Mar 30, 2021

Do This to Help Your Volunteer Teachers Improve

I was doing a consultation for a church this past weekend. They have an excellent children's ministry.  

I was impressed by how well their large group teachers communicated.  

The children's ministry leader there shared with me one way they help their teachers improve.

They film the person who is teaching and then they send that person a video of their teaching.  This enables the volunteer teacher to watch themselves teaching and evaluate themselves.  

Then the teacher can talk with the children's ministry director and discuss some ways they can improve based on what they observed in their video.

This is a great way to help your teachers grow and improve as communicators. 

Here are some things to encourage them to look for while watching the tape (BTW make sure you put the camera behind the kids.  The kids' reactions will tell you a lot.)

Watch for times when the kids started looking around.  When kids are bored, they will disengage and start looking around, talking, get fidgety, etc. 

Did you know that the most engaging show ever created for kids was Blue's Clues?  Remember that show?  Do you know why it was such an engaging show?  Here's one big reason.  Before they aired the show on TV, they would bring in a group of children to test it out.  They watched the kids and each time they looked away or got restless, they would make a note of it. Then they would go back and tweak that part of the show to keep the kids' attention. 

Watch for times when the teacher says words like "uh"  or "um."  The goal should be to eliminate saying those words as fillers and transitions.
 
Did the teacher fluctuate their voice level?  The goal should be to not talk in a monotone voice.  Instead,  sometimes whisper,  sometimes get loud, sometimes talk at a normal pitch.  Your voice is a powerful tool...especially when you bring variety to it. What you don't want is the Charlie Brown's teacher voice (I don't even know how to spell the words the teacher spoke in Charlie Brown's shows.  It was something like "wankwankbenktopcisgrwe.") 

Our goal in this should to help our communicators/teachers improve.  Remember this...

Instead of using people to build the ministry, we should use the ministry to build people. 

Filming them so they can critique themselves is one great way to do this.  It's doesn't have to be complicated. You don't need 3 cameras set at the perfect spots. Just grab your smartphone and position it somewhere behind the kids so you can see their responses.  

Your turn.  What are some other ideas to helping volunteer teachers improve?  Share your thoughts and insights in the comment section below.

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