November 3, 2012

Talking About Personal Experience

The Getting Started activity for this week’s lesson asks students to share their personal experience of a victory in their lives with others in the group. Different groups of young people will differ greatly in terms of how willing they are to share personal experiences, and within a group there will be different levels of comfort with activities such as this. Your challenge as the teacher is to make these activities low-risk enough that nobody feels “on the spot” or threatened, while still allowing for meaningful discussion.

Young people who are shy or experience social anxiety, or who feel they don’t fit in well with others in the group, may be uncomfortable with this kind of experience. Those who are not very spiritually mature or haven’t given much thought to spiritual things may find it difficult to come up with something appropriate to share. Some tips to make sharing easier:

• Divide into pairs or small groups, especially if your class is very large.

• Allow students to brainstorm a list of ideas privately first, then pick one they’re comfortable sharing.

• Model appropriate answers yourself as you introduce the activity: “For example, one victory I experienced was a time when I prayed about an exam I thought I was going to fail, and God answered my prayer by helping me think clearly and figure out the answers, so I passed the exam.” Make sure your own example is general and relatable enough that it will encourage class members to think of similar examples from their own experience.