In preparing for the lesson, there is one further point, and that is this, the teacher must now, having determined his aim from the needs of the class and from the immediate situation; having studied the text itself which bears upon that need; having gathered materials to help him in the presentation of that particular lesson, have a lesson plan. “Well,” you say, “I know what you mean. He is going to have his lesson down, point No. 1, point No. 2, point No. 3.” No, that’s not what I mean. That’s only a very small portion of it. He is going to be involved with those boys and girls in that class for, let us say, thirty-five or forty minutes. He should have a basic plan in mind as to how he is going to conduct that class, always, however, being fluent enough under the movement of the Spirit of God to change that direction should the Lord open that possibility during the class. Sometimes it has been suggested a question becomes the very means of pouring in spiritual truth that is never forgotten at a moment of great and particular and personal need. This is the best teaching: teaching directly to an immediate need.
But generally speaking, the teacher has a plan of action. What method is he going to use for lesson presentation? “Well,” you say, “lecture, of course. That’s the only method there is.” Oh, no! Actually, the lecture method is best only for young adults or adults. I’d hate to have a class conducted in the Primary Department with the lecture method all the time. They’re just not prepared for that method in the Primary Department, or even in the Junior Department, generally speaking. There are all kinds of different methods. There is discussion with the class, a question and answer type of presentation. Then there is the visual presentation. By the way, don’t get into a rut, any rut, and say, “Well, visual aids have come along. My problems are solved.” Visual aids are only a means to an end. Don’t use visual aids, flannelgraph, slides, or whatever it may be, week after week. These are aids to help you. They are not the end that you are aiming for.
And so there are many multiplied means of approach to teaching a lesson. But before there is going to be any teaching, we must make contact. And so the teacher must have immediately in mind how he is going to make contact with the class at the beginning. Because if you don’t make contact, you will never maintain it. And so the teacher must have the approach into the lesson as he makes contact with the class and then the maintaining of that contact. He lays out before himself, as God directs, a specific plan for the class for that particular day.
Finally, of course, in his class he comes down to the place where there is going to be some pupil response. Maybe it runs through the class. How does he know he has taught anything? “Well,” you say, “if he had his message well in hand and presented very nicely, of course he taught something.” No, he didn’t, not necessarily. Teaching involves not a one-way process. Not merely a teacher knowing his material and giving it out. It involves the grasp of that which the teacher presents by the pupil, and more than that, it involves the application of that material which has been grasped into the related areas of the pupils’ lives. Memory work, for example. How often we are satisfied when little Johnny can stand up and repeat back to us Romans 6:23 or whatever it may be. But does he know what wages are? Does he know what eternal life is? Does he understand the verse? Does he understand at all that which he has learned? You would be surprised at those who might learn perfectly the letter of that which they sit down to learn, but don’t understand at all the content of that which has been presented to them.
Our teaching responsibility involves the imparting of divine truth, as has been suggested, and reviewing again and again and again. It involves getting a response to see what has been learned and going over the ground again in order that in due time the pupil grasps and begins making application in his life in those areas in which we have been teaching. This, as you can see, means much preparation and the beginning of that preparation — I want to emphasize before I sit down — is to understand the need of those whom I am teaching.
Someone has well said, “Think it over. You can never solve a problem until you know what the problem is.”