The Art of Teaching Pictures
It has been such a pleasure these past few months working with the Bible Studies for Life: Kids team. I have learned so much and had such joy helping produce this ongoing curriculum for preschoolers and children. One of the greatest joys has been the opportunity to develop new teaching picture art each quarter. The challenge we face is to engage today’s visual learners and spark their imaginations with art that captures the attention and engages preschoolers and children to go deeper into understanding not only what is happening in the picture but also the real lives of the people involved—their feelings, thoughts, emotions. Then kids will start to be able to do what we hope to accomplish in Bible Studies for Life—for kids to receive the gospel message and to apply what they are learning to their lives each day.
So how do we accomplish this goal? Our philosophy is that teaching pictures are not something just to be gazed upon (although they should be intriguing, beautiful pieces of art) as if kids will learn all that need to know on their own simply by looking, but they are to be engaged with interaction between teacher and learner (what are they thinking? what are they feeling? at what point of the story do you think this happened? what happened next?) so that kids understand on a deeper level that these were real people with the similar thoughts, feelings, uncertainties, doubts, fears, hopes, faith, and wonder that they have today.
The following are some examples of kinds of questions you could ask and comments about the teaching pictures you show each week:
Prophets Told about Jesus (a picture of a prophet telling a crowd about the coming Messiah): The people of Israel listened to stories from prophets for generations and re-told those prophecies about the coming Messiah—Jesus. Why do you think God told them what He was going to do? How do you like waiting? How long is too long to wait? How do you think they felt waiting for years? How do you think they felt when Jesus actually arrived? What were they hoping the Messiah would do? Were they surprised by Jesus?
Joseph and His Family (young Joseph with his father or family): Joseph was his dad’s favorite. What problems would this cause in your family if one child was a favorite of the parents? How did Joseph feel? How did his brothers feel? How does God want us to treat others? How was God at work in Joseph’s life? How did God use Joseph later to help save his family?
Esther (before the king or just before or after entering the throne room and approaching the king): How do you think Esther is feeling? Do you think she prayed before she went in to see the king? What do you think she prayed? Do you think she prayed after she saw the king? How do you think she felt after she saw the king? How does God use us in similar ways to share the message of the gospel with others?
As teachers, help bring about this in how the kids you teach interact with teaching pictures. Great art and your teaching will help engage today’s visual learners and help them apply Bible truths to their lives!
Look for Impact Visual Learners With The Gospel Part 2 on the blog later this week by The Gospel Project for Kids’ team leader, Jeremy Carroll.
William Summey is the Publishing Team Leader for ParentLife, kids devotionals, and short-term products. He is a graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Vanderbilt University. William lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Christy, and their two boys.