How To Make Your Teaching Unforgettable

By Taryn Phiri September 21, 2017

From large group talks to small group discussions, so much of our time as youth workers is devoted to teaching. We put in long hours to determine the best example, the perfect story, or the right question, but sometimes it seems that our teaching still falls short. Students hear us out, and then they go on to forget the majority of what we’ve talked about. Making our teaching more memorable is a critical step to helping our students learn and grow.

Here are Four Tips to make your teaching more memorable:

#1 Use imagery.

 Forgettable teaching looks something like this:

 But memorable teaching feels like this:

 Imagery is your best bet to engage visual learners and connect to students’ emotions, but imagery also has the power of association. Students can associate a lesson with a particular image, enabling you to use that image to help students trigger that lesson one week or even three months later.

#2 Facilitate relevant experiences.

 Grab a notepad or open a blank Word document.

Write down the main point of last Sunday’s sermon.

Now write out what you remember about the sermon before that.

Then jot down the point of the best sermon you’ve ever heard.

Compile a list of what made these sermons memorable.

 Relevant experiences will help your students discover a lesson for themselves; an experience is what helps a student see a particular principle in action. Team building activities are a great example of relevant experiences. When you want to challenge your students in the area of risk taking, look for a team building activity that would require them to take risks. A lesson experienced makes for a lasting and memorable lesson.

#3 Utilize repetition.  

 Teach the main point over and over again.

Teach the main point over and over again.

Teach the main point over and over again.

 Repetition, while it may make you feel silly or less articulate, is critical to making your teaching memorable. Students are unlikely to remember something that they’ve heard only once. Repetition emphasizes your main point and safeguards against students’ tendency to zone out.

 #4 Go for the unexpected.

Stop reading and hold a plank position for 60 seconds.

(If you really do it, your strained abdominal muscles will help you remember this blog post well into tomorrow.)

 An element of the unexpected will leave your students saying, “I didn’t see that coming.” And when you connect the dots between something unexpected and your main teaching point, your teaching will likely be more memorable. Start your next youth group lesson with your back facing the audience to talk about the ways we talk behind each other’s backs. Or send students out of the room to communicate how Christ sends us out as part of the Great Commission. Something unexpected can break the norm and shatter students’ expectations, waking them up to hear and remember your teaching.

Making our teaching more memorable won’t be an easy task, but it’s well worth our time, energy, and creativity. Go find an image that highlights the main point of your next sermon series. Design a meaningful way for your students to experience and live out a particular lesson. And don’t be afraid to repeat yourself or embrace the unexpected. With these four tips in place, it won’t be long before you overhear students talking about what they’re learning through your teaching.

About the Author

Taryn Phiri

Taryn Phiri grew up in various states across the East Coast and the Midwest, but now she and her husband, Jerry, are happy to call Glendale Heights, IL their home. After studying International Development at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, Taryn served at LeaderTreks for many years as a trip leader and training coordinator….  Read More