Sunday School Teacher Training Outline: Lesson Paths, Learning Domains and Learning Aims, Oh My!

Tonight the Power Club Kids Sunday School teaching team had its Fall training session in the second hour of the Leadership Huddle meeting. On the first Sunday of each month during the school year we have an evening Leadership Huddle where everyone involved in any aspect of ministry is encouraged to come and participate in fellowship, learning and strategic planning. The first hour is led by our Senior Pastor and typically involves a variety of items he considers important and timely for the entire group to learn. During The second hour the individual ministry teams break up into separate rooms to address their specific needs. The children’s team went to what I affectionately call the “Bat Cave” and what Pastor Phil calls room 2.

As my team members arrived I asked them to fill out specific information on a 3×5 note card.

  • First and last name
  • Class they teach
  • Favorite Hobby
  • One thing most people would not know about them.
  • Biggest ministry challenge they are currently facing.
  • Personal prayer request.
  • Birthday

As they completed the cards I had my colleagues throw them into a basket for future use in a drawing. Then I let them play with a velcro dartboard while waiting for the others to complete their cards. When they all were finished we put the dartboard away and I asked them to look under their chairs to see if they are sitting in the hot seat. The hot seat had a prize stuck underneath it. After a moment, while some were asking what they were supposed to be looking for, one person yelled out that she found it. It was a gift card to Starbucks. Yes, she was happy. At that point I told the group to be sure to tell others who were not present to come next time so they can have a chance to win next time.

I then had the teachers open their specific teacher guides. In my church we currently use David C. Cook Bible-in-Life Sunday school curriculum. We then looked at the first lesson which they had taught that morning, since this was our first Sunday of Sunday school with the new Fall schedule. We observed the lesson path indicated in the introduction. David C. Cook uses its own verbiage as do all the other publishers, but basically the lesson path follows this outline:

  • Hook- Interest generating activity designed to pique the student’s interest, sparking curiosity for further exploration in the biblical content of the day’s lesson.
  • Book- Multi-facted exploration of the biblical text using carefully crafted age appropriate activities which foster cognitive retention, affective response and psychomotor application.
  • Look- A process of deriving biblically applicable principles from the text with a view toward personal application based on the overall learning aim of the lesson.
  • Took- Specific, measurable and realistic application of the biblical principles which fulfill the learning aim in one or more of the three learning domains- cognitive, affective and psychomotor.

The target of the lesson is the learning aim. It is the big idea you are attempting to communicate through the lesson path. The learning domains help achieve the target specifically.

The learning domains basically can be explained with simplified translation:

  • Cognitive/Know- Information learned in term of factual knowledge.
  • Affective/Feel- Information internalized in terms of response through personal feelings.
  • Psychomotor/Do- Information put into practice through specific, measureable and realistic actions.

At the end of the interactive lecture I quizzed them on their retention of the basic touch points of knowledge, specifically the key elements of the lesson path and the learning domains and how they relate to each other.

Realizing they were approaching information overload I paused to do the drawing. One name was pulled after a bit of humorous theatrics by me and the winner was pleased to learn she won a Bed, Bath and Beyond gift card. Again I reiterated the need to get the word out so people know that there is good reason to be motivated to come to the huddle meetings.

I then spent a few minutes voicing my philosophy of Sunday school’s role in the Power Club Children’s Ministry. I stated that Sunday school is the core of the children’s ministry of Power Club Kids. It is the foundation from which all the other activities, including Sunday morning worship and the mid-week kids club are developed. Those things are important too but for different reasons. Sunday school is central to our ministry objectives. Here are a few reasons why I feel so strongly about this:

  • Consistent weekly teachers in a small group interactive caring context.
  • Greater accountability for students.
  • Greater ability to personalize the teaching/learning experience to the needs of students.
  • More opportunities to know and be known by the students.
  • Opportunities to work with parents on a personal level for the benefit of the students.
  • Age level appropriate material and activities that truly cause learning to happen.

My personal aims for this session were to:

  • Build comraderie.
  • Equip them with knowledge to understand how their teaching material is constructed so that they may more effectively utilize it.
  • Give them a sense of being appreciated.
  • Instill in them a greater sense of passion for their ministry role.
  • Challenge them to identify weaknesses in their own teaching practices and work to strengthen their skills.

Hopefully these aims were achieved. Time will tell. Feel free to use this outline to conduct teacher training in your own church. Let me know how it goes!


Glen Woods


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