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 […]

Let’s Stop the Catechetical Pendulum from Swinging!

Recently, I came across an article in America Magazine that caught my eye: “How Can We Strengthen Faith Formation Classes?” The article by Becca Meagher and Claire Shea, both ministering at Benilde-St. Margaret’s School in St. Louis Park, MN, makes a compelling argument for a more relevant and creative approach to adolescent catechesis. Permit me to begin by thanking Meagher and Shea for their excellent contribution to the ongoing conversation about effective catechesis. Perhaps the […]

Using Audiovisual Resources Effectively in Faith Formation (Video)

You don’t need to be a techie in order to effectively integrate audiovisual resources into your faith formation sessions. Watch the following video overview of how to use audiovisual resources in the classroom. Read the post that inspired this video (with the six goals): The Effective Use of Audiovisual Resources in Faith Formation.

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 […]

Teaching with a Co-Catechist

As much as I love teaching my religious education class, I enjoy sharing the responsibility with a co-catechist. Knowing that there are some Sundays when someone else is leading the class gives me some breathing room during the week. I’ve taught with veteran catechists and with first-timers. I’ve taught with parents of students in the class and with high-school and college students. Everyone has been a little different, but they all have provided opportunities for […]

Paired Interviews

A few weeks ago, I shared some tips on how to shine the spotlight on those we teach by shifting the focus away from ourselves. As you continue to practice ways of requiring students to take responsibility for their learning, here’s an idea that helps, called the Paired Interview. If you have a rather large chunk of text to cover in your textbook, divide the class into two groups and have group one read independently […]

Little Video Lessons from the Saints

A few months ago, a friend of mine told me she was going to use one of the videos I filmed for my book Little Lessons from the Saints at her next RCIA session. “Really?” “Yep. I’m leading a lesson on the communion of saints, so it’s perfect. Besides, I think they would get a kick out of seeing you on video.” “Either that or a good laugh.” “Probably both,” she said. A few days […]

Shining the Spotlight on Those We Teach

When I was a student teacher, I was very proud of the first class I taught. My mouth had a motor on it, and I never ran out of gas. When class was over, my cooperating teacher congratulated me on surviving, and said I did a good job, but bluntly said, “You talk too much.” I thought teachers were supposed to talk. “Yes,” he replied, “but not all the time. The spotlight is not supposed […]

How Did Aquinas Survive without Audiovisual Resources?

Whenever I’m preparing to give a presentation and there’s some trouble with the projector or laptop or other technology, I jokingly ask those assisting me, “How did Aquinas survive without AV resources?” Of course, he and other great teachers did just fine without them! That doesn’t change the fact that, today, technology provides us with a myriad of ways to enhance our presentation of the Gospel and that most people—especially young people—are accustomed to accessing information through technology. […]

The Effective Use of Audiovisual Resources in Faith Formation

Not all of us are natural-born storytellers, as is illustrated by the following joke: once upon a time, a guy went on a tour of a story factory. As he walked through the factory, he heard a voice on the loudspeaker call out a number every few minutes. After each number was announced, there was a palpable reaction from the workers: laughter, tears, anger, or amazement. The guy asked his tour guide what was going […]

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