In this episode of the LDS Perspectives Podcast, Laura Harris Hales visits with John Hilton III about teaching in church settings.
John has spent a good deal of his adult life working in religious education. He began his teaching career in the seminary and institute program and was hired by the BYU Department of Ancient Scripture after earning a PhD in education. He is also a popular speaker and author of several books for youth.
Hilton helped develop a “know, feel, and do” model for effective religious teaching. President Thomas S. Monson said that “the goal of gospel teaching is not to ‘pour information’ into the minds of [learners]. … The aim is to inspire the individual to think about, feel about, then do something about living gospel principles.” Hilton’s method aims to accomplish these goals.
To have a successful class, whether it is Gospel Doctrine or Come Follow Me or Seminary, students should learn something new, feel something positive, and should be able to apply what they learn in their lives.
As a professional teacher, Hilton shares insights on what inspires and motivates students to learn and to be invested in the learning experience. He also gives practical suggestions on how to prepare lessons that are impactful.
Most gospel teachers do so on a volunteer basis, don’t have any formal training in education, and often struggle just to make it through a lesson while keeping the class’s attention. According to Hilton, creative teaching techniques can lead to a positive experience for both the student and the teacher.
Listen in as we discuss how mnemonic devices, reviews, creative teaching, group activities, personal interaction, and careful preparation can help us all become effective teachers.