Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's All About The Students...

Our Mt. Vernon class last Tuesday night at the 23rd Street Chapel in Crystal City was exciting -- the best teaching experience we've had yet. About 80 students were there. With much time spent in preparation, Pat and I are learning how to team teach, using our individual strengths and styles. We are delving into selected General Conference talks, mining their meaning. Many students had read the assigned talks and were willing to discuss their concerns and challenges. They raised questions, answered questions, questioned the answers, and expressed deep faith in the gospel.
Pat had the students role play parts of Elder Bednar's talk, Nothing Shall Offend Them, asking "an offended student" to refuse to take offense, and then to communicate privately, honestly, and directly with "the offender." Students demonstrated how we can choose not to be offended and to actively seek to resolve hurt feelings and misunderstandings through caring dialogue.
These DC Institute students are amazing. They come to class prepared, ready to learn, and anxious to share and participate. They come from varied backgrounds. Many come from homes where the scriptures were read daily. They are deeply rooted in the gospel. Others are recent converts. They are eager to learn all they can about the Church and its teachings. They have strong testimonies. They are bright, capable, and spiritual, and they challenge our ability to keep up.
The area around the 23rd Street Chapel is known locally as "Little Provo" because of the large number of LDS singles living there. You can read about it in The Washington Post at http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/church-for-single-mormons-in-crystal-city-comes-with-pressure-to-marry/2011/05/25/AGILSeDH_story.html?wpisrc 
At the Annandale and Centreville Stake Centers, and at George Mason University, we teach smaller classes. We have come to love these wonderful students as well. Last week we divided students into small groups to come up with current problems that can be solved through searching the scriptures. By using the Bible Dictionary, Topical Guide, Indexes, lds.org, smart phones and I-Pads, they worked as teams to explore the scriptures to find answers to the challenges they had identified.
This week, we're looking forward to hearing how the students felt about the messages of last weekend's General Conference. It is very gratifying to feel the students' enthusiasm and love for the gospel and for Institute. The more we come to know these young adults, the more we love them.        ~Don~

No comments:

Post a Comment