Traditional Teaching Habits to Avoid

John Barone, co-author of The Adaptive Teacher: Faith-Based Strategies to Reach and Teach Learners with Disabilities, suggests Five Traditional Teaching Habits to Avoid in an article over at LoyolaPress.com. If you find yourself shushing learners, talking too much, or giving complex instructions, try Barone’s “Try this instead” tips in the article to be a more effective catechist. Read the article here. Also check out Barone’s 9 Strategies for How to Get and Keep Attention, a […]

A Prayer for Catechists: Shine the Light

This prayer originally appeared in my book, The Catechist’s Toolbox: How to Thrive as a Religious Education Teacher. Download a PDF version of the prayer here. See the related article: Shining the Spotlight on Those We Teach.

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 […]

What a Marketing Conference Teaches About Catechesis

I recently attended a marketing conference, and the workshops on writing effective e-mails and storytelling had lessons applicable to our work as catechists. Have a clear call to action. This reminds me of what Joe Paprocki says about the big idea in a lesson—have the goal in mind from the start. Knowing what action we want young people to take as a result of the lesson helps us to plan activities that take them from […]

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 […]

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