Studying the Catechism of the Catholic Church can be a difficult process, considering the length and complexity of material. Teaching the Catechism is often difficult as well, especially when the students are generally young children and teens. The key to teaching these classes is to make them both meaningful and attractive for your students.
Review the text of the Catechism before you begin teaching. While you will have already studied the document, chances are it may have been a long time since your own classes.
Find out the ages and backgrounds of the students you will be teaching. You will need to vary your approach to classes based on whether you are teaching young children, teens or adults. In addition, teaching new converts to the Catholic faith will require you to prepare differently, keeping in mind they may have only a rudimentary understanding of Catholicism.
Make your classes relevant to your audience. Providing real-life examples and testimonies will engage your students, particularly if these come from others of a similar age or background. Check out "Father McBride's Teen Catechism Teacher Guide: Based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church" by Alfred McBride for real-life teen examples (see Resources below).
Change your environment periodically to help keep students interested. For example, when you teach what the Catechism has to say about the physical universe, you may wish to hold class outside where the students can appreciate the creation of the world.
Encourage active participation in your classes to create a dynamic learning environment. Lecturing and reading aloud will make up a good part of your teaching, but make time for discussion. Getting your students to talk about the issues raised in the Catechism will reinforce their lessons.
Teach essential messages of the Catholic Catechism by using comparisons. Some of the material you teach will be complicated, but comparing this material to something the students already understand will boost their comprehension of the new material. For instance, if you explain the concept of "baptism" as an entrance into Catholic life, you might wish to compare this to entering through the door of a new house where a new chapter of life will begin.
Supplement your class with materials relevant to your audience. Though the Catechism is an important and sober document, you can still incorporate creative and fun materials into teaching it. When teaching youngsters, employ fun songs, tell jokes and funny stories, let them interpret what they are learning through art and hold memory contests. Look for materials that will help engage your students, such as the "Catechism of the Catholic Church Board Game" or the book "100 Activities Based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church" (see Resources below).
- Be sure to verbally praise your students whenever they participate in class to keep them motivated.
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