BYU professor counsels students to be more teachable


Melissa Heath, an associate professor of counseling psychology and special education, spoke to students and faculty Tuesday about becoming more teachable.

Heath offered four strategies for becoming more teachable. First, “stick to the gospels’s fundamental principles.”

Heath explained in life we are sometimes overwhelmed by the shear amount of information available to us. “One important life-long skill is being able to prioritize information and focus on the most important pieces,” Heath said.

Christ taught by breaking the gospel down and highlighting the most important aspects. “His words and actions provided the perfect example for us to follow,” Heath said.

Heath also emphasized being obedient is essential.

“Obedience keeps our minds open to learning and feeling the love of our Savior and Heavenly Father,” Heath said. “When we are reading the scriptures, we must listen carefully and learn fundamental principles as if we were sitting at the prophet’s knee.”

In Heath’s second strategy, “have a grateful heart,” she shared her gratitude as a Texan for the beautiful mountains in Utah and how they inspired her to offer prayers of gratitude more regularly.

“Feelings of gratitude soften our hearts and opens our minds to learning,” Heath said. “Choosing to have a grateful heart is an important strategy because it prepares our hearts to be open to the Spirit.”

The third strategy Heath recommended is to conquer pride by choosing to be humble.

“When we are humble we are ready to listen and follow the Lord’s direction,” Heath said.”Pride makes us deaf to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.”

She counseled pride destroys unity and oneness, keeps us from confessing our sins and squelches our physical and spiritual ability to learn.

“Sadly, the prideful are easily offended,” Heath said. “Their learning and all interpersonal relationships in this life are stunted.”

Re-calibrating and getting back on track was Heath’s final strategy.

“From a spiritual sense, when we realize we are going in the wrong direction, we must stop and get back on track,” Heath said.  “The sooner, the better.”

In order to get back on track, Heath said we need to read the scriptures daily, pray daily and attend sacrament meeting. She said doing these things are basic and simple, but if we don’t do them our learning is stunted.

“When you fall, get back on track fast,” Heath said. “Contrary to Satan’s voice, our Savior wants all of us to repent as quickly as possible.”

Concluding her address, Heath asked students and faculty to trust God. “He knows us personally and wants us to become more teachable,” Heath said.

A previous edition said that the third strategy was becoming more teachable. It has been edited so that the third step is correct.  

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