Here’s my quick review of a little booklet for new catechists titled Teaching the Faith: A Catechist’s Guide to Classroom Management by Kim Duty (Paulist Press).
This is a handy little guide that gives new catechists an opportunity to become acquainted with the world of classroom management. What I like about it is its “You can do this!” approach to the task of catechesis.
In the Introduction, “From Me To You,” Duty offers a heartfelt message to new catechists to put them at ease if they are experiencing trepidation. What bothered me about this section, however, was that it dwells excessively on the negative feelings a new catechist may have and ignores the deep notion of the vocation of the catechist that the GDC and NDC emphasize.
Chapter 1: What Will The Children Be Like?
- This chapter offers a nice breakdown of the various age groups that catechists find themselves teaching along with the characteristics of these age groups.
Chapter 2: How Do children Learn?
- This chapter provides a good description of various learning styles: visual, auditory, kinesthetic and gives a succinct overview of multiple intelligences.
Chapter 3: How Should I Organize My Teaching Space?
- In attempting to provide an overview of how to organize a teaching space, Duty asks too many questions instead of just giving tips. New catechists already have these questions and are looking for suggestions and tips.
Chapter 4: How do I Manage My Class and Plan My Lessons?
- Here, Duty offers good tips for how to use a student text and catechist manual. What is missing is a brief explanation that the steps of a lesson constitute a catechetical process. Also, the chapter focuses on goals and objectives (what the catechist will do in a lesson) with no mention of learning outcomes (what the learners will do in a lesson)
Chapter 5: What Kids Wish You Knew?
- This chapter describes a variety of things that children need…it comes across as kind of a general pep talk for catechists.
Chapter 6: And Finally…Teaching
- Duty ends the booklet with a list of ABCs for new catechists. It contains some nice thoughts but overall, the whole ABCs thing is overdone and continues to reinforce the notion that being a catechist is a “cute” activity while missing the profound nature of the vocation of the catechist.
Overall, Kim Duty offers new catechists a handy little booklet that will help them to feel more at home in their new role while picking up some helpful hints for classroom management.
Finally, be aware that the booklet, at only 68 pages, sells for $8.95…not exactly a bargain for such a short work.
There are 2 other books in this series: Praying with Young People and Connecting with Parents which I’ll review in the days ahead.