Make Your Lessons Memorable – Part 2

A Jewish father was expected to teach his children in ways that brought Scripture to bear on everyday life.  He was to do this over and over throughout his children’s time in his home.  You should do the same.  When you present your lesson, include one or two of the following teaching aids.  These will help to keep student’s attention and help them to remember the concepts you teach.

Warm Affection

“Affections are the more vigorous and practical exercises of the will and inclination of the will and the soul.”—Jonathan Edwards

Affections are the emotions that move us to act.  Affections can be good or bad.  They can move us to sin or to act righteously.  If we submit them to truths of God’s Word, they can be a help we can utilize in teaching. 

The greatest preachers have understood this element.  It is not manipulation; rather, it is allowing the truths of the Scripture to influence how we feel.  There is an emotional element to excellent teaching. Sometimes we call it “passion.” Consider these command words found in Scripture: love, rejoice, trust, and fear. These all have an emotional element.  

We will yell and scream at a ball game that has little eternal influence, but we routinely present our Bible lessons with almost no emotion.  When part of a story in Scripture is sad, tell it that way.  When a character in Scripture speaks, think about the emotion that he is speaking with and communicate it.  The book of Psalms is filled with emotionally charged language.  When you speak of heaven or of the goodness of God, it should be with tremendous joy.  When you speak of hell or of God’s wrath, do so with deep concern, gravity, and sadness.  Use the emotions that correspond to the truths you are presenting.

Animated Action

Learning is a spiritual, cognitive, and physiological process.  Studies show that people retain more information if a body movement is associated with it.  When our brains are active and our blood is flowing, we learn better. This is especially true for children.  This means that we need to utilize action in our teaching.  We should be active in our movements and should ask the students to be active as they listen to the lessons. 

Periodically have students sit up straight, take a deep breath, or stretch their arms.  This gets their blood flowing and helps them to pay attention.  Use hand motions, games, or other controlled movements during the lesson to help the students remember what they are learning. 

However, keep the movements minimal and controlled.  It does not take much to get a student overly wound up.  A common misconception is that students need to “get their wiggles out.”  Rarely can a teacher get children really active, to “get their wiggles out,” and then be able to settle them down to listen to the lesson. Use activity, but use it carefully.

Children can learn truth, be active, and have fun.  Make activity intentional.  Keep it minimal and controlled.

Magnetic Attention

You probably have heard the saying “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”  That may be true—but you can salt his oats!  You can create a thirst in your students, an attraction to what the Word of God has to say. There are several ways you can do this.

  1. Be enthusiastic.  Act as though, and believe, that the day’s lesson is the most important lesson the students ever have heard.  Next week, do the same thing.
  2. Be God-infatuated.  Let your love for His Word and His character permeate your lesson. 
  3. Vary the tone and intensity of your speech. 
  4. Be sincere about what you are teaching.  We all have read articles or watched documentaries about topics we don’t really care about.  But if the writer or speaker was enthusiastic, we often read or listened anyway.

Incorporating these tips into your teaching should help you make your lessons something kids will remember!

This post is excerpted from the teacher training material published by Generations of Grace as part of their line of Sunday School curriculum.  © 2006


Trey Garner
Trey Garner is the Pastor of Children's Ministries at Faith Church. He has been married to his wife Deb since 2001. They have two children named Noah and Lauren. Originally from Texas, Trey appreciates barnwood, armadillos, and Blue Bell Ice Cream.