Professional educators know that, for learning to be effective, it needs to be an active experience. Active learning ensures that learners actively engage and participate in the learning process by doing something other than simply listening and then, of course, thinking about what they are doing. Active learning is learner-centered as opposed to teacher-centered. I talk about this in my recent post: Shining the Spotlight on Those We Teach.
What this means for us as catechists is that, in our planning, we should not be asking, “What will I be doing?” but rather, “What will my learners be doing?” The following chart illustrates the various levels of “doing” that a catechist should strive to elicit from his or her learners, each level being more complex than the previous.
|If you want your participants to…
|Use key words such as the following in your learning outcomes
|Example: After this lesson, the participants will be able to…
|Recognize or recall facts and information and knowledge
fill in label
|list the seven sacraments.
|Demonstrate an understanding
|explain the meaning of the symbol of water in Baptism.
|Apply what is learned to new situations
|draw a picture of an experience of reconciliation in their lives.
|Pick out important points
separate break down
|categorize the seven sacraments into Sacraments of Initiation, Healing, and at the Service of Communion.
|Combine concepts into something new
put together integrate
|assemble a prayer aid for the celebration of one of the seven sacraments.
|Judge and evaluate ideas based on standards
|evaluate a sample homily for a Confirmation Mass in relation to its use of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, the symbols of the bishop, or the symbols of the Rite of Confirmation.
To get a solid overview of a variety of active learning strategies that work for specific age groups, I strongly encourage you to view my archived webinars on Getting Started as a Catechist.
Also, be sure to take a look at this wonderful kit of activities called Expand the Experience.
For your next lesson, what will your learners be doing?
Prepare your catechetical sessions with the Christ Our Life Online Lesson Planner, which incorporates the learning outcomes for each chapter to help you focus your sessions.