Time to Review

For next week’s session, I plan to do a review of what we have covered so far. We’re at a transition point between units and I’d like to be able to reinforce some of the important concepts that we’ve covered so far.

The Finding God Catechist Guide that I’m using comes with Blackline Masters that include unit tests. The program I teach in does not do testing per se (except for an assessment at the end of the program) so I plan to use the tests from units 1 and 2 as a review.

Repetition is very important in any form of education. Education experts tell us that it is rare for people to effectively learn something new with only one exposure. Research shows that repetition is crucial to the “wiring” of the brain. In other words, it is through repetition that the forming of connections (synapses) between brain cells takes place.

Centuries ago, St. Ignatius of Loyola understood the importance of repetition in learning. In fact, repetition is considered a hallmark of Jesuit education. In 1599, the Jesuits published a handbook, Ratio Studiorum, to help teachers and administrators in Jesuit schools. The Ratio identifies repetition as key to Jesuit methodology. Here’s how one Jesuit website describes the role of repetition:

Repetition is the time afforded to reviewing a subject. Repetition, however, is not simply review or rehashing already learned material. Repetition always carries with it the idea of deeper appropriation and understanding of the material already learned.

I know that many of us catechists feel pressure to “move on to the next topic” so that we can be sure we’ve “covered it all.” However, it does little good to cover it all if none of it has sunk in. Take a pause occasionally to review – to do some repetition – so that new learnings are reinforced.

About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.


  1. My method: two questions (with answers) printed on mailing labels each week and stuck on the back of their notebooks, each week. We review all of the preceding questions at the beginning of the lesson, ala the Baltimore Catechism. They can read right from the labels if they have to…

    We are doing Old Testament (lite, of necessity) each week has a question about the stories, and one about how it applies to us as Christians. They also get a label with the proclamation of the lesson (Scripture verse). They love the stickers. I have used them with all ages.

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