One of the challenges we face as catechists is never having enough time in our classes. We want to do so many creative and meaningful things, especially related to prayer experiences, but we have barely enough time to cover the basic doctrine.
One approach that is gaining traction in faith formation is the “flipped-classroom.” This concept comes from the world of education and boils down to “flipping” the approach to teaching. Typically, content is delivered in the classroom and then students are given homework to expound upon and apply the knowledge. In the “flipped classroom” approach, instruction is delivered online (completed at home) and class time is used for creative and prayerful concept engagement and interactive activities to illustrate the concepts and build on their meaning.
Here’s how it works using the Finding God program as an example.
- films a brief video outlining the major concepts to be covered in the session.
- posts the video to YouTube on a channel set up by the parish RE program.
- sends an e-mail to the parents with a link to the video along with attachments, if desired, such as blackline masters and session assessments that they wish to assign.
The student works at home with his or her Finding God children’s book (and possibly parents) to complete the assignment.
When students come to the next session, they bring their completed work (BLMs, assessments) as “proof” of completing the assignment at home, and the catechist uses the class time to reinforce the concepts and to expand on them through creative interactive activities and prayerful reflection—all provided in the Finding God catechist manual.
To demonstrate how simply this can be done, I filmed a sample video (with no assistance from technical staff at Loyola Press and no teleprompters—just me and my smartphone, so that the average catechist can replicate what I’ve done) for a chapter of Finding God (Grade 6, Chapter 14). I posted it to YouTube and created the following sample e-mail for parents. Take a look and share your thoughts, comments, suggestions, and questions.
I’m happy to pass along a brief video for you to view with your child to have him or her prepare for our next session of religious education. You can view this together by clicking here.
As I describe in the video, in addition to reading the assigned Finding God pages, your child will also need to do the following:
- complete the attached Blackline Master (Session 14)
- complete an assessment by either
If you would like to work more closely with your child on the lesson, here is the link to the At-Home Guide for Chapter 14 (see pages 8–9).
As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me. Blessings.
Mr. Joe Paprocki
Grade 6 Catechist