Here's the link to the new material:
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.