It was great to meet you in Winnipeg last month; your visit got me thinking about our parish’s catechetical confirmation prep. The candidates are in Gr. 9 (or as you folks say, ninth grade). I’m looking at implementing project based learning at the core of the process. Working in groups, the candidates would do things like preach at closing prayer, coordinate closing prayer, lead a catechesis session for the other candidates, plan a social event for the youth of the parish, fund-raise for a charity, or come up with a project of their own. In each case, they would have to seek out “experts” from our parish to answer their questions as they teach themselves how to do these Christian practices. Maybe this is a lot to ask of 14-year olds, but I’m less concerned with the finished product than I am with the process of figuring out how to do church together. Their projects could all fail, but they could end up learning more from their failures than sitting through lessons about systematic theology and church history. My question for you is, who would have experience with this kind of approach? What models or resources are out there for this kind of independent learning?
Hi Tom and thanks for your email. I had a wonderful time in Winnipeg and enjoyed meeting so many good folks.
I love your idea for a project based approach to confirmation. I personally don’t know anyone who is doing this right now. I wonder if I might put it out on my blog to see if someone can respond to your needs and give you some insights on their experience? Let me know.
It also occurs to me that you might want to explore what the Mormons do since I understand that they are very mission-based. In fact, I would recommend that you use that word – mission – as approached to project. We don’t do projects…we engage in mission. Also, you might want to think of arranging it in such a way that the research part of it takes place before Confirmation and the project takes place after so that it does not appear to be the completion of a requirement to receive the sacrament but an apprenticeship into our way of life. Just a thought.
Again, let me know if you want me to share your email with the readers of my blog.
Peace and blessings, joe