Monday, January 9, 2017

Scriptures Side By Side

Happy New Year!

Some lessons call for comparing scriptures from John in the New Testament and John in the JST (Joseph Smith Translation) or other books from the Bible.

Most of the the time when we do this comparison, we meet the following challenges or I lose half of my class for one or all of these reasons:

a) Merely finding the JST (although each of my students have a bookmark in the JST section of their Scriptures)
b)We don't use it often enough for them to be confident in locating it.
c) The switching back and forth as we compare verses, sentences, and words is confusing for some
d) The confusion caused by the switching back and forth is such a distraction that the messages and meanings are lost or, better yet, never found.

This morning, I had a brainstorm as to how to avoid the switching back and forth (the bookmarks help them find the JST but don't solve the switching back and forth) and more importantly, how to have my students gain understanding and find meaning in the messages.

This method took no advance preparation or extra supplies.

At the beginning of class, I divided my students in groups of 2.
In each group, I asked one student to turn to John in the New Testament and the other to turn to John in the JST.
Then they put their books side by side (some put theirs one above the other)

It was very effective for them to see each scripture at the same time. The students were able to compare words, meanings, and clarifications with ease. As a result of their understanding the messages, they gave meaningful input which created a discussion that demonstrated to me that a few lights were turning on in their understanding. At the end of our study, a few of my students even turned to both the New Testament and JST in their own scriptures and highlighted some points that were important to them.

Another noted benefit was have a "study buddy". If one was not sure where to look or what to read, they helped each other.

This method would  also work when the reading calls for several footnotes and cross-references. The two students could keep one book on the main scripture while they use the other book to turn the pages to the references.

***I will note that in our class, we use paper scriptures. It is the best choice for our class. Many of my students don't have their own electronics and I find it is important that we are all on the same page, literally and figuratively.
We do have  "Tech Tuesday" where we use electronic scriptures, lds. org, mormon.org, etc. so that my students who do have their own portable electronic devices understand how  and where to search for answers. Most of them have access to a computer of some sort and hopefully, "Tech-Tuesdays" will inspire them to use sites that will help them search and find answers to their Gospel and Doctrinal questions.

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