The Quickest Way To Become a Better Teacher

Slow down.

That’s right, the quickest way to become a better teacher is to slow down.

How so?

Gallup asked “What attribute do Americans find most compelling in the teacher they have identified as having the greatest impact on their lives?”

Over 40% of Americans describe the teacher who had the most positive influence in their lives with words such as caring, compassionate, motivating, and inspiring; while just 17% of Americans thought  intelligent, knowledgeable, persistent, hard-working, and demanding were words that describe the teacher who had the strongest influence on them.

Caring and compassionate! Quite the caricature-smasher isn’t it.

Of course, there has to be content as well; we don’t want teachers just to cuddle the little darlings all day. But I must admit, although my own elementary and high school education was a nightmare in many ways, the two teachers who do stand out in my mind, one man and one woman, were exactly as described in this poll.

They were willing to stop teaching and start talking. They would sometimes stop in the corridor and chat. In the classroom, they were firm but warm and friendly. They often encouraged with words of praise and appreciation. They varied teaching and assessment methods so that everyone’s gifts could shine rather than just the best memorizers. They were more concerned with what we learned than with what they taught. Although, their lessons didn’t seem to be so full of facts and figures, I learned far more from them than in all the other classes put together.

Above all, they just seemed to have more time for students. And there’s nothing that communicates care and compassion better than time. To this day, whenever I think of them, I am inspired and motivated to be less focused on transferring data and much more on touching hearts.

All this perfectly fits what we know about the greatest teacher that ever lived:

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matt. 11:29).

His appeal for students was based on gentleness and humility not qualifications or results. His teaching methods were certainly not exactly the most “efficient”; but were they supremely effective and compelling!


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10 Ideas From Wise Leaders
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At Home and Loving It
Great encouragement here for stay-at-home moms.

Bait And Switch
How Same-Sex Marriage Ends Family Autonomy

What the Happiest People Know About Work
A growing body of research in positive psychology and neuroscience is demonstrating that happiness is the secret ingredient to success. It turns out, our brains are more engaged, creative, productive, and resilient when in a positive state.

Can Churches Separate Mental Illness and Shame?
Report on the recent summit on mental health organized by Rick Warren. I love the motive behind this but I wish it wasn’t so broadly ecumenical.

900 Free Online Courses
Get free online courses from the world’s leading universities –  Stanford, Yale, MIT, Harvard, Berkeley, Oxford and more. (HT: Nicholas Mcdonald)

Dove’s Beauty Patch Experiment
Fascinating conclusion but I won’t spoil it for you.


10 Facts About Biblical Diversity

UnitedI’ve just finished re-reading Trillia Newbell’s book, United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity (only $2.99 on Kindle today!). It’s an excellent introduction to the duty and delight of building more diversity into our lives and churches. I want to recommend it to you by highlighting ten major lessons I carried away from the book.

1. Biblical diversity is not about theological and moral diversity but rather national, ethnic, and cultural diversity.

2. Diversity is not just to be accepted but is to be pursued on a personal and ecclesiastical level.

3. Diversity happens best through building personal friendships with people not like us.

4. Although diversity is initially more uncomfortable than segregation, and there will be wounds and weariness along the way, there are many rich rewards.

5. Biblical diversity would not only enrich the church but also impact the world as the evident work of God.

6. The Church should be a gracious environment, open to and excited about welcoming people unlike ourselves.

7. Building diversity in the church begins with pastors who are excited about diversity, are willing to build it into their own homes, and make it a priority in the church.

8. Three simple steps we can to take to build diversity into our lives are: (1) Learning history; (2) Talking about diversity with our families; (3) Inviting others into our homes.

9. Just as Jesus sacrificed comfort and his personal preferences in order to unite His people and glorify God, so must we.

10. Biblical diversity looks impossible with men but is possible with God.

I believe this book has life-, church-, and culture-transforming potential. If the beautiful vision of this book ever becomes a widespread reality, I have no doubt we will be in the middle of a tremendous spiritual revival.


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Ten Lessons From a Hospital Bed
John Piper: “Recently I spent 30 hours in the hospital. I won’t tantalize you with details, but you can tell by this blog, I’m still alive….Not wanting to waste this experience, I’ve been thinking about lessons learned and benefits received. Maybe, if I list some of them, you will be helped when your own time comes.”

What We Need
Kevin DeYoung encourages us to speak up about sexual immorality, but to do so in a truthful and graceful way.

4 Reasons You Should Always Pay Designers and Developers
I totally agree with Jon Acuff on this.

Best Deal on a Reformed Base Package
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7 Habits of Highly Emotionally Intelligent People
It has increasingly become accepted that emotional intelligence is an important factor in our success and happiness, not only at work, but in our relationships and all areas of our lives. So what sets emotionally intelligent people apart? Here are seven habits that people with high EI have.”

Babies Eating Lemon in Slow Motion
Guaranteed to improve your Emotional Intelligence.


Why and How to Memorize Scripture

Most of us wish we had better memories. It’s not only that a better memory would probably mean better grades and therefore a better job; we also see the benefit of a better memory in our spiritual lives.

Why Memorize Scripture
If we could memorize Scripture better, we would be able to recall God’s Word to help us in our trials, we would be able to counsel and comfort others better, we would be able to pray more in line with God’s revealed will, and we would be more effective witnesses and evangelists. We’re not short of motivation, are we!

Here’s a short video of Gary George explaining Why It’s Important To Memorize Scripture.

The read Tim Challies on Why Memorize Scripture

You might also be inspired and encouraged by World Memory Champion, Nelson Dellis.

The secret to his success?

It wasn’t innate ability or his genes; he says he has very ordinary abilities. It was hard work (four years of training five hours a day) and motivation (he was shocked into improving his memory by his gran’s Alzheimers). Have a look at this amazing infographic to see what he is now able to do.

How To Memorize Scripture
That’s the “Why?” but what about the “How?” Here are some links to help you get started.

A Smorgasbord of Bible Memorization Methods

How To Memorize Entire Books of the Bible

Scripture Memory Resources

6 Science Backed Ways To Improve Your Memory

Thirty Minutes a Day

And here’s an old video with my 10 Tips on Memorizing Scripture.

  1. Start early
  2. Highlight
  3. Graphics
  4. Speak out loud
  5. Emphasize
  6. Set time limit
  7. Let the cement set
  8. Review and review
  9. Test
  10. Practice