Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

July 25, 2011

Lesson Be-Attitudes

Sr. Kieran Sawyer, SSND, shares some eight "Lesson Be-Attitudes" that bear repeating and review as you begin to plan for the upcoming semester or lesson planning and lesson sharing.

Be Prepared Study carefully the material presented. Visualize each activity in your mind, "seeing" step by step how it will happen. Be sure you have clear understanding of the purpose and expected outcome of each. Think through the input sessions, outline them and prepare your own note cards to use in presenting them.

Be Yourself Use the ideas in Teacher Manuals and other support material creatively. Make the material your own. Think about it; pray about it; if possible, talk about it with colleagues. Add your own examples, substitute other activities, shorten or lengthen sessions. The program should come across to the participants as yours, not as something you have borrowed from a manual.

Be Organized Have a definite plan of action for the entire lesson. Be especially clear about directions for assignments and discussion. Have all the materials you will need ready for quick distribution.

Be Flexible Be ready to adjust your well-organized plan at a moment's notice. Some parts of the lesson may take longer or shorter than expected; some won't apply to the direction that the lessons is taking. Always have more material planned than you think you will need. Keep your eye on the clock; if you're running short of time, shorten or drop something—but never drop the opportunity for prayer!

Be Open Listen to what the students have to say and encourage them to listen to one another. Accept their opinions, but at the same time be ready to challenge them—always respectfully—on positions that are inconsistent, erroneous, or unclear. Clarify with a presentation of Church teaching.

Be Firm Maintain an orderly, controlled atmosphere, even during discussions. Do not allow the participants to be disrespectful to you or to one another. Let them know that you expect adult conduct from them.

Be Happy Enjoy your students. Enjoy their exuberance as well as their thoughtfulness and serious sharing. Let them know that you like being with them.

Be-lieve Above all, believe that God is involved in the lives of the students. Believe that the action of grace precedes, accompanies, and follows all of your efforts with them. Believe in the faith and good will of the families and parishes from which your students come. And finally, believe in the students with whom you are privileged to share the living faith of Christ.

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