Sunday school: Teach live or watch the DVD?

ClassroomOur resources have been creatively used in a wide variety of settings ranging from self-studies to camps and small small groups. Here is one lady’s email to us with a question regarding the use of The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus in Sunday school.

Hello John,

We have been invited by our pastor to lead The Stranger study during the Sunday school hour. I know that you’ve mentioned that the Sunday school time period is challenging because of time restrictions (only one hour at a time) and other distractions.

We’ve ordered books and the Worldview Rethink kit, including both the Basic and Intermediate ToolBoxes. I recently went through the course with a wife of one of the men that my husband supervises. Kirsten* cried when she realized Jesus died to pay her sin debt. Hallelujah! I found the interactive DVD to be an immense help. Thank you for developing it.

Because of the one hour time slot, I’m writing to ask if you would recommend using The Stranger VideoBook, rather than reading the book and using the interactive DVD in a Sunday school setting.

Love to all of the GoodSeed Family,

Mabel*

And here was John’s reply:

Hi Mabel,

So good to hear from you and to hear how the Lord has been using your lives.

If I were in your shoes, I would use the interactive edition of The Stranger in Sunday school. If any student missed a class, you can then assign the relevant sections of the VideoBook for them to watch and catch up. (They would have the option of either watching online or using the DVDs. I think that it might be more likely for the physical DVD to be viewed.) There is something about a live teaching experience that is engaging; I don’t think you want to lose that. If the students only come to watch a DVD before returning home, they are more likely to skip the class, thinking that they will watch it on their own time. (From experience, we know many lack the personal disciple to watch it on their own). Your presence in the classroom provides the necessary learning discipline that many do not otherwise have. Involving the students in reading, highlighting and interacting is much more hands-on and therefore interesting.

The visual aids will also help in this process. There is something about visual aids that capture a student’s attention. Seeing (and touching) the visual aids helps many students to understand the teaching points. Visual aids also help during review. You can hand a student one of the visual aids and ask him or her to recount the teaching point associated with it. When a student is able to explain that point, you know he or she has understood it.

One more thing: it’s important in a Sunday school setting to have reviews. Because you only have a short time each week, the students may miss key points. Having review sessions allows all students to catch up. It helps if you get the students to do the reviews. Get the class to go over what has been taught. This will reveal to you how well they have been tracking and allows you to correct any misunderstanding along the way.

Trust this helps.

Every blessing,

John

(*Names changed as per GoodSeed policy.)

Author: Amos Kwok

Curriculum development manager at the international office.