Notes on Teaching Methods
An exchange of e-mails with Lanelle Cobbin (the main author of the "Way to Go" Pathfinder course) inspired Norm Tew to write these notes.
Writing or Doing
Lanelle wrote in part, "I generally feel that there is a lot of writing for little ones - I remember my own daughters being bogged down with it". I personally had problems with a mother who felt her daughter was hurt when she could not write as well as other class members. Certainly for the Busy Bee Class the writing ability is very low and care has to be taken that a child does not feel inferior because of lack of writing ability.
If an "Activity Based Learning" program for Pathfinders has been introduced surely this is just as important for Adventurers.
As Norm Tew was preparing these pages he noticed that even when a requirement says "act out . . ." or "observe . . ." or "visit . . .", a page has been prepared to record what was done. It is a principle of education that re-enforcement is required for good learning. However writing is not the only method of re-enforcement. Doing something also is re-enforcement. Acting out a Bible story, or searching for something in nature is as good as writing down what is learned, probably better.
Learning through "Games"
Here are some principles that would apply to the use of games for learning.
- The children should enjoy the experience.
- They should be developing new skills through the game.
- Group discussion (debriefing) should follow the play.
- Social co-operation should be improved during the play.
- The children should be able to take part without too much dependence of the adult leader.
- The play should not over-excite the children.
- The experience should be purposeful so that the second time round they will have enhanced skills.
Indoor or Outdoor
There are many requirements that call for the class to go out of doors to observe items in nature.
This should not mean however that everything else should be done in the church hall. Even inner city clubs should be able to find a quiet corner of a park where the children can sit on the grass and discuss a Bible story, learn their memory texts, or even act out a Bible Story. It might not be possible to fill in work sheets out in nature, but the benefit of nature can outweigh the need for written work (see above).
Get the children out as much as possible and let them see what God had made for us.
Sabbath or Sunday
The Activity Work books are actually headed "Sabbath Afternoon Activity Workbooks".
Of course most Adventurer meetings are on Sabbath afternoon. But do not neglect the opportunities to go out for a Sunday breakfast, a fun day, or a zoo or farm visit out of Sabbath hours. Get out on a Sunday afternoon and do the "Build & Fly" award. Or take an evening to work on the "Carpenter" or "Cooking Fun" awards.