Three Essential Presentation Skills for Catechists

Communication and presentation skills may not be the first skills that come to mind when thinking about the qualities of a good catechist, but they are key elements for catechists to consider as they approach their classes. Here are three presentation factors to reflect on as we prepare for a new year of faith formation. Emphasis in Reading the Word Have you ever been to a Mass when the lector wasn’t well prepared and the […]

Creative Approaches to Reading from a Textbook: Clue Cards

I occasionally encounter catechetical presenters who claim that faith formation should be done with no books because they consider reading from a book to be boring. I, on the other hand, have always been an advocate of teaching “beyond the book,” which means that we use the book as a critical resource but not as the be-all-and-end-all of a faith formation session. The fact is, we have important content in our faith tradition, and it […]

20 Tips for Catechists E-mail Series

Join me for a five-part e-mail series where I share 20 tips for catechists—some of my best advice to both new and experienced catechists. I’ll send you a few tips each week that you can implement in your faith formation setting. Take to heart these tips, and be encouraged in your vocation as a confident evangelizing catechist! I’m sharing these 20 tips to celebrate the release of my 20th book—Living the Sacraments: Finding God at […]

Classroom Behavior Expectations

I give my first-grade religious education students the same assignment every week at the end of class, which consists of three things: Be sweet, be smart, and make good choices. For the first few classes, it’s novel, but within a few weeks, they will repeat the assignment along with me. (The parents love it, by the way.) I want my students to understand that the behavior I expect in class on Sunday mornings doesn’t end […]

Nine Tips for Asking Questions

Asking Questions to Get Beneath the Surface This summer, my biggest project was scraping and painting the deck at my lake house. I’m always tempted to skip the scraping part and get right into painting. However, as we all know, it is crucial to strip away what’s on the surface to get to what’s deeper: the original wood. When we teach, we can be tempted to rush past an important step that helps us get beneath […]

Active Learning Strategies (Video)

Do you employ active learning strategies in your classroom? Watch this video introduction to active learning strategies. Then consider ways to shine the spotlight on those you teach as you start planning this year’s sessions. Read the post that inspired this video: Engaging Young People with Active Learning Strategies.

Calling Children by Name

“I have called you by name, you are mine,” says the Lord. (Isaiah 43:1) This intimate connection we have with God is a gift to be celebrated. Being named Kathleen, I’ve gone through life with people automatically assuming I want to be called “Kathy” or “Kate.” I don’t want to be called something else; my name is Kathleen. When I meet my religious education students, the first thing I do is ask them their names […]

Assessment in Catechesis (Video)

If we are to teach as Jesus did, we must constantly be assessing, in a variety of forms, whether his present-day followers are grasping the knowledge and skills needed to be disciples in today’s world. In general, assessment takes three forms: formal assessment (quizzes, tests, essays), informal assessment (observation of each learner’s grasp of concepts by observing their participation in written work, group work, and group activities), and authentic assessment (providing opportunities for participants to […]

How Introverts Learn: Intrapersonal Learning

When delivering presentations, I often ask participants to raise their hands if they consider themselves an introvert. Usually about 40% of hands go up, to which I reply, “OK, almost half of you, and then a number of you didn’t raise your hand because you’re an introvert!” The truth is, I count myself in this category. Now, you may be surprised to learn that I am an introvert, but to be one doesn’t mean that […]

Learning by “Talking Things Out”—Interpersonal Learning

I have to admit that, as an introvert (technically speaking), I tend to cringe a bit when a facilitator or speaker tells us participants to turn to a neighbor or group of neighbors and engage in discussion. It’s just not my style. Of course, when I do follow instructions, I find that I meet some wonderful people and learn some amazing things! At the other end of the spectrum are people who are eager to interact […]

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