Suppose you had many things needing repair, and you called a handyman who only brought a monkey wrench in his toolbox. He could not drive nails, tighten screws, paint, or cut wood. He is very limited in what he can accomplish as a handyman. In somewhat the same way, teachers limit their effectiveness if they limit themselves to one method of teaching.
Nicodemus rightfully called Jesus a teacher. Jesus used many teaching methods. He used verbal methods such as stories (Good Samaritan), illustrations (You are the light of the world), comparisons (Remember Lot’s wife), asking questions (Who do men say that I am?) and answering questions (How can a man be born when he is old?). Also, Jesus used visual methods such as objects (cup clean on the outside but dirty on the inside) and flat visuals (He wrote on the ground). He taught by example that we should follow in His steps. He was not confined to classroom situations but taught in homes, boats, mountains, deserts, weddings, and funeral possessions.
While most churches hear a lot of anointed preaching, sometimes there is much less emphasis on teaching. Do you test the people after you complete a Bible study series? Limited use of variety in teaching can result in decreased attendance, listeners falling asleep or exhibiting a lack of interest in the lessons. When was the last time you involved your listeners by asking them questions, allowing them to ask questions, or having them participate in a discussion? Why not ask one or more to explain an object lesson? Have you tried any student-centered teaching methods such as Bible games, having them retell the story as you show the pictures, or choral reading?
Last but not least does your life underscore or contradict what you teach?
Please watch a video on the teaching methods of Jesus at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ez1y5IbFRg
Teaching with Variety includes chapters on Storytelling, Asking and Answering Questions, Leading a Discussion, Student-Centered Teaching Methods, Teaching with Objects and Evaluating Your Teaching. This book is available from www.doinggood.org or PPH.
Arlo and Jane Moehlenpah have taught Teacher Training in many seminars and for 35 years in our UPCI Bible colleges. Arlo has also taught at three secular colleges. Contact them at 619-852-4979 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like them to do some teacher training in your area.