Teaching Using Learning Objectives

While the new Teacher’s Council provides opportunities for teachers to collaborate, the primary purpose is to teach members of the church (including families) how to learn. Our social norms, both in and out of the church, condition us to operate as Self-Help Junkies, with a higher emphasis on completing the reading task than actually learning something.

With this in mind and using Blooms Taxonomy, I’ve taken two lessons from January’s potential topics on the Godhead and written examples for learning objectives.

Topic: The Godhead

Learning objectives:

  1. List the members of the Godhead.

Conflict is to be resolved…

Conflict is to be resolved.

Contention is of the devil.

Disputation, debates, dissensions, arguments, controversies, quarrels, and strife or contention of any sort have no part in the gospel; they are of the devil. The gospel is one of peace, harmony, unity, and agreement. In it argument and debate are supplanted by discussion and study. Those who have the Spirit do not hang doggedly to a point of doctrine or philosophy for no other reason than to come off victorious in a disagreement. “Cease to contend one with another,” the Lord has commanded (D&C 136:23; Titus 3:9). Bruce R. McConkie. Mormon Doctrine, pgs. 160-161)

Conflict vs. Contention

What Is The Difference Between Conflict And Contention

The very comparison of these words creates both conflict and contention. In many heart breaking coaching discussions, I’ve learned that having a clear understanding of these two contrasting words can bring peace of mind and warmth of heart to a relationship. But only when properly and harmoniously understood.


Conflict is sharing the same end result but seeing a different path. Contention is fight or flight, violence or silence. It is blocked progress and the attention is on who is right at the expense of what is right.

Power vs. Control Updated

My new book: Listen & Lead: The Micro Skills of a Leader is arriving by mail today. Last night I updated this blog from a year ago because my son Scott’s Mission President is asking questions about Ted and Ting and my book. The Micro Skills of being a leader or a sales professional are identical with being an effective missionary. This is a gospel introduction to the principles taught in my book. 

Here are two chapters from the book to sample. If you want to order it, click here. Tomorrow is the final day for preorders at a discount ($5.00 off).

The Art of Science of Prayer: Part 1

The practical application of prayer is akin to communicating with a parent; with the notable exception that communicating with earthly parents carries different nuances. The most apparent difference is the predictably irrational behavior of earthly parental units during times of frustration and anger.

If prayer is the process of communicating with God, then an understanding of effective communication is necessary. Pure communication is an exchange of understanding. However, for the purposes of learning, the process starts with seeking to understand the other person. No expectation of reciprocity. In other words, do not expect them to seek your opinions or thoughts.

A Missionary Paradigm: Using Agency in the Process

The concept of conducting member missionary work usually instills feelings of guilt and fear into members of the church. The traditional approaches to missionary work are:

  • Invite your friends over to dinner and conveniently have missionaries show up.
  • Give the missionaries the names and contact information of your friends and let the missionaries contact them sometimes surprising them.
  • Ask people you know if they have heard about the church and if they want to know more.

Ishmael & Isaac

I received a series of questions from an old acquaintance. Here are the responses:

Dear Friend,

It’s good to hear from you again. I’ll do my best to answer your questions.

Q:        Ishmael was the first son, why doesn’t he have the birthright?

A:         Ishmael was born to Abraham through his handmaiden Hagar, a servant. As such, he had no right to the birthright. Isaac was born to Sarah, Abraham’s first wife and thus inherited the birthright of his father.

Teaching An Agnostic

Here is the setting, Elder Jackson from my home ward of Gig Harbor, is serving a mission in SLC, UT and sent me an email telling the story of Tony the agnostic. He wanted to have a better understanding of what an agnostic is. I sent him a short definition and then received this email:

Brother Himmer,

Blind Spots in Speaking

Your Blind Spots List

A communication Blind Spot is when you do or say something that causes push back, boredom, or anger and you don’t know why. Here are some suggestions on how to avoid Blind Spots in your talk.

  • Do not mention your topic at the beginning of your talk.
  • Do not mention the story of how the Bishop, Branch President, or Stake President asked you to speak on the following subject.
  • Do not explain that you had prepared a talk last night and this morning the spirit changed his mind and now you’re speaking on something else. He rarely changes his mind.

You’ve been asked to give a Talk

You’ve been asked to speak this Sunday by the Bishop or one of his counselors. After the requisite panic, then anger, and then fear, you finally settle down to study. You may or may not know much about your topic, but sharing your knowledge with 250 other members is not your cup of tea. Some years ago, I wrote down my ideas of how to prepare and give a talk. Here are my ideas broken into five parts.

Next to death, public speaking carries the greatest fear for people.  This should greatly excite you and compel you forward to a state of great preparation or sheer panic.

Building Trust With Our Youth

Exaltation is a pathway of the Collective

Of the many explanations and definitions of Eternal Life, perhaps the most significant realization of recent memory is the lack of individualism in the Celestial Kingdom. The concepts of rugged individualism and complete independence are merely checkpoints along the celestial journey.

When Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son, they were accompanied by a myriad of angels. When a baby is blessed, it is a collective. I remember Ross Farr, while blessing his child, once invited all Melchizedek Priesthood holders in the ward to join him on the stand. Ross will always be part of a large and entertaining collective.

Judging In The Church

Judge not that ye be not judged. (Matthew 7:1) This passage carries a plethora of opinion, commentary, and misunderstanding. Elder McConkie points out that this does not prohibit sitting in judgment on principles of right or wrong. Rather it is the equivalent of saying: “Condemn not, that ye be not condemned.”

We sometimes confuse the definition of tolerance with judging. This is where the misunderstanding is often found.  Homosexuality is wrong. It is a sin. So is overeating, constantly losing your temper, and being a workaholic. You can tolerate obesity, but it doesn’t mean you accept it.

Missionary Blind Spots

I’m fascinated by the quick learning abilities of children when they play video games. Most recently my children received a Wii unit for Christmas. Before the day had expired Samuel, my 8-year-old son challenged me to a boxing match.

Finally, I thought, something electronic at which I can beat my children. I have formal training in the martial arts and can certainly move my hands quicker than my 8-year-old boy. The results? I didn’t make it past the first round. Sam KO’d me.

Making a Street Offer

What is a street offer? For a missionary it is initiating contact with a potential investigator. It is identifying if the gentleman walking across the street wants to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, or not.

For a member of the church, it’s being asked what church you attend or a general question about your membership.

An offer means you are offering another person the opportunity to have something. For example, if I were a Chiropractor I would answer the question about what I do for a living as follows: