Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Improving Teaching Methods, and Surviving a Dog Bite

Feb 2, 2015

Hello Folks, Fellows, and Familiar Faces!
This week was a very interesting week.  It was a good week, just very busy.  We had splits with the assistants, and those were great because I learned a lot a lot of good things about how to work with members in every aspect of the work.  Funny thing about the assistants - it is trainer and trainee from a year and a half ago.  After Elder Calder finished his 12 weeks training he trained Elder Mitton, and now they are companions again.  I was with Elder Calder and took really good notes. 

Something Elder Calder taught me that can help any and all teachers prepare to teach a class or a lesson is breakdown vocabulary.  Let me explain.  Try teaching a 5 year old what ordinance means.  Now teach the same thing to a 45 year old.  To help the 5 year old understand, you use simpler words, right?  When we break it down, they understand better.  Now the preparation.  Take key words from the lesson you are going to teach words such as faith, atonement, priesthood, baptism, or any gospel term, and wrap your mind around it by trying to express the meaning of the term in 3 words.  In Spanish you might need to do it in 4 words.  For example, faith might be “action in Christ”.  As we teach simply so that even a child can understand, everyone will understand, and the Spirit will have a greater chance to testify. 

Also, quite frequently we study and learn gospel doctrines with a highly in-depth, complex perspective, and then when we teach that is all we express. We often teach the roof, and then hope the person either already has a foundation or that he can build it and then put the roof back on.  We teach the complex, hoping they will understand the principles as we understand them.  For a teacher to achieve that his students understand as he does, he must first teach the simple and then build up their understanding, bit by bit, according to the needs of the learner.  In other words, milk before meat.         

A few days ago, as I was riding my bike, a dog ran up and normally they are just following the bike, focusing on the spinning of the wheels.  If I speed up, they usually get excited and more aggressive.  If I slow down or stop, they lose interest and go away.  I started to slow down, and this dog for whatever reason decided to latch onto my ankle.  It was a medium to large street dog, but didn’t bite too deep because the movement of the bike pedals made him lose his grip.  We called the mission nurse and she told me what to do.  I have started the required process of 5 shots for anti-rabies and other infections.  Luckily, Chile does dog bite shots for free, because dog bites are so frequent, so it doesn’t cost the mission anything.  There wasn’t any bad bleeding or anything, and it should heal quickly.

Also this week was the Semana Parralina, because the city is 200 and something years old they do a big party all week long in the plaza.  So we contacted hundreds of people in the evenings, and set up some good citas (appointments).  I am excited.  The work is moving along great here in Parral.

I love you all more than the number of boats and canoes docked to the 10,000 lakes in Minnesota.

-Elder Withers 

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