Three Ways to Reduce Teacher Talk

Here are a few easy ways to simplify your communication in the classroom. [Find more ways to reduce teacher talk in The Adaptive Teacher.] Awareness and effort: Listen to yourself while giving instructions, and become more aware of the amount of verbiage you use. Ask yourself, How can I say this in fewer words? You’ll be amazed at how many extra, needless words are in your instructions. Become more comfortable with silence: Catechists and teachers […]

Entering Through Their Door & Knowing the Age Group You Teach: Intermediate Grades

Welcome to this installment of Entering Through Their Door & Knowing the Age Group You Teach, a series in which we look at the developmental stages of our learners. St. Ignatius of Loyola said that, when teaching or speaking to a group, it is always best to “enter through their door, but be sure to leave through your door.” His advice is that we need to meet learners where they are and move them to […]

Entering Through Their Door & Knowing the Age Group You Teach: Primary Grades

Welcome to this installment of Entering Through Their Door & Knowing the Age Group You Teach, a series in which we look at developmental stages of our learners. St. Ignatius of Loyola said that, when teaching or speaking to a group, it is always best to “enter through their door, but be sure to leave through your door.” His advice is that we need to take learners where they are and move them to the next […]

Best Practices for Creating a Welcoming Learning Environment

Create a welcoming learning environment in your parish or school with “an attitude that aims to receive and treat everyone in the same warm, friendly, and generous way” (Charleen Katra). Download a free poster of 20 best practices excerpted from The Adaptive Teacher: Faith-Based Strategies to Reach and Teach Learners with Disabilities by John E. Barone and Charleen Katra. Post this in the faculty lounge or another gathering space to remind teachers and catechists of […]

Entering Through Their Door & Knowing the Age Group You Teach: Early Childhood

Welcome to the first installment in our series, Entering Through Their Door & Knowing the Age Group You Teach, in which we will look at developmental stages of our learners. St. Ignatius of Loyola said that, when teaching or speaking to a group, it is always best to “enter through their door, but be sure to leave through your door.” His advice is that we need to take learners where they are and move them to the […]

More Microshifts for Catechists

Earlier this summer, we explored microshifts we can make as catechists to improve our ministry, inspired by Gary Jansen’s MicroShifts: Transforming Your Life One Step at a Time. Now two of our readers share the small changes they plan for the new year of faith formation. One small change I am always trying to integrate into my ministry as a catechist is to be more prepared with a slew of effective, impactful, and meaningful icebreakers—which […]

A More Evangelizing Catechesis: What It Means and How to Achieve It

We catechists are constantly bombarded with words and phrases (e.g. divine pedagogy, missionary discipleship, evangelizing catechesis) that are intended to inspire our ministry but often leave us scratching our heads with regards to what they mean in practical terms and how we are to translate these concepts into actual strategies in our faith formation settings. One such phrase, as mentioned above, is evangelizing catechesis. Personally, I am convinced that we desperately need a more evangelizing […]

Prayer for Class Preparation

This prayer originally appeared as part of the post The Power of Prayer: Three Ways to Model Discipleship. Download a PDF version of the prayer here. Take a moment and ask yourself: does every activity in my parish point more deeply to Jesus? Julianne Stanz wants to help you and your parish community make sure the answer to this question is a resounding, “Yes!” Preorder Julianne’s new book, Start with Jesus: How Everyday Disciples Will […]

How a Yearly Calendar Helps Me as a Catechist

When I start seeing back-to-school sales I know it’s time to put together my yearly calendar for planning my upcoming year as a catechist. When I first became a catechist, I just flowed through the year with no overall plan. I would read over the next lesson in my teacher guide several days before an upcoming class and then present it from the book. That was not my best effort, and I remember scrambling at […]

Help! I’m a New Catechist! Where Do I Begin?

When I began my career as a religion teacher, I often had nightmares about teaching classes that were complete disasters. I would wake up in a panic, asking, “Am I ready for this? I don’t really know what I’m doing!” If you are a new catechist and you’re experiencing feelings of trepidation, please know that it is perfectly normal and that you are not alone. Heck, look at all the people in the Bible who […]

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