Mary Woodruff and Katie Steed, Counseling Psychology and Special Education
Sunday schools are primarily taught by devoted lay volunteers. Often times these individuals are willing
to help, but can have feelings of self-doubt and anxiety. These feelings can be felt at a greater magnitude
when a volunteer has a class that includes a student with a disability. In order for the teacher and student
to be edified during Sunday School, training videos on utilizing specific teaching skills and
accommodations were created.
Shade (2001) and Sampson (2004) have shown that even after 45 minutes of instruction on teaching
individuals with disabilities, a teacher’s confidence in their ability to instruct is often strengthened.
Knowing this directed us on how to best train Sunday school teachers. They need quality sources to turn
to that are easy to understand, applicable, and accommodating for the busy schedule of these volunteers.
If the teachers are prepared and understand how to apply certain teaching techniques they are better able
to help those members of the class with disabilities learn. When individuals with disabilities learn church
principles they are better able to explore their faith and better integrate into the congregation.
Katie Steed had previously filmed a training given to teachers seeking guidance in supporting students
with disabilities. This was transcribed and then various teaching techniques were identified such as wait
time, the use of visual aides, and the use of a class schedule. These were then synthesized in order to
create a more concise and efficient training tool for Sunday school teachers.
With the organized content, a collaborative meeting was held with the technology department at The
David O. McKay School of Education for further direction on the best way to film the teacher training
videos. Originally, we had wanted to create a 30 minute training video. In collaborating with the
technology department, we decided that it would be beneficial to create a series of teaching strategy
videos. These videos would each be about 1 minute in length in order to maintain attention span and share
concise instruction for Sunday school teachers looking for guidance.
We then wrote 10 scripts from the main teaching strategies identified in the original training video.
Filming took place on two separate dates. The first filming session was the filming of Katie Steed
speaking about each topic. For the second filming session we set up a Sunday school setting. A sunday
school teacher then demonstrated the different teaching strategies with students. Once the filming was
edited they were housed on Katie Steed’s website http://education.byu.edu/disabilities .
Results from this creative project include ten teacher training videos entitled “Teaching Strategies for
Children with Disabilities.” The series includes an introductory video to the series with nine teaching
strategy training videos. These nine videos teach and demonstrate how to implement various teaching
skills to support children of all abilities. The teaching strategies include techniques such as
attention-getter, stating the objective, understanding attention span, using visual aids, wait-time, active
participation, the use of music and drama, utilizing a class schedule, and implementing positive behavior
We were able to take these training films to The Summer Institute of Theology and Disability held in
Azusa, California. During our workshop we presented these videos as training tools available for the use
of all congregations. We then continued our workshop by going through a task analysis of how we created
the videos. Our hope was that those who attended the workshop would leave knowing what resources
were available and how they could create their own.
The training videos are currently housed on Katie Steed’s website http://education.byu.edu/disabilities .
They can also be found on Katie’s youtube channel:
These films have also received approved funding from the Quorum of the Seventy, of The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for Russian subtitles to be used for training purposes in Russia and
Belarus through LDS Charities.
The videos are also being used in the introduction to special education courses offered in our department
as well as in the curriculum and instruction courses.
To date, the videos have been viewed over 2,500 times.
In the process of creating these videos we became aware of what resources are already available to
teachers as they seek guidance in helping the students with disabilities in their Sunday school class. But
we also learned of the need for more tools for those who work with children with disabilities. There is a
demand from lay volunteers and ecclesiastical leaders for guidance in teaching the children in their
congregations. We also saw that a majority of the resources to help children access their faith targeted
younger age children rather than early teens and young adults. Understanding what resources are
available, how to create effective training films, and the demand for more resources helps direct improve
support for lay volunteer Sunday School teachers.
Training videos on specific teaching strategies to support children with disabilities in Sunday school were
created. The videos serve as a tool to Sunday school teachers in ways to best support the students with
disabilities in their class. By learning how to utilize these skills through training films, Sunday School can
become an edifying experience for the teacher and the students with disabilities.
1. Sampson, K. (2004). Instructing teachers of children with disabilities within The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints . Unpublished master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.
Retrieved from http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=6089&context=etd
2. Shade, R. (2001). General education and special educations preservice teacher’s attitudes towards
inclusion. Preventing School Failure, 46, 37-41.
3. Steed, K., & Woodruff, M. (2017, June). Utilizing online resources to support individuals with
disabilities in accessing their faith. Summer Institute on Theology & Disability. Azusa, CA.
4. Steed, K., & Woodruff, M. (2017). Teaching Strategies. Produced a series of short clips aimed at
providing training for effective teaching strategies for individuals with disabilities. Topics for
video clips included: Positive Behavior Supports, Attention Getter, Stating a Clear Objective,
Visual Aids, Active Participation and Using a Schedule as a Means to Help Reduce Anxiety.