The choices of a lifetime
HOW TO GET OUR POINT ACROSS
THE CHURCH HAS one mission: to proclaim the gospel. The rest is detail. The mission blurs as we delve into canon law and liturgical rubric, getting caught up in the precise formulation of a doctrine so as not to open a crack that invites heresy in. As a catechist, I too prefer to get it right. Still, I’m reminded that Jesus gave the church a clear task: spread the word! He spent no time at all telling us how to do this liturgically, doctrinally, organizationally, or financially. Our attention may be misplaced.
Educator John Dewey noted that the content of a lesson may be the least important element of learning. A dismal thought, considering how most of us champion content above all else. Dewey said it’s a fallacy to think learning is about what we’re presently studying. Learning is a process of forming enduring attitudes about how learning takes place. It’s about information and attention, analysis and dialogue. What we learn is how to learn. We learn that thinking requires hard work—not simply crediting whatever pops into our heads, mindlessly repeating what’s presented to us, or believing what’s reassuring to believe.
If content isn’t the center of the lesson plan, what should concern us as we preach, teach, and catechize? The literature of education presents three requirements for learning.
We learn best when:
1. We're invested in the lesson (What's in it for me?).
2. Appeals to our reason are rooted in emotional ground (Tell me a story to help me connect to this lesson).
3. We have a loving teacher (You have my best interest at heart).
Supply those three elements, and we’ve got disciples!
reprinted with permission from TrueQuest Communications
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