Saturday, October 6, 2012

Welcome to the new curriculum!

The time has finally come!!!! I wish we could hold some celebration of sorts together!

Here's the link to the new material:

https://www.lds.org/youth/learn/yw/godhead?lang=eng

Every month of the year has a topic. January's topic is the Godhead, for example. Each topic is meant to be covered as quickly or slowly as the YW leader(s) decide, based on the YW's needs.

Each topic has several possible "outlines." The instructions say: 
Seek the inspiration of the Spirit as you select from the outlines below. Let the questions and interests of the young women guide you as you decide which outlines to teach and how long to spend on a topic.
These outlines are not meant to prescribe what you will say and do in the class. They are designed to help you learn the doctrine for yourself and prepare learning experiences adapted to the needs of the young women you teach.
So there are "outlines," but they're there in a way in which no one in the church can say they have to follow them word-for-word or they aren't following the "approved manuals." We can finally get away from that idea, that was never meant to happen in the first place. Yay! 

And as stated already, these outlines are supposed to be guided by the YW's past background, their questions, and of course, by the Spirit. One way in which teachers will be forced to recognize this is that there are more outlines than weeks in the month; each outline is too long to do in one Sunday; each outline is filled with multiple ideas for a lesson. In other words, there is WAY too much material to cover, which means you absolutely have to think and decide what is best for your girls. :) And hopefully pray, too...

I also loved this paragraph at the end of one of the "outlines": 
Ask the young women to share what they learned today. Do they understand the nature of the Godhead? What feelings or impressions do they have? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be helpful to spend more time on this doctrine?
I hope (and I have high hopes!) that having this sort of direction in the "outline" will help teachers see that teaching is more of a "journey" than a "performance." It's about learning and enjoying the scriptures, doctrine, ideas, life-changing epiphanies, etc., rather than stressing over a perfect presentation. I think that is so crucial.

While no lesson material - and I mean that, no outline, manual, whatever - can make a good teacher, I do think that the way that this new curriculum is presented about as close as we could get. A lot is communicated in the written instructions and also in the way the material is presented that will (I hope) go a long way to creating a much, much better teaching environment for our Young Women.

My only real concern is that for all our changes, we can't make the Spirit enter into teachers' hearts or into YW classrooms. I think this curriculum is fantastic, and will make incredible improvements teaching in the church. Incredible ones. (I can't wait!!) But, in the end, it's only real gospel teaching, in the "Lord's way" (see D&C 50), if it's by the Spirit. My concern is that we will, like so many missionaries with Preach My Gospel, end up proudly assuming "we've got the Spirit because we've got this great new program. We're not like those old missionaries who didn't teach with the Spirit." The Spirit doesn't come or go away depending on a program, it comes when we seek it and give ourselves to it.

But, since we certainly can't control the Spirit (or control teachers' lessons in a way that would force the Spirit to be there!), I really do think this new curriculum is about as close as we can get to providing a model of how teaching by the Spirit should be done. So, it's all the outward appearances of the Spirit; it's what teaching by the Spirit looks like. It's a collection of hints and ideas and explanations written by someone who has spent years teaching by the Spirit. It's fantastic. I love it. But it will, of course, ultimately only be as effective as it should be if we are doing all this by the Spirit.

12 comments:

  1. So exited for this to finally be ready! I can't wait to check everything out.

    Loved your comment about needing to seek the spirit for ourselves and our girls in relation to Preach My Gospel. If I has a $1 for everytime someone said they taught with the spirit and I didn't I'd probably have $10!

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  2. I am almost sick with enthusiasm because it appears that the curriculum is THE SAME for both the Young Men and the Young Women! I have only had time to do a quick overview, but it looks so, so good. What a relief! So encouraging.

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  3. I just saw the curriculum announced on the main page of lds.org. I haven't looked at the announcement yet but here is the link: http://www.lds.org/pages/new-youth-curriculum?lang=eng. Maybe this means they are getting ready for it to be talked about in conference today?

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  4. Wonderful news!!! Goodbye 1970's, hello 2012! Did any of the authors here at Beginnings New contribute to this new manual?

    I'm delighted to see a Christ-centered topical focus.

    Is Beginnings New going to be reviewing the curriculum on a lesson-by-lesson basis and providing thoughts/ideas to support teaching? It would be wonderful to continue generating thoughts and ideas through this wonderful blog.

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  5. Hi Anonymous - did any of us contribute? No, not officially, though we'd love to think that we helped draw attention to the crying need for curricular reform. The truth is probably that these have been in development for many years regardless of our blog.

    We, too, are thrilled by the new focus and on the alignment of YM and YW curriculum. This is going to be an exciting year to have a youth calling!

    We will have to think about what this means for our blog - obviously our "lesson helps" are going to be obsolete. This was what we'd hoped for all along, of course, so it's a happy day. Our little group of contributors will have to think about what makes sense for us and for the needs of our readers. Speaking for myself at least, I no longer have a YW teaching calling (although I now have a daughter in the program), so I am less connected with the lessons and teaching on a week-by-week basis. The way it looks at first glance, the decisions about how to teach these will need to be made locally so I'm not sure that our assistance is as needed, or would be as helpful. I'm surely open to ideas and suggestions as we think about whether to fold this site, or leave it up, or morph it into conversation about the new curriculum, or find a new team of writers with current YW callings, or... etc. Again - these are marvelous discussions to have to be having!

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  6. I hope that the momentum created here can continue to grow. You've all created something wonderful. The bloggernacle needs an advocate for yw and their leaders, truly something more than cute clip art. I think there is a place for additional thoughts, resources, and support within the new and less-scripted curriculum. Additionally we need a place to discuss the social, spiritual, and emotional needs of our yw. You fill a niche in the bloggernacle which fmh, ts, bcc and others do not.

    Consider staying! I've been reading and commenting on the bloggernacle for a few years now, and wish I could volunteer to help, but alas, I have no teen girls, have zero talent in this area, and only intermittent work with the yw. I'm the type of saint that needs to read and use resources like bn before walking into a yw classroom or activity!,

    Best of luck in your new calling and I hope you have the opportunity to return to the youth sometime soon!

    J.a.t.

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  7. I feel like more than ever, this new curriculum opens up new opportunities for YW leaders around the world to share their thoughts and inspiration by the Spirit! If you're looking for new contributors, I'd love to be involved. I'm a Beehive adviser in an upper southern state and I love teaching doctrine. I've previously been a professional writer for historical exhibitions and science magazines, I'd love to dust off the ol' keyboard and share my experiences putting together these lessons and supplementing them with church media. Let me know if you decide you're looking!

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  8. I too am super happy about this curriculum! I think it will be great for members to use for their own personal scriptures study as well because it starts with a question and then has resources like talks and scriptures to read. I did go through and looked up each month and compared the ym's and yw's and the sunday school and the ym and yw isn't all the same, there are some slight differences, but most of it looks the same, which is awesome. I love that it has the potential to lead to a lot of discussion. I think the youth of today really need something like this more so than ever before and I can't wait until January to start teaching from the new curriculum!

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  9. Thrilled about this change!
    Thanks for the support this website has given throughout the years.

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  10. I haven't read all the comments yet, but we've been talking about this as YW leaders. We discussed how important teaching by the Spirit is going to be. I'm excited, and nervous. I find it is so important to really KNOW your girls so that you can turn the lesson toward their needs. I love having them participate more. I fact, I no longer stand at the front of the classroom, we make a big circle to encourage participation. So far it's working.
    Dying to finish Manual 1 so we can get on to the 'good stuff'!

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  11. Hi all! I live in a Stake that has been testing out this curriculum since July-- the "early implementation" phase, if you will...

    It certainly is a change (for the positive!) It takes the youth a little bit of time to get used to the discussion style, but they all seem to really enjoy it. I've found its helpful on the last Sunday of the month to discuss briefly the next months topic and ask them what they feel they'd best benefit from. They're happy to pitch in their ideas!

    Thank you for always providing such insight into the gospel! I was a former YW leader who now is teaching the 16-17 SS class... I've always been a fan!

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  12. thank u for this.

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