Holding On to the Light of Christ: An Idea for Your Faith Formation Sessions

I have been and always will be an advocate for integrating a “language of mystery” into our faith formation sessions—using signs, symbols, rituals, music, movement, silence, and so on to deepen our awareness of the mysterious presence of Christ in our midst. The following idea flows from that commitment but also has value as a practical, pedagogical tool to enhance the experience of reading from a textbook. I have written before about the role of […]

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

Welcome to the final 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 take learners where they are and move them […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Microshifts to Create a Retreat Atmosphere

Editor’s Note: This week we’re exploring microshifts we can make as catechists to improve our ministry, inspired by Gary Jansen’s MicroShifts: Transforming Your Life One Step at a Time. Learn more about the book here. Transformation often comes from small changes, and making these small changes, or MicroShifts, as author Gary Jansen calls them, can improve the faith formation experience for both catechist and young people. Consider how these microshifts can create a retreat atmosphere in the catechetical […]

Five Microshifts for the Classroom

Editor’s Note: This week we’re exploring microshifts we can make as catechists to improve our ministry, inspired by Gary Jansen’s MicroShifts: Transforming Your Life One Step at a Time. Learn more about the book here. St. Francis of Assisi once said, “Begin again today, for up until now, you have done very little.” I love these words of his. They remind me to keep seeking to do more for God instead of resting on what […]

Microshifts for Catechists: Working on Positive Presence

One of my favorite new books from Loyola Press is Gary Jansen’s Microshifts: Transforming Your Life One Step at a Time. This book makes so much sense to me, because few of us wake up one day and decide to be evil and accomplish it in one huge fell swoop. We tend to “wade” into unseemly thoughts and actions on a gradual basis, often without paying attention to where we are going until we find […]

Storytelling (Video)

Jesus’ preferred method of engaging others and teaching about the Kingdom was through storytelling. How can we get in touch with our stories of faith? Watch this video introduction to the topic. Read the post that inspired this video: Sharing Stories of Faith. Sharing the Wisdom of Time is a collection of stories about elders from around the world. From over 30 countries, elders share their wisdom carved from lifetimes of experience.

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