following mini-lessons, or similar information, can be shared with your
students. Ask them to listen carefully (CAPTURE), apply what they have
heard to their own lives then spend a few minutes in small groups discussing
how to apply this information to teaching (EXPAND), then talk about
what they have discussed with the class (TEACH). They can then EVALUATE
what they have learned in a short paper or in a personal reflection.
are often admonished to be an example to others. Religious leaders
and intellectuals alike have recognized the power of example.
Mohandas K. Gandhi said, “I have always felt that the
true textbook for the pupil is the teacher.” Carl Jung
asserted that “Children are educated by what the grown-up
is, and not be his words.” Bandura demonstrated the power
of modeling with his Bobo doll experiment, and we all have personal
testimonials to share about the power of example.
D. Hanks remembers how his tiny niece used to lick her finger
each time she was about to turn a page in her storybook. She
had seen her father do this many times. Actually, she was moistening
the finger on her left hand and turning with her right. My little
boy watched his first baseball game when he was 4. Every time
he threw a ball after that, he used an elaborate wind-up. Given
this principle of truth, what do I need to do as a classroom
teacher to be a valuable example for my students?
the two great commandments concern love, what do you suppose
our most powerful teaching tool is? When you shared stories
about your favorite teachers, “loving” was very
often one of the characteristics that you mentioned. President
Gordon B. Hinckley wrote that “Love is like the Pole Star.
In a changing world, it is a constant. It is a beacon of hope
in a world of distress.” In the May, 1982 issue of the
Ensign, Enzio Busche wrote, “The person who has earned
love the least, needs it the most, and Goethe wrote, “We
learn only from those whom we love.” So my question is,
How can I ensure that love will infuse my classroom?
once said that knowledge which is acquired under compulsion
obtains no hold on the mind. Agency is the bedrock of our faith,
it is the reason we are here on this earth. President David
O. McKay said that “Next to the bestowal of life itself,
the right to direct that life is God’s greatest gift to
man. . . Freedom of choice is more to be treasured than any
possession earth can give.” Kahil Gibran wrote that “The
teacher who is wise indeed does not bid you into the house of
wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.”
If agency is so crucial for growth, there must be room to exercise
agency in the classroom. How can agency be granted in learning
activities, in classroom rules, in assessment?
child psychologist, Bruno Bettleheim, wrote that the word discipline
derives from the Latin “ ” (need to look up spelling),
which means to learn. He writes of how Christ’s disciples
learned because they loved and admired him and strove to be
like him. It is the same with children, he advises. Their behavior
will reflect the degree of love and respect they have for us.
Children who feel secure, valued, interested and contented will
not be discipline problems. Of course, this is a solution to
behavioral problems that takes a great deal of time and patience.
At times, we need a way to calm a disruptive child right now.
We know that it is always damaging to be harsh with a child.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow writes “A torn jacket is soon
mended, but hard work bruises the heart of a child. How can
we use Christ’s example as we try to deal with a child
One thing that makes parenting so terrifying is that you know
these souls you are nurturing (or failing to nurture) are not
truly yours. They are given to you to love, protect and teach,
but they are kindred spirits, perhaps older and wiser than you
in the eternal scheme of things. Teaching is the same. Although
we are given responsibility for these children, they are children
of God with limitless potential. We must treat them with profound
respect. Robert Henri wrote “Feel the dignity of a child.
Do not feel superior to him, for you are not.” Consider
for a moment someone you truly respect—a parent, a leader,
the prophet, perhaps. How would you interact with that individual?
How would you let him know you value what he does? Would you
say “Good job! I’m so proud of you! You’re
so smart! Or would you say, “thank you for being an example
to me, for making my life better. How would respecting your
students as children of God change the way you would interact
Levinas said that we must recognize our primordial responsibility
to the Other in order to grow and progress. President Spencer
W. Kimbell said “The more we serve our fellowmen in appropriate
ways, the more substance there is to our souls.” Jesus
devoted his life to service and he asked those who would be
his disciples to do the same. How might you blend learning with
service to enrich the lives of your students?
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