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.


My son Elder Himmer, who is serving in South Korea, sent me a few questions this week. The provided answer is to the question about the difference between the Garden of Gethsemane and Golgotha. This post addresses Gethsemane.Gethsemane

Jesus approached death on three occasions, the Garden of Gethsemane, the scourging, and on Golgotha. In Gethsemane He experienced death symbolically, however, no human can bleed at every pore and live. During the scourge, any human would have died. On the cross he permitted himself to die.

Scripture Study

How do you study your scriptures? Scripture_study

Almost always by topic. I read or hear something and I follow the natural process of inquiry. For example, teach vs. tell, heart and mind, conflict vs. contention, apostasy, and Bible prophecies of the Book of Mormon. These are typically things that occur during everyday life and I want to know more about it. Another good example is how my wife, Cheri, found the 12-steps of addiction recovery within Nephi’s lament a couple of years ago. The skill of researching leads to deeper understandings and more fulfilling experiences when studying.

Behavior Modification

I am currently reading a book titled: The Power of Habits. The attached pdf illustrates one of the powerful lessons or universal principles of developing habits. The author tells the story of Michael Phelps swimming the 200 meter butterfly in the Beijing Olympics. On the 3rd of 4 lengths, his goggles filled up with water which rendered him blind. He didn’t panic, he simply remembered that his coach had primed him on how to handle such emergencies during his practice sessions (myelination). His coach would often turn the lights out during his practice routines so Phelps would in effect be swimming blind. No black line on the bottom of the pool to follow and no ability to see the competitors peripherally.

General Conference Notes April 2012

Here are some highlights of General Conference. I was unable to take notes in every session.

Elder Bednar (Priesthood session)

  1. The most distinguishing feature of the church is the divine authority of the priesthood. (David O. McKay)
  2. There can be no true church without the proper authority.
  3. We are agents to act as priesthood holders and not to be acted upon. It is our obligation to be actively and anxiously engaged in God’s kingdom.
  4. We violate our priesthood covenant when we do nothing. It is the same as not being worthy.

Being A Rock Star for A Day

For one day I know what it feels like to be a celebrity. Not the kind that creates a frenzy of thoughtless screaming and reckless behavior. But the kind that stems from sincere appreciation and gratitude. And the fan base is made up of First through Fifth graders at Voyager Elementary School under the guidance of Principal Patty McClelland.

I am now an official member of Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads Of Great Students). My name around campus was affectionately just Watch Dog. My day started with a greeting from Chad Redinbo, Chief DOG who is spearheading the movement for Voyager. As we entered the training grounds of our future leaders, Nora Halsen and Lynn Tachell greeted me and gave me a hero’s welcome, other than fingerprinting me.

The Alpha and Omega of Faith

The first principle of the Gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. How simple a statement, yet how profound a doctrine.

According the Joseph Smith we define faith as “the first princple in revealed religion, and the foundation of all righteousness. Faith…is the first great governing principle which has power, dominion, and authority over all things; by it they exist, by it they are upheld, by it they are changed, or by it they remain, agreeable to the will of God.” (Lectures on Faith 1:1, 22-24)

Body and conclusion – Part 2

(His talk continues: in the last post, he transitioned from the introduction to the body. The audience has seen the doctrine presented in three different ways, two stories and a quote from an apostle.)

Sometimes people feel like they are going to do what they are going to do and say what they are going to say regardless of the place that they are in. This can be a huge mistake. Especially when it comes to dealing with sacred things.

(Notice how he explained the behavior without telling the audience what to do.)

A Classic Introduction – Part 1

My good friend John Holland sends me his talks regularly. He is a High Counselor in Southern California. We have shared our gospel knols with each other since high school. Here is an example of a sticky intro. Notice he gives no mention of his topic or the grinding details of what he went through to prepare or how he didn’t prepare etc.

A Sense of the Sacred

John Holland
Walnut park ward
June 26, 2011


> Hormones = < Brains???

Last week I taught a Sunday School class of 16 and 17-year olds. The night before they attended Mormon Prom. My wife thinks that piece of evidence is important. There were five students, three boys and two girls. The topic was not difficult or deep but the questions required thinking. The girls were offended at the end of class while the boys enjoyed it.

Teaching and holding the students accountable


The act of showing love by holding the student accountable for growth

What does it mean to hold someone accountable? Have you ever held someone accountable for what they want? Some years ago my son Stuart asked me to help him prepare for a mission. One of the things he asked me to help him with was cleanliness, or should I say, lack thereof.

During the initial weeks of his preparation, he heard a repeated question: “Stuart is your room up to missionary standards?” He never argued with me from that point on. Having a clean room was something he wanted. He gave me permission to hold him accountable for serving a mission and a clean room was a stepping-stone along the way.

Life Long Learners

Notes taken at BYU Education Week.

Robert D. Hales
Life Long Learning

Our quest for knowledge began long before we came to earth, in the pre-mortal existence. Brigham Young said: “Should our lives be extended 1,000 years, we would still continue to learn.”

Learning throughout mortality is part of our eternal plan. Learning is for the sake of learning and improving rather than to be entertained. Heavenly Father is eager to bless us with a desire to become life long learners.

Developing the desire sometimes needs a good coach.