Enhancing Retention During Teaching (Part 1)
The memory of the righteous is blessed.. Proverbs 10:7a
Think of all the teachers that you have had in your life. Who did you learn the most from? What made that person such a good teacher? The world has researched, studied, and documented how adults learn most effectively. This research is very useful to us as we take the step out in faith and obedience to teach God’s Word (Matthew 28:19-20). The first study we will look at is the “Learning Pyramid”, also called the “Cone of Learning” by Edgar Dale. The retention rates have been disputed. However, there is no denying that the more active a person is, the more the person learns. You can even see this at work with the teachings of Jesus. Jesus was asked over 175 questions in the New Testament. He directly answered less than 10 of them. He did ask over 300 questions though. Why? According to the Learning Pyramid above, people only remember 20% of what they hear. However, we remember 70% of what we say. Jesus said in Mark 7:15, “There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man.” The things that you hear do not directly change you. What you speak changes you. This is not permission to watch and listen to everything from the world. As you watch and listen to things, they are filling your heart/soul. As you fill your heart with those things, your mouth will speak them. Luke 6:45b says, “For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” As you speak, you will be changed. This is why Jesus asked questions. So that people could answer Him by speaking the truth as opposed to just hearing it from Jesus.
Enhancing Retention During Teaching (Part 2)
…Pay attention to My wisdom; Proverbs 5:1a
Usually a crowd is timid to answer questions initially. They will talk about their interests or other people, but do not want to be quizzed themselves. This is why the world uses ice breakers. Jesus started with an ice breaker in Matthew 16:13b, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” After the disciples started talking about others, then Jesus asked them “But who do you say that I am?” After Peter answered in Matthew 16:16, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus said in verse 17b, “…flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in Heaven.” Most teachers/pastors lecture or preach and do not ask questions because they can lose control. Someone may answer something off the wall. However, when we ask questions it gives the people an opportunity to seek the Lord and let the Holy Spirit teach them (1 John 2:27). The same will happen if we learn to use questions in our teaching. It is proven that people learn more effectively in group discussions as opposed to lectures or sermons. However, they learn even more if they are actually doing what is being discussed.
The key is to get your audience/disciple to actively participate. Jesus did not just turn water into wine. He had His disciples fill the pots up with water and serve it (John 2:7-8). Jesus had his disciples pass out the seven loaves of bread that fed the four thousand men (Matthew 15:36). When the disciples had been fishing all night and caught nothing, Jesus told them to cast their net on the right side of the boat. Once they did, they caught 153 fish (John 21:3-11). When Peter needed money to pay the taxes, Jesus had him to go fishing to find money in the mouth of a fish (Matthew 17:27). Since these disciples were actively involved, they knew and understood who Jesus was. If you want your disciples to understand what you are teaching, get them actively involved. Lean how to effectively ask questions that will drive them to ask God the question or seek the answer by going to His Word. This will allow the Holy Spirit to move in their life and reveal truth to them.