Friday, March 19, 2010

Ethical teaching? What??

Remembering that I have a "leadership role" to which I'm supposed to be applying the principles we've discussed, I decided to find a potential moral/ethical dilemma in teaching Sunday School. I was surprised when one came almost immediately to mind. Behold the issue of Too Much Information...

There was a teacher who was to give a lesson to her class on Sunday. Now behold, this teacher had prayed and studied diligently the materials written in the manual. And it came to pass that as she prayed and pondered, behold, the eyes of her understanding were opened, and new knowledge flowed into her mind, adding upon the basic principles in the handbook; yea, and much of this knowledge was concerning personal trials and afflictions, the solutions to which she had been earnestly seeking. Yea, and it came to pass that this knowledge from God brought her great happiness.

So where's the dilemma? Well, the teacher's first inclination would probably be to share the deeper insights with others, including her class; after all, if it was interesting and beneficial to her, it likely would be for her class members as well. The problem comes in when she remembers that the First Presidency, who set the curriculum for gospel instruction in the Church, urge teachers to stick with what is in the manual. Though sharing one's specific understanding of gospel principles isn't a bad thing morally, it might be out of line ethically.

As an objective observer of this teacher (huh, right), I would recommend the following steps for dealing with this morethical dilemma: (1) Generally speaking, stick with what is in the manual. The content is basic for a reason; namely, so that the students can develop a solid foundation on which to build their own understanding through personal revelation. (2) If, during the course of the lesson, the Holy Ghost prompts you to share your own experiences and insights because it is right in this context, then you may do so. The most important thing is to be attentive to the Spirit, who will tell you what is good, better, and best to teach in any given situation.

And, as I am writing about ethics, I feel obliged to report that, according to my clock, I am 6 minutes late in posting this. Woo!


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