evangelistic talents
3) a genuine love for young people
4) ability to relate to teenagers
5) ability to firmly control the teenage levels
6) ability to handle issues without causing offense
7) ability to interact with teens and lead stimulating discussions
8) ability to stand firm on Bible doctrines and the belief system of the church and pastor.

One teacher introduces the lesson, another teaches the Bible facts, the third makes application with evangelistic fervor. Practice and planning sessions will help you develop effectiveness toward a common goal.

Interaction For Teens

Communication and interaction are of utmost importance to teens. They need to be heard and to be able to share their feelings. Interacting with the group is an excellent method in which to share. The teens learn by observing that you, the teacher, really understand some of their problems they are experiencing. They begin to feel comfortable about sharing and asking questions. Of course, some of the questions they will harbor until they can approach you alone. At this time, give them your full attention. However, don’t set yourself up as the final authority on all matters. Remember that the parents and the pastor are the ones you should refer the teen to if you come against a difficult problem. Don’t attempt to handle difficult problems all by yourself. Refer the “tough” ones to the pastor for counseling, all the time assuring the teen that as a listener, he can be assured that you will never betray his confidence.

Teacher, remember your role in the interaction session of the group. Your role is an important one–that of guiding the discussion, clarifying ideas, and preventing the group from diverting into tangents. Make sure that all discussions support basic Bible truths and doctrines. Summarize and make supporting statements.

Methods of Interaction

1. Dynamic group discussion
In the democratic method, the natural leader emerges.
Clarify ideas.
Summarize.

2. One-to-One Learning
Separate your learners one-to-one and give them five minutes with a vital subject to discuss. Then spend fifteen to twenty minutes summarizing your findings with the whole group. Clarify ideas and summarize.

3. One-to-Four Learning
Same as the above, except you appoint a chairman and give fifteen minutes for brainstorming in the small group. Then have the chairmen share the ideas with the general session.

Schedule

9:30-9:45 Greeting and informal interaction
9:45-10:00 Prayer Requests
Sharing Time for answered prayer and blessings
10:00-10:20 Teaching Time
Team Teaching and Interaction
10:20-10:30 Interaction, Teacher-guided
Goals are set for the following week.
Make plans for soul-winning; putting the gospel into action.
10:30-10:50 Teaching Time
Team Teaching
10:50-11:00 Interaction and Application
11:00 Dismissal for Morning Worship

Bible-Learning Activities

Discussion
Brainstorming
Question-Answer
Debate: Pro and Con
Panel Discussion
Film: Discussion, reaction
Watching with a Purpose: Motivate with “Why?” questions
Problem Solving
Agree-Disagree
Case Studies
Survey
Research Study
Lecture
Demonstration
Interview
Chalkboard List of Major Questions: Points to be Covered
Maps
Flip Charts
Overhead Projector
Taped Story and Reaction
News Journal Reporter
Log, Journal, Diary
Open End Story

PARENT INTERVIEWS

FAMILY NAME:________________________________________

FATHER:______________________________ MOTHER:__________________

CHILDREN:_____________ __________________ ________________

__________________________ _____________________
_______________

What goals do you have for your teenagers? (spiritual, education, vocational, social)

_______________ _____________ ______________

1 1.
1.
2 2.
2.
3 3.
3..
4. 4.
4.
5. 5.
5.

What activities does your family enjoy?

1. 4.
2. 5.
3. 6.

List some special “family traditions.”

1.
2
3.

Total For Today’s Church

4.
5.

Name three of your teenager’s best friends. What outstanding qualities does your teenager admire in them?

1.
2.
3.

What needs can you see in your teen? What are you currently emphasizing in your training of your teenager?

1. 4.
2. 5.
3. 6.

List some family outings or programs you would like to see implemented in our youth ministry:

1. 6.
2. 7.
3. 8.
4. 9.
5. 10.

Do you have specific prayer requests? List them:

1. 5.
2. 6.
3. 7.
4. 8.

Give your definition of a successful youth ministry:

 

 

 

How do you motivate your teens to achieve?

1. 4.
2. 5.
3. 6.

In your opinion, what are the developmental tasks your teenager faces during the coming year? How can we help him to pass this hurdle?

 

 

 

Summary

“You’re a chip off the old block!” This exclamation made by an eighteenth century English statesman Edmund Burke regarding Prime Minister William Pitt is very true. Like father, like son is truer than most people care to realize.

Teens are indeed made of the same sort of stuff as their parents. Parents cannot expect their teens to be more spiritual than they are willing to be. The same can be said of teachers. Students can be led into spirituality, but they usually are only as spiritual as their teachers. Remember, you are teaching all the time. Your attitudes are showing! Adhere to the following six principles as you teach: 1) Teacher, be earnest, be real; 2) respect your teens; 3) be careful with their confidences; 4) communicate your expressions of care and concern; 5) Live your life for Jesus Christ. Be an example; the role model
Christ expects of you for your teens; and 6) build a wall of faith around your teenagers which is unshakable. Their faith will stand them in good stead during the bad times and the good times.

Teacher Evaluation

1. Poor

2. Below Average

3. Average

4. Good

5. Excellent

1. Appearance, attitude
2. Knows lesson. Makes it his own.
3. Invites and fosters pupil participation and interaction
4. Fosters and uses ideas of learners
5. Reflects accurately the ideas of learners
6. Understands feelings of learners
7. Communicates encouragement
8. More “pupil talk” than “teacher talk”
9. Uses praise as main reinforcement
10. Accomplishes goals for Bible Memo
11. Uses variable interval reinforcement schedule
12. Learners demonstrate application of learning
13. Rebuke is used only sparingly, if at all
14. Students show evidence of good discipline
15. Students demonstrating evidence of strong doctrinal stance and understanding of God.

To find your average, add the score and divide by 15.

How did you rate? Did you have mostly “5’s”? Excellent!

Or were you average? If you had three or more marks in the “1’s” or “2’s,” you need to work on teacher effectiveness.

 

THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY WORD AFLAME PRESS, 1967, PAGES 145-161. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.

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