A Fresh Eye

Posted: December 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

Most of you know that I have been serving in the local church for over 24 years in lots of different capacities.  I have gained some wisdom along the way in the approach to creating environments that are conducive to effective spiritual and cognitive growth.  So many times we overlook the details and we wonder why the things we are doing are not working!  So if you are a pastor, small group leader, Sunday School teacher, ministry leader, school teacher, or anyone who leads people to spiritual and cognitive growth, the next few blogs may be helpful.  I shared these thoughts at my last small group leaders training and now I will share them with you.

Today we will start with the importance of the learning environment.   The setting of your class room, church, business, etc. is so important!  The desire to create order from chaos is a part of the image of God that is in us.  It could even be argued that the very first thing God did in time was to create an appealing environment tailored for his prize creation…us, who was made in His image! Think about it! In the beginning, the earth was like an unpainted, stagnant, poorly lit room with all the furniture in boxes in the hallway waiting to be assembled.  God did the assembly and then made us!  Now I know the book of Genesis was not given to us as an apologetic for the importance of appropriately set-up learning environments…but it’s interesting to think about!

The physical and personal setting of your learning environment creates first impressions!  Physical and personal settings always communicate something!

  • Being on time and waiting for people at the door communicates that you are expecting people and that you are glad they are here.
  • Attention to detail communicates that you understand your audience and that you are welcoming them.
  • Clean and tidy communicates that you are expecting someone and that you have taken the effort to get ready for them.
  • Organized communicates that you take what you do seriously and that you are on top of things.

Is your learning environment appealing? Is it conducive to discussion and relationship?  Does your learning environment communicate that people are important?

I understand that some of you lead or teach in stale rooms where you don’t have much control over the décor or “the look.”  If that is the case, your personal presence has to light up the room.  I would also guess that many of you have been in the same learning environment for years and your familiarity with the setting has caused complacency.  Get someone to walk through your learning environment with a fresh, critical eye.  Find out what they experience, what they see, what they notice, what they smell.  Ask yourself these questions.  What is distracting? What needs painting? What needs to be thrown away? What can be tweaked, replaced, or changed to make your setting more appealing?  More next week…

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