Effective Education Using Concept Formation
How Jesus Taught
1. (5 -10 minutes) Demonstrate the Concept Formation strategy with an *example to the whole group. [Project the four quotes below about “Teaching by Questioning” on a large screen.]
Say: “The Urantia Book has lots to say about teaching and learning.
Please read the four quotes on the screen and think about an educational approach that characterizes each of them. What is the concept that ties them together?” Allow a few minutes for attendees to read the quotes then ask them to turn to a neighbor and share their ideas. After a minute or two say: “Who’d like to share an idea?” Call on someone. Most likely the respondent will say: “Teaching by questioning”, or “Jesus taught by asking questions” or something like that. Say: “Thank you. “How many of you thought that questioning was the concept that tied these quotes together? Any other ideas?” If so, take responses and assure the respondent that there are no right or wrong answers. We’re just looking for the unifying concept.
2. (15 minutes) Divide the participants into groups of three or four and give each group a set of 12 quotes. Tell them that they will all have the same quotes. Their task is to classify them into groups by principle or concept and give each group a label – just like they did with the “questioning” quotes. They should discuss the quotes with each other and categorize them. Tell them that if they finish before time is up, they may use their books or computers to find additional quotes that fit the classifications. There are no right or wrong answers. The object is to discover the concepts that might be useful in helping to better understand [whatever topic you have chosen to teach]. Ask for questions and take enough time to be sure the directions are clear.
3. (20 minutes) Give each group a set of quotes [cut up in a folder], a blank paper for labels and a marker, and send them to separate parts of the room.
Participants will discuss the quotes, think about their meanings and find a reason to classify them into groups. Each group of quotes should be given a label. There may be different rationales for different classifications. There are no “right” answers. [Facilitator should circulate to assist groups if they’re having trouble.]
- The quotes may be classified in different ways, but when the group is satisfied with the classifications they should label them.
- If they finish quickly, they may use their books, or electronic devices to find additional quotes that fit the classifications.
4. 20 minutes) Bring the group back together.
- Ask a representative from each group explain the rationale for their classifications to the whole group. Project the responses on a screen.
- Acknowledge the diverse observations - different groups will have different rationales for their classifications.
5. (20 minutes) Lead a discussion using the concepts that participants have “discovered” to tie the ideas about your topic together and bring the lesson to a conclusion.
The takeaway: Participants will have been engaged in an interactive process to enhance deep thinking and may discover a new way to approach the study of a topic.
What is the educational approach that ties these quotes together?
- (1460.6) 132:4.2Jesus’s usual technique of social contact was to draw people out and into talking with him by asking them questions. The interview would usually begin by his asking them questions and ending by their asking him questions. He was equally adept in teaching by either asking or answering questions. As a rule, to those he taught the most, he said the least.
- (1383.1) 125:5.8 …. [Jesus] conveyed his teaching by the questions he would ask. By the deft and subtle phrasing of a question he would at one and the same time challenge their teaching and suggest his own. In the manner of his asking a question there was an appealing combination of sagacity and humor which endeared him even to those who more or less resented his youthfulness. He was always eminently fair and considerate in the asking of these penetrating questions.
- (1546.1) 138:8.10 Though Jesus’ public teaching mainly consisted in parables and short discourses, he invariably taught his apostles by questions and answers. He would always pause to answer sincere questions during his later public discourses.
- 139:5.7 Jesus knew that on his worlds of space there were untold billions of similar slow-thinking mortals, and he wanted to encourage them all to look to him and always to feel free to come to him with their questions and problems. After all, Jesus was really more interested in Philip’s foolish questions than in the sermon he might be preaching. Jesus was supremely interested in men, all kinds of men.
(Quotations to be used in this workshop application of "Concept Formation" are here.)