We’ve reached the beginning of yet another school year. The beginning of school, the beginning of religious education classes, the beginning of sacramental prep. Most of the readers of this blog are teachers and catechists and parents; so many of you are likely considering just how you are going to cover all the material you would like to this year.
One problem that many parish catechists, religion teachers, and parents have is finishing the book. So much effort is put into choosing the texts that will be used, and planning out the year. The instructor wants to make sure certain topics are covered in a limited amount of time, and sometimes even at certain times of year.
Time is at a premium — but it is, of course, recognized that this is important material! So it is a balancing act. How can we cover all the material, without having to speed through it and sacrifice the opportunity to really delve deep?
This is the perennial question!
Many textbooks, including Ignatius Press’s Faith & Life series, have teacher’s manuals with detailed lesson plans. Each chapter provides a full week of detailed color-coded lesson plans, with four days for presenting new material and one day for review and assessment. These lesson plans are designed to be guides in teaching even the most complex truths of the Catholic Faith with age-appropriate examples. The plans can be adjusted as needed to fit the context of the classroom and how often the class meets.
For parish catechists and CCD programs, Ignatius Press has developed once-a-week lesson plans which can be found at http://www.faithandlifeseries.com. These lesson plans cover the essential material and doctrines of each chapter in a one-hour format.
Using methods such as this, it becomes easier for teachers, catechists, and others to work through an entire text in a given year. These texts are developed with a careful eye towards age-appropriate materials, and gradually learning the truths of the Catholic Faith in greater detail. You can trust that pedagogy was a top priority!
As we begin the school year, let us pray that our hearts and intellects be blessed and enlightened.
St. Albert the Great, and St. Thomas Aquinas, patrons of students, pray for us!