Okay I always tell myself I won't criticize the manual, I'll just explore scripture and have fun, but then I read these things and see how it's normally played out, and I just have to share my concerns anyway!
There's a section titled "Scripture Discussion" under the second sub-heading. The instructions are to
Ask for a volunteer to recite the third article of faith. Discuss with the class what the atonement of Christ is and what it means to us. Your discussion should include the following points:So, ask them what they think, and then instead of learning together, tell them what to think. I hate seeing these things played out. Girls can give awesome answers, or ask good questions, but the teacher says, "Okay, that's good too but here's the answer..." and writes that on the board. That stunts learning, stunts the Spirit, and communicates to the girls that they can't learn on their own. It tells them the answers are facts from a manual. They don't really come from the scriptures, or even if they do, someone else has already mined them all out of there for them anyway. And if the girls think they can learn on their own, well, now we've shown them that they'll probably not get it quite right anyway.
Why don't we instead TRUST the girls to be intelligent thinking people, TRUST the scriptures to have something to say, and TRUST the Spirit to open our minds to learning? Elder Bednar just published a book titled Increase In Learning. He says over and over again (in what I've read so far) that we should be "agents" in our learning, and not "acted upon." We shouldn't wait to be told the answers, we should actively seek to understand. That is using our agency and the gifts of the Spirit we have been given.
Remember how we all take the sacrament just hours before going to class? Remember how we are promised that the Spirit will always be with us? It seems that promise is so timely when we go straight from sacrament meeting to our classes. What a great time to petition God for the Spirit and get to work learning!
Okay, so rant aside, if I were teaching I would definitely, definitely..., yes, DEFINITELY pick a scriptural text on Christ and then see what we all learn together, in the moment, by asking questions and talking. If you trust the YW to be intelligent they'll have things to say, I promise. Or questions. And you don't have to have the answers! It's okay to have more questions than answers - it keeps us thinking and seeking.
2 Nephi 9 is one of my favorites, as is Alma 12:20-37 (nice outline of temple themes, no?), and Alma 36. I think it would also be fun to just open up the topical guide and decide on one together as a class.
I feel like after that rant I should step back and hear what you have to say. I wish we could all be in the same room together, instead of at computers across the globe. Sigh.