5 groups of students and their needs

Understanding Your Pupils

How to teach effectively to the appropirate level of leaning and understanding.

BEGINNER - AGES FOUR TO FIVE

General Characteristics

Very active, imitators, attention span of five to ten minutes, enjoys playing with other children, forming concepts of social and physical reality, inquisitive, learning to relate to adults rather than parents, big imagination, developing sense of right and wrong, learning to share, tires easily, growing vocabulary, curious, thinks of God in personal terms, responds to the Lord Jesus with simple trust.

Needs

Consistent discipline, stable environment, warm teachers who interact with them, frequent change of activities, consistent models of Christian behaviour, explanation of new words, one teacher for five or six children.

Level of Understanding

Knows God created the world, loves Jesus and wants to please Him, thinks Sunday School is is a happy, special place to go, willing to work with others, eager to help, shares, learns Bible words and invites others to come to Sunday School.

Activities

Drama, guided conversation, guided play, fingerplays, puzzles, books, art activities, block building.

Primary - grades one and two

General Characteristics

Active, talkative, imaginative, likes group activities, asks questions, seeks personal attention from the teacher, small muscles developing, building attitudes toward one self, learning masculine or feminine roles, learning to read and write, developing conscience and sense of morality, thinks concretely, honest, eager to learn, emotionally immature, attention span of seven to fifteen minutes.

Needs

Caring teacher, variety of activities, opportunities to talk, chance to display reading and writing skills, concrete stories and examples, security, patience, one teacher for six or seven children.

Level of Understanding

Appreciates the Bible as a special Book, understands that Jesus is the Son of God, beginning to understand what sin is, can apply Bible principles to everyday problems.

Activities

Dramatic play, storytelling, Bible games, art activities, singing, puppets, reading.

Middle - grades three and four

General Characteristics

Energetic, healthy, thinks concretely, likes group activities, asks questions, enjoys personal attention from the teacher and other adults, continues to build attitudes towards one self, begins to demonstrate specific interests, "law and order" sense of morality, emotionally immature, eager to learn, memorizes easily, wants to help, attention span of ten to fifteen minutes.

Needs

Variety of activities for involvement in learning, caring teachers, opportunities to pursue and/or demonstrate interests, opportunities to help, concrete stories and examples, patience, one teacher for seven or eight children.

Activities

Projects, field trips, drama, role playing, Bible games, Bible research, art activities, singing, reading, listening, memory work, using his/her own Bible.

Level of Understanding

Chronology, application of Bible principles to life problems, Jesus as Saviour, sin, need for salvation.

Junior - grades five and six

General Characteristics

Energetic, healthy, loud, inquisitive, talkative, imaginative, wants to be like his peers, beginning to think abstractly, has many interests, likes competition, hero worshipper, dislikes outward display of affection, gang spirit, wants to be involved in classroom procedure, "law and order morality", memorizes easily, activities affected by attitudes towards oneself, development of attitudes toward social groups and institutions, independent, attention span ten to twenty minutes.

Needs

Firm, loving discipline, involvement in learning activities, challenge to memorize, security in the midst of competition, encouragement, good examples of the Christian lifestyle, caring adults, one teacher for eight to ten children.

Level of Understanding

Chronology, what sin is, need for salvation, Jesus as Saviour, Bible background, application of the Bible to daily problems.

Activities

Art, singing, games, memory work, Bible research, field trips, role playing, projects, using one's own Bible, reading, listening.

Young Teens - grades seven, eight and nine

General Characteristics

Awkward, growing rapidly, self-conscious, boisterous, independent peer approval more important than adult approval, interested in the opposite sex, capable of abstract thinking, able to reason, developing his/her own faith (if saved) and value system, definite interests and skills, increasing doubts.

Needs

Guidance without pushiness, opportunity to make choices of his own, consistent strong adults models of Christianity, warmth and acceptance by patient adults who are not easily shocked, challenging material, firm discipline, social activities in a Christian environment, one teacher for ten to twelve pupils.

Level of Understanding

Understanding and application of Biblical principles in life, what sin is, Jesus as Saviour, interrelationships in Biblical material.

Activities

Field Trips, Bible games, singing, discussion, Bible research, role playing.