January 10, 2010

Lecture, Discuss, Engage

Alan Knox linked to a preacher/blogger who's experimenting with Discussion in lieu of Sermons. Says the blogger, "One-way communication is just not that effective."

This reminds me of an oft-quoted educational statistic urban legend that goes like this: "We remember 10% of what we read, 20% of what we see, 30% of what we hear, 70% of what we say, and 90% of what we do." These and other similar numbers are complete bunk, but they still get passed on because they feel true. Educators who don't track down the citations still know from experience that a combination of experiences is what's effective. For instance: seeing, hearing, reading AND writing, while collaborating with a group to re-present the information to others - that really reinforces a lesson. The bottom line is that learning takes root best when the learners are fully engaged.

Mega-Pastors with more resources have been working the audio-visual gimmicks for years, one reason I suspect Alan's friend Eric must be a small church preacher. Still, if the goal is to transfer meaningful information in a memorable experience, and perhaps even to inspire, then why on earth would you ONLY lecture? I quickly add that gimmicks can be just as boring as anything else, but a discussion is always more likely to engage the participants on a deeper and more intimate level. So, Eric, I definitely think you're on to something.

Personally, of course, I see all this as completely apart from the myriad of other good reasons to give up traditional sermonizing. I'm just saying. ;-)

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"If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient observation than to any other reason."

-- Isaac Newton