Yesterday I went to a workshop with seven other Sunday School teachers from my church. I was a little surprised that more didn't go, but I guess these things happen.
We were leaving the church at 7:30 am, and as I got a drive with the woman that I help teach in Sunday School, we had to get there earlier. She is one of these people who is never late, and more often than not, much earlier than the time they need to be there for. I didn't mind though. We left for the church when it was still fairly dark, and by the time we pulled away from the parking lot, it was a little brighter. We had to travel to Fredericton, which is about 1 1/2 hours away from here (we went on the church van). Heading up seemed to go by fairly quickly, but coming back seemed to drag on. Thankfully I had brought my crocheting to work on (another prayer shawl I plan on giving to one of the older ladies in my church) so I was able to pass the time without being bored.
So, back to the conference. There were 3 workshops (I think there was one or two the evening before, but we only went for the Saturday ones), two in the morning, a lunch break, and the third in the afternoon. Before things started for the day, a pastor from the Wesleyn (sp) church in my city spoke for about an hour...unfortunately I don't remember what he said.
There were a lot of workshops to choose from, but a lot of them dealt with teens and that isn't my area. I don't think many, if any, were for teaching adults. The majority were for teaching children which was good, but not if you were there specifically to learn something to do with teaching adults.
The first workshop I attended was showing how to do Biblical storytelling. It was awesome. The woman putting on the workshop showed us two ways that you can use this. It is so amazing how this can help you teach a class. She said a lot of teachers will just read (usually word for word) the story and the kids will quickly loose interest. By using 'props' such as a yellowish towel to represent sand, a construction paper cut out of a rock and two houses, and something to symbolize rain, you can demonstrate the parable Jesus tells about how hiding His word in our heart is like the man who builds his house on the rock...you know the one I am referring to.
The other way, was using actions. It's harder to describe, but this is something that can be used to tell a Bible story to kids and adults. For example, (this was a video) the guy showed that you can demonstrate blind Bartemaus (sp) calling out to Jesus to have mercy on him, by simply getting down on your knees, closing your eyes, sort of raising your hands out to Him and saying the line. Like I said, it's hard to explain but if you go here you should find information for the people that do this. Their organization is called NOBS (Network of Biblical Storytelling).
The second workshop I went to was on being an effective teacher. I will try to remember to get my 'worksheet' out that they gave us to help me go over this better. I really enjoyed this one as well as the first one and want to explain it better. Hopefully I'll do that in tomorrow's post.
The third workshop was on discipline. It was ok, but the woman doing it basically went over different ways to discipline, how to deal with some certain situations, gave examples of what she has dealt with in the past, etc. She also was very strong in the rewarding of behaviour, the kind that seems like bribery. You know what I mean, the kind that says "if you get so many points you can buy a cheap toy from the dollar store that will probably break by the time you get it home." While I don't have a problem with rewarding sporadically, such as if you see a child who is normally disruptive being quiet you can use verbal rewards ("good job on being quiet and listening tonight") or maybe give them a piece of candy now and then...something that isn't done on a regular basis, I am not too keen on this whole "collect points to buy/earn something" idea. It is like you are bribing them to change their behaviour or learn a verse rather than them wanting to do it on their own...I don't know, some days that sort of thing I feel is a good idea, but overall I don't really agree with it. If a church uses that method and it works, great. But personally I don't know how effective that really is...anyway, that's just my opinion. Overall though, there wasn't a whole lot that I got out of this last workshop.
My friend Francesca went to one workshop for the youth (one of the areas she teaches in) and came away totally pumped and full of ideas. She got a lot from that one, and hopefully she will get some ideas to be able to implement in the church.
So, I guess the post isn't as exciting as I had hoped it would be (much like my other posts). But at any rate, if you have opportunites to attend workshops for Sunday School, youth groups, kids groups, etc. it is worth it to attend.