Though adequate spiritual and mental preparation is essential to the teacher, proper presentation of the teaching material is also necessary if the lesson that has been prepared is to be impressed upon the heart of the pupil. A few hints as to the best means of securing this end may be useful.3
First. There should be a brief opening prayer as the class gathers around the teacher. Here is the opportunity to take them reverently into God’s presence and make them realize how entirely dependent their teacher is upon God. This will provide an opportunity to remember any sick one, or absent members, or sickness and trouble in the homes represented in the class.
Second. The lesson should be read FROM THE BIBLE, verse by verse. The pupils should be encouraged to bring their Bibles. In some Sunday Schools there is a growing tendency to read the lesson from specially prepared sheets and a Bible is a rare sight. The portion to be read should not be too long, but sufficient to cover the lesson to be taught.
Third. The Golden Text or Memory Verse should be repeated and points given for the correct recitation.
Fourth. The previous Sunday’s lesson should be briefly reviewed by a few well chosen questions. This will reveal how much or how little they have profited from what they heard, and will help the teacher to discover and correct any wrong impressions that have been formed. At the same time it will act as a check upon the teacher and help him to strengthen the weak points in his method of teaching.
Fifth. The home assignment should now be called for and commended whenever possible. It may have been some reading or some written work. There is nothing quite so disappointing to a young person who has done the assignment asked for, and have no notice taken of it.
Sixth. Introduce the lesson in a way best calculated to arouse their attention and sustain their interest. There are many ways of doing this: (1) The relation of this lesson to that of the previous week may be noted. (2) Sometimes a question to the class will stimulate thought and awaken interest. (3) A story that illustrates the theme of the lesson. (4) The Golden Text may furnish you with an adequate introduction. The method should be varied so as not to become monotonous.
Seventh. Begin with the outline and proceed in an orderly manner emphasizing each division, and making each point clear by some question or illustration. Keep your finger on the pulse of the class, and give your attention to any pupil that seems uninterested. Perhaps a question will stir him, or some timely anecdote.
Eighth. Proceed from what they do know and from that, teach them what they do not know. Many a good lesson has been lost upon a class because of failure to observe this fundamental principle of teaching. Judicious questioning will make clear the extent of their knowledge. Make haste slowly, and be sure they follow you in each step of the lesson as you proceed.
Ninth. The use of the blackboard, objects and pictures will often convey to their minds, clearer and quicker than anything else, the point you wish to impress upon them. It is well known that we learn far more through the eye than the ear, though both are essential.
Tenth. Review the outline of the lesson and drive home afresh the central thought. Don’t be afraid to repeat. Emphasis is obtained by repetition.
Eleventh. Water the good seed sown by earnest, private prayer, mentioning the name and need of each pupil before the throne of grace. Have their best interests continually upon your heart. Give yourself to them and they, in turn, will reciprocate your affection and take you into their confidence. Ever keep the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ before them, for eternal life consists in knowing Him (John 17:3). Beware, however, of undue pressure upon a pupil that shall result in an empty profession of Christ. Only the Spirit of God can accomplish the work of regeneration in the soul of a person. How much, then, the teacher needs to be in that spiritual condition that shall make possible the definite guidance of the Holy Spirit as he seeks to win his pupils for Christ, and lead them on to live lives that shall glorify their Lord and Savior!
3 See also “The Teacher As A Student” by the same author.