Teaching in the ERC
Although it may seem intimidating to head ERC workshops, they are not traditional classes to be taught solely by you. The workshops are simply comprised of various activities and assignments that you will facilitate. The assignments given will help participants learn to avoid common job-search or self-employment mistakes, find answers to career questions, determine any educational needs, and plan what to do next to achieve their goals.
In the scriptures, the Lord says: “And I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom. Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you” (D&C 88:77–78). Teaching is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding opportunities you will experience as you serve at the ERC. When teaching, remember that presentations are about people as much as they are about the material you’ve prepared. The following suggestions will help you become a successful teacher and facilitator at the ERC.
8.2 Effective Strategies and Principles of Teaching
Prepare to teach by the Spirit
Seek the guidance of the Spirit as you prepare to teach at the ERC. As part of your preparation, study the article “Gospel Teaching,” by Elder Dallin H. Oaks (Ensign, Nov. 1999, 78–80). Also take time to watch some or all of the February 2007 Worldwide Leadership Training Broadcast. Although these materials do not specifically address ERS workshops, the principles of teaching do apply to your service at the ERC. You should also thoroughly study the lesson material you will be teaching, including the Career Workshop Teacher’s Guide, Self-Employment Workshop Facilitator’s Guide, and other ERS-approved materials.
Seek the guidance of the Spirit as you teach
Don’t hesitate to begin each workshop with a prayer, even if participants are not members of the Church. Pray for the candidates, allowing them to feel of your love, your concern, and your desire for their success. Encourage participants to remain positive and open-minded through the workshop in order to allow the Spirit to teach them.
Get to know your audience
Who are they? What are their concerns? Arrive early and get to know the individuals you’ll be teaching. If possible, find out something interesting about each person, and learn and use first names. Also, find out what they expect of you as the facilitator and teacher.
Create a good learning environment
Arrange the chairs in a U-shape before class members arrive. This will allow and encourage participation and interaction among the participants during assignments and activities. Also greet individuals warmly as they enter the room, making them feel welcome.
Help the class prepare to learn
Part of helping the class prepare to learn involves your own preparation. Pray for the class members and commit to love them before even meeting them, regardless of their level of participation. Your encouragement and sincere love will often give them the courage and motivation they need to participate and learn.
Be excited about the topic
If you are not excited about the principles you’re teaching, you cannot expect your audience to be. Excitement is the energy that lets participants know you believe in the effectiveness of the principles you’re teaching. Enjoy what you’re doing, and your audience will enjoy it too.
Always teach from ERS-approved materials
Workshops, new leader orientations, resource development meetings, and all other presentations given at the ERC should be taught using approved materials. For questions regarding approved materials, please contact your Manager of Field Operations.
Help the participants assume responsibility for learning
The workshops are highly participatory and should follow the 80/20 rule: you should only speak to candidates 20 percent of the time, while candidates should be practicing and applying what they learn for the remaining 80 percent. There should be significant discussion amongst the groups, and as the facilitator, you should ensure the discussions are positive, beneficial, and focused on the principles being taught and learned by the group.
Allow candidates to practice and apply the principles they learn
Because most candidates are not likely to practice the principles they learn on their own, allow sufficient time for practice during the workshops. Remember, application is vital to learning. The more practice time you can offer candidates, the more likely they will be to apply the things they learn to their career, training, or self-employment goals. If candidates aren’t given this valuable practice time, they are cheated out of learning and applying workshop principles.
Don’t use PowerPoint presentations while you teach
PowerPoint presentations are not the best method of teaching ERS principles and should generally be avoided. The focus of workshops and presentations should be the discussion of ERS principles among the group with plenty of participation. PowerPoint presentations do not advocate discussion or group participation.
Testify of the effectiveness of the principles you teach
Bearing testimony of what was taught is a powerful way to end workshops and lessons. Challenge candidates to practice the principles they’ve learned, and promise them the blessings of success as they diligently apply those principles to their search for jobs, training, or self-employment opportunities.
For additional information on effective teaching methods, refer to Orientation Lesson 11, “Teaching Techniques,” and Teaching, No Greater Call: A Resource Guide for Gospel Teaching.