Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Teaching to Understand

I've been reading, off and on, Elder Bednar's book Increase In Learning: Spiritual Patterns for Obtaining Your Own Answers. I'm already convinced of the idea that as teachers our job is to help students realize one, there's a lot of fascinating stuff to learn out there, and two, they have the intelligence and ability to go learn it. And I think Elder Bednar is saying much the same, but from a gospel perspective.

What I want to share here today is a part on understanding from chapter two. On page 69, he reviews the command in D&C 68 for parents to teach their children. Then he says, "These verses do not simply recommend or suggest that we teach our children. Rather, they outline a law unto the inhabitants of Zion -- that we must teach our children to understand. Understanding is a spiritual outcome; it is a result. Simply engaging in the activity of teaching is not the responsibility we have been assigned. Rather, the charge is to teach children to understand."

How does this apply to our role as teachers in Young Women's? Imparting correct and uplifting knowledge is crucial, and is often the message of posts on our blog. And I think that is certainly part of what Elder Bednar is encouraging us to do as teachers. But I hear Elder Bednar also asking us another, further question: how do we teach our young women to understand?

What are your thoughts?


  1. I'm thinking that as understanding is a spiritual outcome, it is something that understanding is more than intellectual understanding, but also an understanding or enlightenment that follows being taught by the Spirit. So it should follow that if we are led by the Spirit in our teaching, and help the girls to learn their role in preparing themselves to feel the Spirit, understanding or learning by the Spirit should follow. My goal is to make sure that the doctrine/the scriptures are at the centre of any lesson, and to bear testimony of that doctrine. Hopefully the girls will feel the Spirit and be taught and understand with their hearts.

  2. Thanks Mari! Totally agree with you that the Spirit has to be involved. Elder Bednar talks a lot about how understanding is often associated with the heart in scripture. Based on my own experience, I'd have to say that encouraging the girls to ask questions definitely helps us as teachers to see how much they are understanding. Elder Bednar puts those two things together and says that when a student uses her agency to ask questions and learn, the Spirit will come to help her with that process. I like it, though I want to think more about it. Thanks again for stopping by and for the comment!

  3. I'm glad I found your blog!

    I like Elder Bednar's thought that, "when a student uses her agency to ask questions and learn, the Spirit will come to help her with that process". I'd like my YW to leave the nest with an intelligent, vital testimony and the ability to think things through for themselves. Think of how the Church will grow if that's the kind of youth we are turning out.


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