Learning Styles and small group bible study

Take  a second and read over these values again.  I’ve had great input on them, and we will begin using these as a guideline for goals at this week’s Sunday School leadership meeting.  (Don’t forget the leadership meeting this Wednesday at 7pm in the Fellowship Hall!  I look forward to seeing you there.)

Sunday School that W.O.R.K.S.

Wants to grow

Organized to serve

Reaches out to new people

Keeps people connected

Study God’s Word together

I wanted to share  an excerpt with you from a great article on learning styles from Scottie May, who teaches Christian Formation at Wheaton College.  Below is what I thought was most relevant for our purposes.  I edited it slightly to fit our use as Sunday School leaders.

“Characteristics of Learning Styles

First of all, no one is purely one type of learner. We’re all a mix of types, but most of us have a style of learning with which we are most comfortable. By the way, intelligence is equally distributed among all styles.

Here are brief summaries that describe each type:

Imaginative. Starts with concrete reality, and then diverges creatively. Enjoys the arts and beauty. Learns through discussion and interaction. Friendly and caring. Enjoys people. Dislikes lectures, competition, and debate. May be a people pleaser. Needs to feel liked and accepted to learn well. Asks “why?”

Analytic. Starts with ideas and abstractions. Assimilates content like a sponge. Organizes it into theories and concepts. Learns well from organized experts. Wants all the facts. Serious minded. Tends to like ideas more than people. Dislikes discussion, noise, and sitting in circles. They love school because traditional school is designed for this type. (That’s the reason so many teachers and professors are like this: because they are in an environment very comfortable for them.) Asks “what?”

Common Sense. Starts with ideas and concepts, but then converges them to develop a plan or strategy. Enjoys figuring out how things work. Hands-on. Dislikes lectures, memorizing, lots of reading, and being told how to do something. Focuses on tasks sometimes to a fault. Asks “how?”

Dynamic. Starts with concrete experience and accommodates through trial and error. Experiments, takes risks. Very flexible. Change agent. Enjoys learning in a variety of ways. Dislikes routine, and “rigid” truths. May be comfortable in front of people. Asks “so what?” and “what if?”

Learning styles vary greatly. Those differences can be challenging for a small group member, or they can make community experiences rich and fulfilling—it all depends on your perspective. In some ways, the style differences remind me of the diversity of spiritual gifts described in the New Testament; they also parallel the diversity of the Body of Christ noted in 1 Corinthians 12. You wouldn’t want a small group made up only of people who are analytic, type 2 learners, any more than you’d want a body made up of only hands.

A small group of diverse learners is complementary, sort of like a marriage. The differences in members’ styles can help each other develop their strengths, and also grow in areas of weakness. Diversity is healthy, and I think, draws on biblical principles.”

It’s healthy to remember that not everyone learns the same way.  Which of these learning styles describes you?  How have you designed your class to accommodate different styles?  What ideas do you have to help others accommodate the needs of different learners?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/dwalker96sc

See you Wednesday evening!

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