There is a good post over at New Cool Thing on teaching in the quorums. In the comments there is a debate about whether one can “learn” to be a good teacher. I have no doubt that some are just born great teachers, others are born boring, but both types can improve.
The single best how-to-teach video that I have ever seen is available online. It is a 45 minute lectuer by MIT professor Patrick Winston. He calls it “How To Speak”. From what I can see, Patrick was was born boring, but taught himself to give great lectures. He studied it and broke it down into very specific skills. It is fascinating, and ANY teacher or Sacrament Meeting speaker could improve their game markedly just by watching this lecture.
We found ourselves scrambling to cover the Priests lesson this week. The brother teaching the Priests lesson got called into work at the last minute. Four former Priest Quorum members were there, all freshmen at College this year who were home for Christmas vacation. We called an audible, and had the older boys come into the quorum and talk about their college experience (our ward is pretty white collar, so pretty much all the boys are planning on heading to college). 2 are attending a large state college, 2 are at BYU. They got up one at a time and talked about their transition to college. The Priests were very interested, and paid pretty close attention, after all these college kids were just in their quorum 6 months ago.
The advice dispensed by the older boys was excellent. All 4 talked about how it is a shock to no longer have anyone telling you what do do all the time, and you will have to be self motivated. They also talked about how they had been top dogs academically at their High School, but now they are just one of thousands of academic hot-shots, and they have had to work harder than high school to compete.
It was also a great thing for us leaders to see the boys who came through your program speaking and acting so mature. It was a great meeting, sometimes it it better to be lucky than good.
In the preview of the new LDS video meant to be shared with youth to support New Years celebrations in North America (info on video from a recent post), the narrator makes a point of saying the leaders have “inspiring interaction” with the youth. What is “inspiring Interaction”? I am guessing it is what you see in these screencaps from the video:
Young Men General Presiden Dahlquist, and Young Women General President Dalton seem to be engaged and energetic, what I would call “rocking the house”. Put another way, they are appear to be doing a presentation that can not be confused with a Sacrament Meeting talk, not unlike the superb youth speaker John Bytheway. A little enthusiasm, humor and energy doesn’t hurt a message (as long as it is doctrinally correct), in fact appropriately used, it can give you a better shot at connecting with your audience.
I know at least some Brethren are concerned that the Church move it’s video productions past “white guys behind a podium”, and this seems to be an attempt to do just that. I for one am pleased to see this attempt to come down from the podium, but to call it “inspiring interaction” may be overstating it a bit. We will have to see the entire DVD to decide.
The Church has a new video to get your youth fired up for 2009. It is called “A Brand New Year: A Celebration for Latter-day Saint Youth” The Church will mail a DVD to every ward/unit in early December. See a preview on the Church Site ( Link Here )
A Brand New Year: A Celebration for Latter-day Saint Youth, will contain highlights from a youth celebration held at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City. The DVD will feature three segments:
* A message to youth from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of Quorum of the Twelve (15 minutes in length)
* A celebration of youth activities around the world in 2008 (30 minutes in length)
* An introduction of the 2009 Mutual theme by the Young Men and Young Women general presidencies (30 minutes in length)
I am anxious to see this, it sounds like it could be good.
Here are interesting new feature, feedback from youth on their personal General Conference experience. It is on a blog called “Mormon Magz” which is put up by the LDS magazines. The blog describes itself as ” highlights and insights from LDS Church Magazines” It looks like the blog has been around since March.
During an accidental bout of honesty, one of my Young Men mentioned that he was not getting much out of attending Church. That has been on my mind, so when I saw a DVD at Deseret Book called The Best 3 Hours of the Week; Getting the Most Out of Your Church Meetings by John Bytheway I picked it up. It is excellent, and basically teaches that the responsibility for being edified at Church is on you, not the speaker, teacher or leaders. That is not to say we, as leaders, shouldn’t be doing a better job, but it ultimately puts the responsibility where it belongs.
Brother Bytheway made a number of points about importance of Young Men in our Sunday Worship:
“What is the most important thing we do on Sunday? Take the Sacrament. Who should we put in charge of that.. how about the teenage boys”
I have taken to using my laptop computer as a teleprompter for Sacrament Meeting talks. Trust me, it is not as garish as it sounds. It is actually very easy to do, and is much less distracting than shuffling papers. It also forces me to get the talk written early so I can put it in the computer.
Here is how to do it: (more…)