Who Are You Teaching?
A few years ago, we were teaching in one of our churches that had 2 or 3 classes for the deaf. One of the classes was a class for uneducated deaf. There we taught the simple Bible stories along with any signs we needed. Most of the deaf in this class either had little or no sign language. The teacher went into the class to begin. She prayed. Then she led the deaf Sunday school class in songs. The first song she sang was, “The Wonderful Grace of Jesus”. Most of the deaf sat there looking at the teacher. They had NO idea what she was talking about. Their level of signs was much less than “The Wonderful Grace of Jesus.” (“Yes, Jesus Loves Me” or The B-I-B-L-E. would have been better songs for that group.) The teacher was teaching something that they could not understand. She forgot who she was teaching. We must know who we are teaching. If we do not know who we are teaching, much of our teaching time will be wasted. Our teaching will be things they do not need or cannot understand. Here are some ideas about finding out who you are teaching.
1. Introduce yourself to each person. I have often learned much about my students by telling them my name. Their faces will tell you some important things. Can they sign? Do they understand spelling?
2. Ask their names. This tells you even more. Do they know their own names? (If not, this shows little or no education.) How do they spell their names? Do they spell slowly and without confidence? Or do they spell quickly and easily. All these things will help you know how much they understand and how much schooling they have had.
3. Talk to them about anything. It does not matter what you talk about, but getting them to talk will help you learn their understanding and knowledge about MANY things. I have learned much this way. In turn, this knowledge helps me to know what to teach them. Sometimes, we must teach signs or other everyday things, so in turn we can teach the Word of God.
4. Ask them Bible questions. To begin, ask them simple Bible questions to learn their level of Bible knowledge. It has surprised me many times when they did not know things I thought they should know. Example, Who first man? Who make world? Who die on cross? If they know the answers, then ask harder questions, until they cannot answer the questions. Then you will know where to start teaching. Find out who you are teaching, and what they already know, so you can teach the things needed.