Teaching: Creative Spaces
Jesus taught using creative spaces, so consider space as part of your lesson. Creative spaces can be great teaching tools.
Usually when we think of teaching, we think of content. What we're teaching—the Scriptures, the illustrations, the questions we ask—this is what comes to mind when we consider the task of teaching a lesson. We might also consider delivery as an important part of educating. But when was the last time you thought of the space in which you teach as an important part of delivering the lesson?
Imagine that you are teaching about the Feeding of the Five Thousand. How would the lesson spring to life if you taught it in a bakery, where the smell of fresh bread brought to mind the same scents that people would have smelled in John 6? Or, what if you taught about resurrection and took your group to a graveyard to do so? How would that change the student's experience?
Jesus taught like this. When He told Peter & co. that he would make them fishers of men, He did so from the shore of a thriving commercial fishing community. When He taught the woman in John 4 about having a thirst for things that matter, He did so from a well. And after He had risen, He even offered His own scars to Thomas to touch.
Just as Jesus taught using creative spaces, consider your space a part of your lesson.
Where Do Kids Sit?
If your group sits in rows like they do at school, it's probably time to liven things up! Are they comfortable? Are they looking at each other to encourage discussion? Furthermore, where do you sit? Are you standing like a lecturer or do you sit with them as a co-learner leading a discussion? If you're talking about persecution, can you pull the couches out and have students sit on the floor? Think through where students sit and switch it up from week to week.
What Room Do You Meet In?
It's awesome if your church supplies you with a room just for the youth group to meet in. Or if you have a small group, it's wonderful to have a home where you can gather. But does the space allow for interaction and moving around. Do you have the ability to use audio/visual elements in your lessons? And can you use different spaces or are you locked into one?
How Can You Decorate?
Depending on what you're teaching, consider decorating your space. Maybe you're talking about Heaven and can have a party theme. Perhaps you're going to study the healing of the paralytic and you can scatter the room with medical equipment, wheelchairs, etc. It takes planning ahead, but adding creativity to your space can make your lessons come alive.
In addition to bringing lessons to life, you also communicate that you care about what you're doing by how you prepare for it. When a student walks into a room and is taken by surprise, they aren't only hooked and ready to listen to what you have to say, it is also communicated that your students are important. In a sense, you are showing that you care about them by adding atmosphere to the content. Moreover, your students are more likely to remember what you teach. Planning ahead is well worth the trouble.