Guidelines for Skill-Building Classes

By Dr. David Laton  •   2 min   •   Topic: Teaching Adults

 
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From time to time students will be engaged in classes that involve skill-building. For example, you present a lesson on sharing the gospel, baptizing someone, preparing communion, leading singing, or other activities we engage in as we share the gospel or participate in our daily Christian activities. It would be appropriate to have students practice techniques, so they become proficient and comfortable with the methods. It is especially useful if there are a series of steps involved.

The following guidelines use a method of skill building referred to as the "Whole-Part-Whole" method.

Preparing for Instruction

  • Develop desired learning outcomes. Some learning outcomes are based on the process while others are based on a finished product or process and the actual steps may vary in sequence. Determine which is appropriate and plan the lesson accordingly.
  • Communicate to students how you will evaluate the completed skill.
  • Set up a practice area. This involves enough room and materials for students to demonstrate the desired skill.
  • Allow enough time. Skill building inherently involves more time so build in enough time for the teacher's demonstration and student performance.
  • Practice the skill yourself. You must demonstrate the proper or desired method with proficiency. Practice in the instructional area and with the materials provided.
  • Ensure all students participate. Each student must be given adequate time to demonstrate the skill and gain appropriate proficiency. This may involve follow-on learning periods or limited student numbers.

The Method

  • Demonstrate the entire process yourself. Sometimes it might be individual processes within a much larger process. If so, group the information in logical groupings.
  • Once the process has been demonstrated, go over each individual part in enough detail to ensure students understand.
  • Have students demonstrate individual steps before moving on to the next step.
  • Refrain from interrupting student's performance unless safety issue is involved, or the student is unable to perform.
  • Provide individual feedback pointing out successes as well as recommended improvement areas.
  • Allow students time to perform multiple times to build proficiency.
  • Once individual skills are developed, have students demonstrate all the skills in sequence to demonstrate overall proficiency with the skill.