Give Me One Good Reason…

It occurred to me last night after class that we want our students to remember SO MANY things in religious education, that I wonder sometimes if they remember anything! Our lessons have numerous learning outcomes/objectives, vocabulary words, names of saints and holy people, doctrinal formulae, and so on, not to mention the myriad of announcements and interruptions that occur on any given night. And all this, after the kids have been bombarded by tons of […]

A Catechist's S.O.S.

Here is an e-mail I received from a catechist who is seeking support in the midst of a difficult situation. I’ve responded to her personally with my suggestions. With her permission, I’m posting it here with the hope that catechists more familiar than I am with teaching pre-school, K, and primary ages might respond. I’ve also changed her name…we’ll call her Natalie. To respond to Natalie, just click on “Add a Comment” at the end […]

God, Sports, and Religious Education

I’m from Chicago, a BIG sports town (bigger than ever this week with Da Bears in Da Superbowl!). Often, sports can be a thorn in the side for catechists: students miss religious ed. classes because of games, tournaments, and practices and, worse yet, they and their families often miss Mass on Sunday because of games and tournaments. These are serious issues that need to be addressed. On the other hand, I’m a huge sports fan […]

How Closely Do You Follow Your Textbook?

We catechists are blessed in this day and age to have many fine catechetical textbooks from a variety of Catholic publishers. The General Directory for Catechesis reminds us however that there is no substitute for the person of the catechist. I know that when I teach, I think of my text book as a guide and a resource but I also do a lot of “ad lib” and bring in a variety of activities that […]

The Role of the Male Catechist

I mentioned to Kathy (see comments on Catechist’s Role Description) that I didn’t think I could be a good 1st grade catechist and I admire those who are. Very few men are catechists in the first place and when they are, like me, they predominantly serve junior high. I’m often concerned about catechesis being either too feminine or too masculine, depending on the catechist. Perhaps the solution is to have more team-teaching with male/female catechists […]

Role Description for Catechists

When asked to consider being a catechist, many people hesitate, wondering if they’ve got what it takes. On the one hand, not just anybody can be a catechist. Certain skills, talents, gifts, and knowledge of the faith are needed. On the other hand, you don’t have to have advanced degrees in theology and education to thrive as a catechist. Here’s what I would consider as the basic “requirements” for serving as a catechist: Qualities:  a desire […]

Catechists on the Move

Do you sit still when you teach? I can’t and almost never do. Part of it is just my own style…I like to move around. But I also recommend it to catechists for several reasons. One, I think it keeps kids more engaged if you are “on the move.” Visually, if you are moving around, you are creating a sense of energy and enthusiasm. If you’re sitting still, it is more likely to look tired. Two, […]

Memorization and Catechesis

I mentioned recently that I will be checking to see if my students have memorized (taken to heart) certain prayers outlined in the parish curriculum. I grew up at a time when memorization in catechesis had fallen upon hard times. Sure, I learned the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be, but not much else. As a result, I grew up deprived of quick access to a major part of our Catholic Tradition. I recall […]

What's This Obsession with FUN?

As I surf around various web pages and blogs where catechists are in discussion with one another, I can’t help but notice an obsession that many catechists have with the idea of making their classes FUN. Now, before you start thinking that I’m some kind of sourpuss, let me explain that I know what catechists are talking about. They are concerned when kids are bored and rightly so. However, I think that our goal is […]

Assessment in Catechesis: Authentic Assessment

Authentic assessment is exactly what the name implies: it is genuine and real. Authentic assessment is performance-based: learners put into action what they’ve been learning. Beyond being able to speak or write about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, learners must have opportunities to live out the call to discipleship. Service Experiences—Provide suggestions for specific ways that your learners can put their faith into practice serving others, either individually or as a […]

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