Imaginative Facilitators - Teachers

My close friend, the late Roy Drusky, recorded a gospel song that asked the question “What if the man on the street was you?” The song invites one to imagine being a homeless person, standing on a street corner and begging. Imagine what it would feel like to experience that person’s life. How did he get to this miserable situation? Where did he grow up? What were his parents like? What is he feeling? Does he have children of his own? You might approach this scenario from multiple perspectives—one cynical, one forgiving, and one neutral.

Work With Concepts

There are almost endless “imagining exercises” that can be done. You could imagine becoming various kinds of objects or living things:

  • Bible characters
  • Objects in Bible stories
  • People from all walks of life

This will enable experiencing limitless possibilities. The essence of the imagining exercise is to expand your perspective on the world.

Here are some examples of effective right-mode brain activities that Sabbath School facilitators-teachers and coordinators-superintendents could use:

  • Metaphors. One thing is used to represent another. This is a powerful teaching tool. When learners represent the concept as they have experienced it, they bring a part of themselves into the new knowledge. For example, in saying “The Lord is my Shepherd,” list all the ways that is true. In saying, “The Holy Spirit is a Counselor,” show what that means. If you are a “student of the Bible,” what does that mean?
  • Mind Mapping. Mind Mapping, a nonlinear way of organizing information, is an incredible technique to both organize your thoughts, feelings, and ideas to stimulate your creativity. For example, have your class mind-map ways that they might grow, or ways they might do community service together.
  • Patterning. Seeing patterns in ideas, texts, and all manner of visuals, looking at the whole to discern similarities and repetitions. Encourage your learners to see the discrepancies in patterns as well. For example, see patterns in the way Jesus treated Gentiles and compare those to the way Jesus treated religious leaders of His time.
  • Raising Sensory Awareness. Using techniques that call on auditory, visual, kinesthetic, tactile, and olfactory (smell) senses as a key to more enriched understanding and to add perspective from different angles. This might involve using taste or smell or hearing (music, etc.) uniquely.
  • Analogies. Analogies can be drawings or words or images that represent comparisons based on similarities. Analogies can help the learner capture the essence of things. For example, have the class members draw a symbol of what the “lost” might feel or what “the saved” might feel during a personal tragedy.
  • The Use of Paradox. Paradox is a statement exhibiting inexplicable or contradictory aspects, patterning balance and tensions in both verbal and nonverbal compositions. Ask learners, “What if the exact opposite is true, what would that be like?”
  • Clustering Disparate Things or Ideas Into New Groupings or Formations. This is another form of the metaphor idea. Putting multiple, seemingly opposing things together in new ways is a challenge to the creative mode and is a great way to achieve new insights. For example, how is the church like a garden? like a train station? like plaster?
  • Dramatics and Movement. All forms of role-playing and creative dramatics engage the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic senses. The creation of script involves interpersonal understandings. Have learners build story lines that illustrate building tensions among individuals, and so on. Create a role-play. Have learners demonstrate understandings with body motion, especially without words.

We all expect our Sabbath School programs and classes to be places of learning. They should also be friendly. And accepting. And comfortable. And challenging.

What if—just once—after a class or program you heard your members laughing and saying to one another, “Wasn’t that fun?”

Eugene Brewer
© 2014 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists