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This “S word” will make you a better teacher [the word is “specific”]

So I sit down to watch a YouTube video on how to be a good Sunday School teacher. The speaker is sitting behind a desk and laptop looking into the camera… (I won’t identify this mysterious person further to protect the innocent and well-meaning)

As the video plays, they begin talking about how to become a better teacher by “connecting with your kids”. Continuing on they say,  “You need to have compelling content.” All these alliterated words, “compelling” and “connect”, they sound good, but here’s the problem:

They were all so generic. In an attempt to improve my teaching, I suddenly realize that what I’m watching is part of the problem.

In the video, the speaker was trying so hard to say something meaningful. “You need to connect with your audience!”

The problem with the information is that it was too general. You've got to be specific sparky!

But they weren’t actually saying anything at all. Now of course I understand that you have to connect with your audience in order to make an impact and be a great, teacher. I get that. But until you explain what it means to actually “connect with kids”, until you give me the nuts and bolts of HOW to connect with my audience, you haven’t helped me understand what you mean.

This video about teaching, wasn’t doing a good job of…teaching!

I understand that I need to “connect”…I get that. But I have no idea what that actually means. I don’t know that I could immediately come up with 5 great ways to connect with my audience. (hey! I just thought of a new blog post! )

If, after the video, I were to attempt to connect with my audience, I would be just as incapable as before. The video did not teach me HOW to connect.

(I think I’ve used the word ‘connect’ like 35 times now)

Part of being a great teacher is taking the information you’re given and breaking it all the way down till it’s super-duper-practical. Go from using generic phrases like “you need to connect with your audience” to saying “…in order to connect with your audience, you need to do things like mention specific movies and video games that your kids may be watching and playing.”

Move from general observations, to specific action steps I can take, RIGHT. NOW.

That is teaching!!!

Teaching is helping people understand all the information they need to take immediate action. If your audience can’t immediately apply it, you haven’t taught it.

If your audience can't immediately apply it, you haven't taught it.

Teaching is not just saying generic phrases like “you need to love your neighbor”, or “you need to be kind”, or “you need to do what’s right”.

While all those things are true, until you explain specifically how to do those things, you aren’t really teaching. So,I encourage you, go out, and be a great teacher by being very, very specific.

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