By ANNIE HINRICHS
The Church Education System has been working on new curriculum during the past two years for their seminary programs. The new Teacher Resource and Student Study Guide manuals will be implemented into classrooms this school year.
Randy Bird, manager of seminary curriculum for the church says the new materials are a resource, and not a lesson plan.
“It is a curriculum based upon our philosophy of teaching. It teaches the gospel of Jesus Christ from the scriptures and prophets. It’s sequential. It contains ideas that will enhance students’ readiness, involvement, and application,” said the curriculum team in a letter sent to seminary teachers.
Bird said this new curriculum is principle based and is for the world wide church, not just one geographical area. The material is presented in such a way that what works in one area of the world will work in another.
Elder Henry B. Eyring, commissioner of the Church Education System, spoke of the new curriculum in a talk entitled “The Lord Will Multiply the Harvest” given February 6, 1998. He said that the new curriculum follows President J. Reuben Clark’s counsel which is “to teach the fundamental doctrines of the Church as contained in the standard works and the teachings of the prophets.”
“Every lesson plan, every suggestion for what to teach and how to teach it is prepared according to that principle. Those called by the prophet to assure the correctness of doctrine taught in the Church review every word, every picture, every diagram in that curriculum which you receive. We can unlock the power of the curriculum simply by acting on our faith that it is inspired of God,” Eyring said in his talk.
This year students will be studying the Old Testament, where the manuals will follow a pattern of helping the students to search, analyze, and then apply the information they are learning, said Dennis Leavitt. Leavitt is one of the six writers on the curriculum team and a former seminary teacher at West Jordan High School.
“We are seminary and institute teachers basically. We’ve taught in different areas and have been brought in on a temporary basis,” Leavitt said. “We each have our strengths and talent areas. When we are all put together, we make a really good team”.
The team not only includes six local writers, but six field writers all over the world. Their goal is to complete a manual in time for each school year. Currently the New Testament manual is being printed, and the Book of Mormon manual is being edited. They are now working on the Doctrine and Covenants manual.
“It’s long process, but it makes high quality material,” said Leavitt. Leavitt, along with the others, want to return to teaching after the project is complete.