Adult religious education provides an opportunity for ongoing development enabling adults to examine their relationship with God and to understand their humanity. It enables them to become aware of God's activity in their lives and leads them to strive for deeper maturity as they reach out to others, society and the world.
A variety of learning approaches and processes are needed to make adult religious education effective. These include lectures, reflection, analysis, discussion, journaling, case studies and role playing. Adult education also needs to take into account fellowship and mutual support because adults do not attend classes for information. They attend for socializing and interaction. What they talk about among themselves before and after a session may be as important as what they hear in the formal session.
The Many Roles of a Teacher
In some of devotionals which appear on this web site I will be talking about the many roles of the teacher from the perspective of Christian education and public education.
Teachers perform many roles in the classroom. After a busy session with paint, poster or collage materials the teacher may feel the role of janitor is most fitting.
The Teacher as Friend
Another role a teacher can assume is that of being a friend to the student. We are not talking about a buddy-buddy relationship. We are emphasizing the personal, caring , loving, being with relationship that is important for persons to be able to communicate and grow with each other. Reflect for a moment on the teachers you have had as a student in the church or school. What makes you think of them as friends?
Some of the responses I have heard are as follows:
We had an opportunity to get to know them outside of class.
They were interested in things we were interested inn.
They really listened and cared about what we had to say.
I am sure you could add more from your own experiences. The point is Teachers have a chance to be remembered by the students they teach as persons who are their friends.
The Teacher in the Role of Lesson Planner
When I mention the role of a teacher as a lesson planner generally there will be no surprise. Put simply, the lesson that is planned and used with a group of students is the curriculum they experience. Thus in their role as lesson planner teachers must possess an awareness of how to write curriculum. This does not mean they dispense with the curriculum provided to them. Rather I am suggesting teachers must assume responsibility for tailoring the curriculum so it fits the needs of the specific class they are teaching.
Focusing on the Family
Consider how important and how needed family Christian education is becoming.
Family Christian education needs to be an intentional program of learning experiences which are planned and guided to develop the full spiritual potential of individuals in their present and future roles as family members. The central concept of family Christian education is that of relationships through which personality and spirituality are developed. This would include a person or family's relationship to Jesus Christ.
Keeping a family intact is not easy. There are many social problems facing the family like drug addiction, alcoholism and increasing levels of spouse abuse, which negatively impact the family and its ability to adapt. Thus it would seem family Christian education is of increasing importance in the ministry of the church universal.