By Utah National Parks Council
Jul 23, 2017

Let Them Lead: The Teaching EDGE

The goal of every gospel teacher is to teach the pure doctrine of the gospel, by the Spirit, in order to help God’s children build their faith in the Savior and become more like Him.

Gordon B. Hinckley taught,

“Effective teaching is the very essence of leadership in the Church. Eternal life will come only as men and women are taught with such effectiveness that they change and discipline their lives. They cannot be coerced into righteousness or into heaven. They must be led, and that means teaching” (“How to Be a Teacher When Your Role as a Leader Requires You to Teach,” General Authority Priesthood Board Meeting, 5 Feb. 1969).

Prepare yourself spiritually

Family and church leaders serve the Lord by helping others learn the gospel. The Savior was the perfect teacher; we should work to teach in the Savior’s way.

Think of the best gospel teachers you’ve had. What did they do as they taught to help participants learn and feel the spirit?

How can you help the youth become better teachers?


Prayerfully study these scriptures and resources. What will help the youth learn the Teaching EDGE?

Other resources from your personal experience and inspiration

Teaching in the Savior’s way

View: Teaching Each Other to see how the teachers helps those they teach, teach each other.

The Savior loved those He taught. He knew their interests, hopes, and desires and what was happening in their lives. What can you do to understand the dreams and goals of the youth you teach? How will this influence the way you teach them?

Materials Needed

Make connections

During the first few minutes of each session, help the youth make connections between  various other back home settings (such as personal study, seminary, other Church classes, or experiences with their friends). Also see if youth can recall the leadership sessions (communication, vision, goals, planning, team development and leading EDGE) up until this point and express how their new skills are helping them at Mutual activities. Can you help them see relevance to these things in gospel living? The ideas below might help:

  • Ask the youth to think about a time in which they have felt the Spirit during a Church class, in seminary, or in a family home evening. What did the teacher do to invite the Spirit?
  • Invite the youth to list the opportunities they have to teach others. Prompt them to include informal, unplanned teaching moments, as well as formal teaching assignments. Write on the board, “What does it mean to teach by the Spirit?” Invite the youth to ponder, throughout the lesson, how they would answer this question as it relates to the teaching opportunities they have listed. At the end of the lesson, invite them to share their thoughts. 

Learn Together

Each of the activities below can help the youth understand the foundation of leadership embedded in the Young Women Values and Scout Oath & Law, receive an introduction to servant leadership, and come to understand the concept of EDGE in leading.

  1. List and describe the four steps of the Teaching EDGE
    Choose from these activities:

    • Pick any new skill that most of your campers will not know (i.e. how to use a GPS).
      • Explain what the skill is for, how and why it is useful and how to make it work
      • Demonstrate the skill, show how it is used
      • Guide let the campers try the skill, watch them closely, helping as needed
      • Enable as soon as one of them gets it have them start guiding others
    • Explain, Demonstrate, Guide, Enable . . . The first letters of those words spell EDGE. This teaching method is called the Teaching EDGE. {Write this on the flipchart or reveal a chart with it already written}
      Discuss EDGE with the group. Ask them to share their ideas on the importance of each step of the Teaching EDGE:

      • Explaining is important because it clarifies the subject for the learner AND for the instructor. That’s why I began teaching GPS use by explaining how the GPS receiver works.
      • Demonstrating is important because it allows learners to see as well as hear how something is done. They can follow the process from beginning to end. That’s why I showed you the steps in finding your current location using the GPS receiver.
      • Guiding is important because it allows learners to learn by doing. It allows the instructor to see how well learners are grasping the skill. That’s why I had you use the GPS receiver to determine your location while I coached you through the process.
      • Enabling is important because it allows learners to use the skills themselves. It also encourages repetition—an important part of mastering a skill. That’s why I encouraged you to keep using the GPS receiver even though I had stepped into the background. I wanted you to keep practicing until you really owned the skill.

      Talk briefly about the importance of repetition. No one learned to play a piece on a musical instrument by playing it just once. No athletic team practiced only once before the first game of a season.
      Repeating a skill helps make it real for a learner. He gains possession of it. It becomes his own. With enough repetition, you can learn a skill well enough to teach it to others—a clear sign that you really have mastered the information.
      Ask: Can you think of examples of the Savior or Church Leaders who teach like this?

    • Other activities to demonstrate the teaching EDGE as you are inspired
  2. Recognize the importance of using effective communication skills as tools for teaching..
    Choose from these activities:

    • Have the youth select one of the following questions: Why is it important to teach by the Spirit? How does the Spirit bless us as teachers? How does the Spirit bless those we teach? What should we do to invite the Spirit in our teaching? Ask each class member to read a scripture about teaching by the Spirit (such as those suggested in this outline) and find in the scripture an answer to the question he or she selected. Give class members an opportunity to share their scripture and the answers they found.
    • Prayerfully select sections from Teaching, No Greater Call,pages 40–48, that you feel would help the youth understand what it means to teach by the Spirit. Divide the class into small groups, and ask each group to read one of those sections together and make a list of things they can do to teach by the Spirit. Invite the groups to share with each other what they learned, and encourage them to add to their lists as they listen to the other groups. Ask them to ponder how they can apply what they learned in a future teaching opportunity.
    • As a class, read Elder Richard G. Scott’s experiences onpages 41 and 42 of Teaching, No Greater Call. Ask the youth to contrast the two experiences. Why was the Holy Ghost present during the first lesson? What was different about the second lesson? Invite the youth to share how they plan to apply what they learn from these experiences the next time they have an opportunity to teach others.
    • Give each class member a copy of “The Power of the Spirit in Conversion” fromPreach My Gospel (pages 92–93). Ask them to read it individually, looking for answers to the question, “What does it mean to teach by the Spirit?” Invite them to share what they find. Ask the youth why they feel it is important to know about this now, before they serve full-time missions. Encourage them to complete the “Personal Study” and “Scripture Study” activities on their own (if possible, you could give them time in class to begin). Invite them to make note of anything that inspires them as they read these scripture and share them with the class in a future lesson.
    • Other activities to demonstrate the importance of communication in teaching as you are inspired
  3. Using “The Teaching EDGE and Group Development,” discuss using different methods of teaching/leading depending on a team’s stage of development. The stages of group development play an important role when using the EDGE model for teaching—Explaining, Demonstrating, Guiding and Enabling.

Invite to Act

Lead a reflection on this session to help the group bring out these points or others they found important:

  • EDGE is a useful model in lesson planning
  • EDGE plays a role in effective teaching by meeting learners needs

Ask the youth what they think they need to do back home with the concepts in this session. Give the youth 10 minutes to consider ways they will apply the concepts discussed. Ask them to journal their thoughts.

Do they need to make changes in their vision and goals? Does their class or quorum need to talk about their stage of team development? Do they need to help the leader use EDGE better?

Invite a few of them to share what they have written after the pause.

Discuss with the youth what their next skill application challenge will be. Ask them to consider how what they’ve learned about the Teaching EDGE applies to the challenge. Encourage them to apply their new skills and ideas to the activity.

This series was adapted from National Youth Leader Training to help leaders teach LDS youth leadership skills so that those leaders can confidently “Let Them Lead.”

Authors: Maria Milligan and Darryl Alder | LDS NYLT writing team; at Utah National Parks Council, Maria is Chief of Staff and Darryl is Strategic Initiatives Director. Together they help LDS Stakes meet their camping and training needs in a customized basis.


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