Understanding Teaching – Effective Biblical Teaching – A Review

Since teaching is not an optional activity but an awesome responsibility, the writer provides Scriptural justification for the exercise of this command in the opening chapter. Admitting that it is hard work on the teacher that requires discipline, he encourages those who face the challenge because there will be an eternal evaluation of this Christ-centered curriculum. The second chapter on reasons why students learn exposes the daunting task of the teacher. The discussion of motivation is in consonance with the law of encouragement by Hendrick. The next two chapters focus on inductive study involving skills of observation, interpretation and application as the teacher prepares in the Word. Hermeneutics, the writer realistically observes, should not be a hindrance to effective Bible teaching. It is deduced from the discussion that observation, interpretation and application lead to transformation. This is the goal of teaching God’s Word.
Chapter five analyzes the importance of understanding the aim of each lesson since teaching is an intentional and directional activity. The value, sources and kinds of aims set the discussion in perspective. Chapter six addresses the importance of planning the lesson. Like Rowlands, the writer condemns contentious statements by extremists lift up a banner who entirely rely on the Holy Spirit or solely depend on the relationship between the student and teacher for sound teaching. The point of emphasis in chapter seven is that the teachers should control the curriculum and not vice versa. The writer guides them to use curriculum materials. Chapter eight is a reaction to a monotonous manner of teaching as principles and purpose of a variety of learner, group and student- centered methods are discussed.

In chapter nine, the writer explores the teacher’s task to prepare teaching materials. Before preparing the appropriate materials, it is proffered that the teacher must ensure that he knows his students well, prays for them, organizes lesson materials and makes the classroom setting ready for them (particularly at the lower levels). Chapter ten presents the setting up of the classroom. As the teacher adjusts teaching to recent occurrences in the lives of the students, the physical environment (facility, space, visual and auditory conditions), instructional environment (arrangement, image viewing, grouping factors, student participation, equipment) and psychosocial environment (home, family, work, school, community, cultural and spiritual influences) are discussed. Elements, purposes, types, sources and guidelines for evaluation form the discourse in chapter eleven. The teacher is encouraged to establish standards for evaluation, select the best presentation of present conditions, analyze information and eventually communicate the results of the evaluation of interested parties. Chapter twelve -on keeping afresh or abreast- is another rendition of the law of the teacher. A teacher can only stay balanced if he continues to learn today which will enable him to teach tomorrow. The writer emphasizes that the fresh teacher is neither a stagnant pond nor a dry brook.

Several issues raised could be identified as opinions expressed by other writers. A case in point is the discussion on cognitive, affective and psycho-motor. Perhaps what is challenging is the vivid illustrations to explain these ‘know, feel and do’ aims. Another is the responsibility of the teacher in classroom management. Furthermore, the writer re-echoes the necessity of the teacher adequately knowing the students.

One however expected Carlson like Nwachukwu (1998) to attempt a distinction of, and relationship between a syllabus and curriculum which he ignores inadvertently or otherwise. The writer is also off-course when he stresses the identification of the felt needs of the student since he should have concentrated on their actual needs which are more relevant.
In spite of the above, this ninety six page volume is a welcome contribution to understanding effective biblical teaching in contemporary society. A penetrating insight is the writer’s response to the question, ‘Do I write a lesson the same way I present it?’ He believes that in preparation, one starts with the final impact and gradually moves to the contact section.