Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Effects of Visual Aids

The Effects of Visual Aids

How often do you stop and take a good look at your classroom? Believe me, your learners are looking it over, even while you are teaching. I still find myself looking over classrooms in churches where we conduct workshops and it is interesting what you can find. Yogi Berra was right when he said, “You can see a lot just by looking”. Try it this week. You'll see what I am talking about.

In our Teaching a Bible Lesson workshops, we stress the importance of an effective classroom environment....something inviting to visitors and regular class members alike. Having someone at the door to greet others as they enter is a tremendous help to the teacher. This also helps to give a visual presence of your class as others pass by. Someone may be intrigued to try the class simply because they see a friendly face at your door.

One thing we like to do when we take our workshops on the road is to decorate a room with caution tape....you know the kind. The kind that is often seen at construction sites. It really gets the attention of folks as they pass by. The first time we did our Blueprint of a Leader workshop at our home church, we had folks lean their heads in very carefully just to catch a peek at what we were doing. We had hardhats, a hammer, power tools and an actual blueprint displayed for visual effect. We overheard some folks before they even got to the room making statements like, “We know who's in that room....Micah and James!” That was a tremendous compliment. The same should be said of your teaching style. People should be able to identify your room by the environment you create.

Not only is it important to have visual aids to draw folks in, but you had better have some planned to keep them in as well. You can't expect to do one creative lesson a year and keep a packed class. It just isn't going to happen. You don't have to do anything creative each week either. You just need to develop a pattern where folks expect something unique and different every few weeks or so.

Not only is there a need to have visibility from the hallway to entice folks to come in and see what's going on; but, there is also a need to use visuals as you present the lesson to the learners. In our Teaching A Bible Lesson workshops, we encourage our learners to use common household objects to illustrate major points of the lesson material. For instance, you can use a common serving tray to illustrate “acts of service”. You can use a bottle of laundry detergent to discuss Peter's concern over unclean things. I pasted pictures of various prepared foods to paper plates one Thanksgiving to illustrate a time of fellowship and thanksgiving. I've used a pitcher, bowl and towel to illustrate Jesus' act of service to the disciples as He washed their feet. I believe you get the general idea.

Role-playing is a great visual aid as well. One of the earlier lessons I taught in the Discovery Class involved Scripture about Moses and the Tent of Meeting. As I studied and saw that Moses had access to God each day in such a unique manner, I decided to set up a press conference. After all, this was very newsworthy material, so I developed a Script which called for about six network representatives to interview Moses about this “Tent”. As I asked for volunteers, I had one man comment that he didn't want to represent any of the “liberal” networks. A simple act of asking for volunteers enabled me to understand where he stood morally and ethically.

Newspapers or news pages from various Internet news sites can be very effective visuals when presenting a Bible lesson. Many times, we can find parallels between news articles and the Bible itself. Anytime we can use a current event to point out the truth of Scripture, we have the potential to impact our learners in a greater way. The news has an affect on us all.

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