Wednesday, February 24, 2010

When the teacher is happy, the children respond

Tacoma-Pierce County, WA (A) has more than a few IPG cycles under its belt, but the learning never stops.  Here are “just a few” insights gained about assessing a seeker’s receptivity, teaching teams, and children’s classes.  Want to know how sharing crayons contributes to building a new civilization or the importance of being happy?  Then read on!
Gauging Receptivity
We are learning to optimize our teaching by discerning the level of the seeker's interest or receptivity.  How to gauge receptivity?  The wisdom comes from practice, practice, practice, and the action of experience is the teacher. . . .

If uncertain of a person’s level of interest, use qualifying questions:  "Are you sure you would like me to come back?" Voice tone must convey sincerity in the commitment to return.
If there is immediate attraction, stay with that household.  Involve them in core activity as soon as possible and offer to return in the next few days.  Get phone numbers; emails, etc.  Ask questions such as “What is a good day for me to return?  Time?”  Assure the seeker that you will return!
Teaching Teams
It was noted that the understanding of teaching teams has increased during this cycle; skill levels for sharing Anna’s conversation and inviting seekers to core activities is now understood in the context of raising up spiritual communities.  This was the first cycle using this approach.  Several comments from individuals involved in the collective teaching effort expressed that this approach of talking about spiritual communities made things easier and a spiritual dialogue occurred naturally.
Two teaching teams, one each for two receptive neighborhoods.  The area teaching committee secretary has been encouraged to be in the field to facilitate these teams.  They also convene regular meetings with each team to plan next steps.  Such communication is strengthening the unity of these teaching teams.
Children's Classes
Connecting with parents is vital to sustaining children's attendance and success.  It is important to 1) share with them after each class their child’s progress and 2) extend the invitation to observe the class AND receive training to teach it.
Building spiritual community can begin with a children's class.  It takes perseverance to establish a core group of children.  Some children come but their parents have pulled them out.  Others have begged their parents to attend, and after the class the parents commented, "We want whatever will make our child a good person."  It takes times to establish but we are witnessing how children's classes can become centers of attraction.
The purpose of the children's classes is to create spiritual susceptibilities in the children.  The more closely our teaching efforts are aligned with the training in Book 3, the more effective the classes are.  Lining children up to prepare them for class really is an effective tool!  The children are better prepared for devotions.
A new neighborhood children's class has been started.  It has been observed that when the teacher is happy, the children respond with a bright willingness to learn.  Taking turns asking for crayons builds character in patience and manners:  accepting what they have is a foundation for justice, asking for what they need builds confidence.

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