October 15, 2018
As a PathwayConnect student, you have the opportunity to be the “lead student” (or facilitator) of at least one of your weekly gatherings. There’s a good chance this may feel intimidating, but don’t worry —we’re here to help!
If you prepare effectively and try your best as a lead student, you will develop communication and leadership skills that will help you reach your educational and employment goals. To help you, here’s the Lead Student Survival Guide, a list of tips to help you have a fun and successful gathering!
1. Pray for guidance
The most important way to prepare to be a lead student is to begin your preparation with sincere prayer. God knows you personally and knows the unique ways you can impact those you teach. He will send promptings through the Holy Ghost as you prayerfully prepare. Be sure to act on those promptings!
2. Keep the end in mind
An effective way to begin a lesson plan is to visualize what you want your audience to gain from it. The lead student lesson plans describe what you and your classmates should be able to know, do, or become after the lesson. Help your classmates understand these goals and plan your lesson to meet them.
3. Plan engaging learning activities
We all know how painful it is to sit through a boring class. Other students will tend to enjoy class more when you make the lesson fun and inspiring. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Use visuals
- Plan engaging learning activities (i.e. the pair and share method)
- Ask thought-provoking questions
- Ask students to share insights and experiences
- Help the students see how the lesson applies to their lives
4. Ask for help
Remember that you are not alone in this responsibility. Your service missionaries are there to help you prepare and succeed. You can also talk to previous lead students and ask what worked for them— there’s a lot you can learn from someone who has already been a lead student!
5. Practice, practice, practice!
We’ve all heard that “practice makes perfect!” Try practicing your lesson with a friend or family member. This will help you be more confident when standing in front of your classmates. As you practice, remember to listen for the Holy Ghost’s guidance and to make appropriate changes to your lesson.
6. Understand and apply the lesson principles
You will be given sufficient time to prepare your lesson. Use that time wisely by applying the principles in your daily life beforehand. This will help you make connections between lesson principles and prepare you to facilitate an enriching discussion.
7. Get to know your peers and their goals
Think of the most inspirational leaders in your life — they are likely those who sought to know you personally and help you reach your goals. When you genuinely seek to know your classmates and to help them reach their goals, they will feel that and will be more likely to listen and participate in your lesson.
8. Be patient during silence
There may be times when you ask a question and all you hear are “crickets.” If you wait 10–15 seconds and still don’t receive a response, give an example and then open it up for discussion again. This gives students enough time to think of an insight to share.
9. Make students feel valued
Students want to feel that their contributions are valued. You can express this by listening carefully and attentively as they speak, expressing gratitude for their contributions, and validating their comments. By directly responding to your classmates’ questions and comments, you show that you care.
Whether you’ve been a lead student before or not, hopefully after reading this you’re feeling more confident!
Remember that God is with you. As you seek His guidance through the Holy Ghost and His will for the students, you will lead a successful gathering.
For more information on how to be a successful lead student, refer to the Lead Student Guide.