The art of being an effective Religious Education Teacher

Regardless of the age you teach…

Regardless of your religious persuasion…

There are several things that will make you a more effective Religious Education Teacher.

  1. Knowledge
  2. Enthusiasm
  3. The “3 R’s” of Religious Education

Students are astute, if they suspect your knowledge of the subject is lacking they will be less likely to pay attention.  Part of being a good teacher is the art of continuing to learn. As teachers we don’t know everything and we need to be able to admit that to our students without causing the students to lose respect for our teaching abilities.

Be sincere If a student asks a question you do not know the answer to let them know you will research the answer and report back to the class the next time you meet.

Even the first graders I teach come to me with abstract questions that I need to research to bring the best answer and especially around the topics of

-Creation

-Lent

-Easter

their questions abound and are at times surprising.

Enthusiasm

To be an effective teacher you must have enthusiasm for the topic you are teaching

Clearly if you are reading from the book in a droll voice and appear that the topic matter bores you why would your students be any more interested…

It is when your enthusiasm is lacking you’ll find the class losing interest and misbehaving.

We do not need to be entertainers of the class but we should make class interesting and we should be enthusiastic.  The children we teach in religious ed have often already been sitting in a classroom all day, they may be hungry, or have homework they are thinking about …etc….

I cannot stress enough the importance of enthusiasm.

Finally the 3 R’s of Religious Education(more information will follow future posts but the beginning of summary is below)

Repetition:  Each time my class meets we set aside 10 minutes or so to review everything we’ve learned in the year up to that point. The review is done in a fun way with vocal full class participation

Real: this leads to participation, the teacher cannot be effective in only reading to the children.(although there are times reading to the kids is appropriate it should not be the whole class)  Make the children be active participant’s in what they are learning and they will leave your class excited and more able to share what they have learned with friends and family.

Relevant:  teaching and learning Bible stories and sacramental information is important for all ages but if we don’t also teach how to make that relevant in their lives we are missing the point of the lesson entirely.

I end each class singing “Love Grows One by One” with the children. It is a reminder to them that they can go out and share the love of  God with others.

I leave you with this:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”-phillipians

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About ellasurreau

I am a first grade religious education catechist I have been teaching for 20 years I have a BA in Religious Studies I have continued taking classes in religious studies since graduating. I grew up Methodist, and became catholic after marrying.
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