The Rewards of Being a Teacher/Facilitator for UBIS

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version
David Elders

By David Elders, Darien, Connecticut, USA

Even after taking three Urantia Book Internet School (UBIS) online courses followed by a teacher/facilitator training course administered by Dorothy Elder, a founder of UBIS, and despite my having read and studied The Urantia Book for more than 40 years, it was not without a large helping of trepidation that I agreed to teach my first course.

As I began to develop the course, Michael’s Seven Bestowals: Revealing the Will of the Supreme, I learned that a teacher/facilitator is not left alone to sink or swim. Unseen just beneath the surface of the UBIS online school, a structure of experienced and thoughtful personalities, systems, and procedures has been built to assist the teacher/facilitator, whether a first-timer or an old hand, to provide a course experience of value for readers of The Urantia Book.

A UBIS course is 11 weeks long, broken down into registration followed by four basic two-week study periods and ending with a summary week. Each teacher/facilitator develops six questions based on The Urantia Book paper assignment for the first week of each study period and then facilitates and stimulates student discussion the second week of each period. Finally the course ends with the creation of four essay titles during the summary week.

Nearly three months before a course begins the Curriculum Review Committee evaluates the teacher/facilitator course elements—course description, selected readings in The Urantia Book (4-5 Papers), and initial questions—and makes appropriate suggestions. Even after my course was approved I worked to fine-tune my questions fueled by the anxious desire to offer an edifying course.

Teaching a course seems like a lot of work, and it is. But my recent experience confirms the ample rewards that accompany the work. Not only is there great satisfaction in the process of facilitating the search for truth by a dedicated group of fellow readers of The Urantia Book; even more, I found I learned a lot, A LOT, about the content of my course.

Questions are a vital part of UBIS educational pedagogy, and in my view, are designed to meet several criteria: 1) to encourage a careful reading of the selections from The Urantia Book; 2) to satisfy the need for a multi-dimensional mindal challenge (I used fact, meaning, and value as a guide); and 3) to stimulate discussion. The balance is delicate. Whereas strictly factual questions generate true or false answers, questions demanding more interpretive or personal responses can result in opinions that may not be consistent with the teachings of The Urantia Book. When that happens, an important UBIS guiding principle comes into play—the teacher/facilitator fosters discussion to reach understanding without offering an authoritative or personal interpretation.

At the end of my first teacher/facilitator experience, there is at least one lingering question: Is there a difference in the process of facilitating the learning of newly revealed truth versus the teaching of evolutionary knowledge already in human consciousness? I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

The students in my class rose to the occasion and contributed insights that enriched the course for all of us. At the same time they provided me with actual teacher/facilitator experience that I hope will make me better at it the next time. In any case, for me, the entire experience was well worth it.

Foundation Info

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Urantia Foundation, 533 W. Diversey Parkway, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
Tel: +1-773-525-3319; Fax: +1-773-525-7739
© Urantia Foundation. All rights reserved