project  lesson  plans



The following lessons plans were constructed prior to program implementation and evaluated by Allen Jackson and Vance Drum as seen in appendix 1.[124]  They were used as guides throughout the program's seven sessions.  Each lesson had an objective, a devotion, and a guide on how and when to present the overheads.  The format and layout were designed to aid the director in the presentation.

Essentially and unless otherwise noted, at the beginning of each session the participants were given a set of handouts that were duplicates of most of the overheads and the substance of appendix 3.  During the first session, the participants were given a manila envelope so that they could keep track of the accumulating lesson handouts.  At the close of the last session, a colored coversheet and table of contents were given, and the accumulated handouts were stapled together into a handbook. 

At the end of each session, a homework assignment of two parts was given for the first six sessions.  The first homework assignment was for the participant's personal application of the day's lesson.  The second homework assignment was a discrimination exercise.  In the exercise, the participants were asked to read a helping scenario and rank each of four different responses.[125]  The homework assignments were reviewed on the following Saturday in a facilitated class discussion. 

Throughout the presentation of the program, the director chronicled his observations and reflections on the use of the lesson plan and the responses to the class presentations and interaction.  Those observations were placed in appendix 8.


Program Lesson Plans


Day 1:  Part 1:  The Foundation--Overview and Attending Skills         Time:  3 hours


Objective:  To help students understand the entire program and to develop their ability to use attending skills set #1 of body language through instruction, observation, and use in class


[Before the program began, place manila folders on the participants' tables and have #1.1:  Title[126] showing.  After everyone has entered, the director will lead in a prayer.]



Biblical Devotional #1:  Biblical Love


[Present blank overhead.  Ask the participants to share why they are here.  On a blank overhead write the responses for everyone to see.]


[Present #1.2:  Devotion #1:   Biblical Love.]


          In reply to the question as to which law was the greatest, Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-40,


"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it:  "Love your neighbor as yourself."  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.


          Love is the supreme and principal Christian virtue.  As love is defined throughout the Bible [point to the examples in the overhead], notice how love empowers and becomes the most significant force behind all healthy relationships.  Notice that we emphasize "healthy."  If a person is to be truly healthy, and live a balanced life, then that person will be loving God and loving his or her brother.


          The key to the healthiest life and the most fulfilling life is love.  Love of God and of each other.  As Matthew said, these are the two greatest commandments.  More than that, all of the law is fulfilled in those commandments to love.  And even more than that, God himself is love.


          From these passages we come to understand that love is the supreme, the principal Christian virtue.  Love becomes the single most important guiding factor in all of our life.  In our spiritual life, love should be the uppermost focus.  In our life among others on this earth, love should be the uppermost focus.


          What then is this love?  How do you know when it takes place?  What are the components or the behaviors that say, "Hey, this person loves me"?


          When love is exhibited, care is extended to a person.  In order to love from the heart, we must know the loved person.  To know the loved person, we must listen to their inner struggles.  Only as we come to know the loved one--and only then--can we learn how to love him or her.  So in order to truly love people, we must know how to listen to their inner struggles. 


          If one does not hear the inner struggles of the loved person, one will not be able to see the inner needs of the loved person.  Getting to know someone takes time, patience, and endurance.  Until you or I have the courage to listen and hear the inner struggles of our brothers and sisters, how can we say that we love them? 


          Therefore, listening is one of the most important facets to love.  As you listen in love, you liberate the hurting person.  When you wisely love and wisely listen to a hurting person, that person will slowly become liberated from their burden.  Here is a key principle that can illustrate how listening liberates: 


[Present #1.3:  Love, Listening, Liberating Principle.]


          When we divide love and listening by wisdom, we will liberate our brothers and sisters. 


          Love is the supreme virtue.  Listening is one of the most significant skills of love, for in listening we come to understand the loved one.  Let me say it this way:  only by listening will we come to understand the loved one.  As we understand, we are enabled to love them more deeply in proportion to our knowledge of their needs.


          This is easy and imponderable at the same time.  Love and listening, divided by wisdom, will liberate the loved one.  This is the nature of helping to carry your brother's burden.  When we offer ourselves to each other in crisis and in victory, we can joy and cry together.  This is the essence of love.  To be heard by others and to hear others in their inner most struggles--and to walk with them in their struggles‑‑this is love.


          We can all listen a little.  We all listen to some extent.  Listening is one skill of love, and we can always learn more about this skill.  Because listening is one of the skills of love, as we improve our listening skills, we shall also improve our ability to express love.


          That is what this program will do:  it will help you improve your listening skills.  With the improvement, our ability to express love will increase.



I.  Love, Listening, and Liberating Introduction


A.  Listening Self-Knowledge


          Listening is the key to helping and learning the needs of others.  The following exercise should reveal what you believe about listening.  Everyone can learn to listen better. 


[Present #1.4:  Listening Self-Knowledge, facilitate exercise, and invite participation in answers.]


B.  Outline of Entire Program


          Listening involves at least three fundamental areas:  (1) a foundation in attending, (2) an interpersonal bridge of self-disclosure, and (3) the connection of empathy.  The program will involve training in these three parts.


[Present #1.5:  Program Outline and briefly discuss the program.]


          [Ask the participants to share what they think they will learn in the program from looking at the three parts of the program.]


C.  Overview on the Importance of Listening in General


[Present #1.6:  Allen Ivey's Principles, ask for volunteers to read each principle, and invite feedback on each principle read.]


[Present #1.7a:  Who Has Been Heard?, facilitate exercise, and invite participants to share experiences of having been heard.]


          Empathy is so rich.  Anyone who has known true love has seen some kind of empathy.  Empathy is an intensive way of listening.  Both listening and empathy are parts of love and are actions of love.  When we listen and listen deeply and from the heart, we are loving.  When we try to place ourselves in the shoes of others‑‑empathizing‑‑we are loving.  Let's look at what others have said about walking in your brother's shoes.


[Present #1.7b:  What the Professionals Say About Empathy, ask for volunteers to read each statement (the director reads the statement by Rogers), and invite feedback on a few of the statements.]


          Notice the focus on the other person and the naturalness.  Empathy, like ministry, is a way of life, a way of being with people.  While empathy is a skill, someone who truly loves will express or attempt to express empathy as a natural way of relating.  Someone who does not love cannot express true empathy. 


          Walking in someone's shoes is a skill.  A con man can have this skill, and his agenda will be to get what he can out of the other person's shoes as he walks in them.  But someone who loves walks in another person's shoes in order to understand, and then they would use that understanding to help.


          These may appear to be complicated right now, especially if you are not normally very empathic.  This prison environment is certainly not built to foster much empathy, and at times the environment is anti-empathic.  Nevertheless, as you saw in the program outline, this is where we will be going. 


          This week, read and look over these, then just set them aside.  We will look at them at a later time in the program.  Suffice it to be said that empathy is the ability to walk in
someone else's shoes





II.  Attending Skills Set #1:  Body Language and S-O-L-E-R


A.  Our Communication


[Prepare a student beforehand to share with the director an important experience as the director exhibits non-attending behavior.  The student is instructed to keep on talking despite the poor attending behavior of director.  Afterwards, the students are asked to share their impressions of non-attending behavior.]


[Present #1.8:  Our Communication.]


          Body language includes posture, eye contact, hand positions, and other body movements.  Some estimates indicate that 85% of our communication is nonverbal.[127]  That means that "What we say" is not nearly as important as "how we say it."


          Culturally appropriate body language will vary from individual to individual and from culture to culture.  A good listener will gauge how close he or she can come and what affect touching may have.  Some people like and need some kind of touching that others will find offensive.  What experience do you have of a different culture's body language, eye contact, and use of touching?  [Facilitate discussion.]


B.  Attending Skills Set #1:  Body Language and S-O-L-E-R


[Present #1.9:  S-O-L-E-R.]


          The acronym, "S-O-L-E-R,"[128] can be used to summarize the first set of attending skills.  [Explain each item.]


C.  Assignment #1 on Attending Skills Set #1:  Body Language


[Present #1.10a:  Assignment #1:  Attending Skills Set #1:  Body Language.]


          Your assignment this week is to record your observations on attending skills, set #1:  body language.  This is a seeing and doing exercise.  Throughout the week, observe the body language of those around you in your job, recreation, or living quarters.  As you observe them, record your observations on a few persons.  Answer the questions on your worksheet.  You can use any interaction you observe of any person.  Do not use personal names.


          Here is an example of poor attending:  


I saw these two brothers talking.  One was clearly excited.  But the other was saying, "Ok, ok, that's great," but he just continued to look down and away.  His body language was clearly revealing that he was anxious to leave.  His mind was on something else.


          Read this exercise over several times today.  Throughout the week, look for examples to record.  You might think about writing several on the scratch sheets of paper, then recording them later for class use.  Be prepared to share your observations.  You may use any interaction you observe on the unit, only do not share the personal names in class.


          However, do start today.  This is not as easy as it sounds.  Listening is hard work, and attempting to record your listening is even harder work.  Notice that these are observations of positive and negative behaviors of people (not judgments of people) and observations of your own positive and negative actions and behaviors.


          The best way to get the most out of the program is to go over the material during the week.  Look at the material several times.


[Present #1.10b:  Assignment #2:  Discrimination Exercise.]


          Look at this discrimination exercise.  Think hard on this before you complete it.  This is difficult.  The best way is to read all of the responses before deciding, and then look for the worst response.  When you have found the worst response, mark a
"1" in the space. 


          Then choose the best response and mark a "4" in the space.  Then chose the next best response and mark a "3" in the space and so forth.


          Remember that this is a helping skills exercise.  You should not talk over the responses during the week with others in the program until you have worked through them yourself first.  After you have worked through them, you can talk about them.


          Do not talk over the responses with anyone else that is outside of the program.


          Do take your time on this.  To discriminate in this manner takes some hard thinking and deep feeling.


[Present #1.11:  Discrimination Exercise Code and field questions about assignment.]


          The best way to get the most out of the program is to go over the material every week.  There will be a lot of material accumulating, and the whole program is progressive.  That means it will get a little harder as we move into the use of empathy skills.  So to maximize your learning, take some time to review each day's material before the following sessions commence.  Good luck and God's blessings to you.


[Close in Prayer]



Day 2:  part 1:  The Foundation--Attending Skills Set #2 Time:  3 hours


Objective:  To help students develop their ability to use attending skills sets #1 and #2 through instruction and by use of case study scenarios in class


[Before everyone enters, present #1.1:  Title.  After everyone has entered, the director invites two to lead in prayer.]


Biblical Devotional #2:  No Greater Love


[Present #2.1:  Devotion #2:  No Greater Love.]


          In John 15, Jesus talked at length about love.  By obeying him, we remain in his love just as Christ remained in his Father's love.  More than this though, Jesus commands us to love just as he himself loved.


          That is a tall order.  Not only does he command us to love, but Jesus also gives us an example of the kind of love he expects.  The kind of love that Jesus expects is not simply the fulfilling of the commandments.  The kind of love that Jesus expects is more than the fulfilling of the commandments.


          The commandments demand that we do and not do some things.  But Jesus goes beyond them all and gives us the highest example of love. 


My command is this:  Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.


There is little question about the meaning of this verse.  No translation of the Bible confuses this verse.  Everyone knows what it means.  There is no greater love than the giving of one's life.


          More than money and gifts, when we give someone our time, we are giving someone of our life.  When you sit and listen with an attending and non-judgmental attitude, when you or I give someone else a listening and attentive ear‑‑we are giving a piece of our time, a piece of our life.


          When we talk, talk, talk‑‑we are not giving our time.  We are making expectations or selling something or trying to give advice.  When we are talking and talking and talking‑‑we are not giving our
time.  We are consuming the time of others. 


          But when we listen.  When we are attending to another without judgment and without giving of advice.  When we just exhibit an interest, we are giving of our time.  When we give our time and just listen, we are giving a piece of our life to another.


          When the person we are listening to is hurt and frustrated‑‑and not just giving us advice‑‑then when we are listening and attending to their pain, we are saying that for this particular time you are the most important person to me.  When we listen without judgment, we are saying that your life is more important than my life at this time. 


          This is the gift of my life to another.  This is loving.  Just listening is the gift of your life to another for the time being.



I.  Follow-up:  Attending Skills Set #1:  Body Language Assignment


[124]Q.v., appendix 1 for copies of the evaluations by Jackson and Drum.

[125]Adapted from Robert Carkhuff and Don Benoit, Trainer's Guide for The Art of Helping VII (Amherst, MA: Human Resource Development, 1993): 109-21.  See appendix 3, overheads #1.10b, #2.7b, #3.10b, #4.5b, #5.6b, and #6.7b.

[126]All of the numbered items refer to both an overhead and a handout.  Throughout the program, whenever mention is made about the presentation of a numbered item, an overhead and handout designated by the same number will have already been given or given at the time the overhead is presented.

[127]Ivey, Basic Attending Skills 19.

[128]Egan, The Skilled Helper, 5th ed., 108-109.