How Closely Do You Follow Your Textbook?

We catechists are blessed in this day and age to have many fine catechetical textbooks from a variety of Catholic publishers. The General Directory for Catechesis reminds us however that there is no substitute for the person of the catechist. I know that when I teach, I think of my text book as a guide and a resource but I also do a lot of “ad lib” and bring in a variety of activities that […]

The Role of the Male Catechist

I mentioned to Kathy (see comments on Catechist’s Role Description) that I didn’t think I could be a good 1st grade catechist and I admire those who are. Very few men are catechists in the first place and when they are, like me, they predominantly serve junior high. I’m often concerned about catechesis being either too feminine or too masculine, depending on the catechist. Perhaps the solution is to have more team-teaching with male/female catechists […]

Role Description for Catechists

When asked to consider being a catechist, many people hesitate, wondering if they’ve got what it takes. On the one hand, not just anybody can be a catechist. Certain skills, talents, gifts, and knowledge of the faith are needed. On the other hand, you don’t have to have advanced degrees in theology and education to thrive as a catechist. Here’s what I would consider as the basic “requirements” for serving as a catechist: Qualities:  a desire […]

Catechists on the Move

Do you sit still when you teach? I can’t and almost never do. Part of it is just my own style…I like to move around. But I also recommend it to catechists for several reasons. One, I think it keeps kids more engaged if you are “on the move.” Visually, if you are moving around, you are creating a sense of energy and enthusiasm. If you’re sitting still, it is more likely to look tired. Two, […]

Honoring Dr. King

Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I think that this is a wonderful opportunity to explore various aspects of the Gospel, in particular: love of enemies, turning the other cheek, social justice, and non-violence to name a few. I know that some catechists resist connecting their lessons to Dr. King because he was not Catholic. To me, that’s not only a missed opportunity, but a shame. Dr. King’s life and legacy represent a […]

Memorization and Catechesis

I mentioned recently that I will be checking to see if my students have memorized (taken to heart) certain prayers outlined in the parish curriculum. I grew up at a time when memorization in catechesis had fallen upon hard times. Sure, I learned the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be, but not much else. As a result, I grew up deprived of quick access to a major part of our Catholic Tradition. I recall […]

What's This Obsession with FUN?

As I surf around various web pages and blogs where catechists are in discussion with one another, I can’t help but notice an obsession that many catechists have with the idea of making their classes FUN. Now, before you start thinking that I’m some kind of sourpuss, let me explain that I know what catechists are talking about. They are concerned when kids are bored and rightly so. However, I think that our goal is […]

Assessment in Catechesis: Authentic Assessment

Authentic assessment is exactly what the name implies: it is genuine and real. Authentic assessment is performance-based: learners put into action what they’ve been learning. Beyond being able to speak or write about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, learners must have opportunities to live out the call to discipleship. Service Experiences—Provide suggestions for specific ways that your learners can put their faith into practice serving others, either individually or as a […]

Assessment in Catechesis: Informal Assessment

Informal assessment asks the question: What can you do with what you know and how do you do it? Ongoing—Include opportunities to assess your participants’ grasp of concepts by observing their participation in discussions, group work, prayer/reflection, and service to others. Specific Tasks—Include specific opportunities to evaluate verbal (oral and written) and non-verbal (drawn, crafted, etc.) expressions and responses. These need not be quizzes or tests but may simply be activities that invite your participants […]

Assessment in Catechesis: Formal Assessment

A formal assessment asks the question: What do you know or understand? This type of assessment, accomplished in either written or oral forms, models Jesus’ attempts to assess his disciples’ understanding of his teaching and actions. When using quizzes or tests, keep the following in mind: Make sure that the items included on your quizzes or tests are consistent with the learning outcomes for your lessons. Provide your learners with opportunities for self-assessment. In other […]

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