I wear a pedometer to track the number of steps I take daily. It’s a fitness reminder, but I was surprised to notice that in one recent class period I had added almost 2,000 steps to my count! I knew I moved around a lot during class, but this was near one mile, which was more than I would have guessed.
Movement is important for catechists, not only for our own physical well-being, but for four faith formation and classroom management reasons.
1. Movement keeps young people on their toes.
It’s harder for students’ attention to wander when the teacher is moving, which leads to better behavior. Young people can’t hide from participation, because my moving means they will soon be in the line of sight again, and they might be the next person to whom I direct a question.
2. Movement is a good storytelling technique.
The best storytellers use motion. It shows their passion for the story and draws listeners in or builds suspense. Storytelling movement may be anything from acting out the story in a dramatic way to using simple arm gestures while seated at a table with friends.
3. Movement widens my perspective.
By moving around, I experience the gathering space from the kids’ perspective and make modifications as needed. For instance, can they read what I’ve written on the board from that seat near the corner? Is the audio too loud on a quiet guided reflection because the CD player is too close to those three desks near the prayer table?
4. My movement reminds me that it’s important to give young people opportunities for movement too.
The young people can’t move around for the full 90 minutes we have together, but when a lesson can incorporate movement, I try to take that opportunity. For instance, we might include prayerful actions while participating in a prayer service. Another simple idea is to play a true or false review game that can be answered by standing or sitting based on the correct response.
Whether or not you use a fitness tracker, think about how you use movement in your catechetical setting. What is your favorite game or activity that incorporates movement? Are there ways you can include liturgical movement in your sessions?