[quote="fastenatingguy, post:1, topic:310738"]
Lots of generalizations, please bear with me:
I have been teaching 8th grade Catechism and preparation for Confirmation since September and it has been a wonderful experience. However, as I get to know my 12 students better each week, I have found that they are absolutely lacking in their understanding of God in their lives. I think they live such secular, materialistic, pop culture laden American lives that they don't have a sense of God in a micro/personal way. And I am not sure that they have such a good sense in a macro/big picture way either.
These are 13 and 14 year olds that are middle class. They attend good urban public schools and each one of them will continue in public high schools. They are well behaved in class and for the most part attentive. They seem to be learning but I suspect that they are not applying this at home, school, or in their daily lives. It seems like each Sunday morning, we have to take some time to "start over" and just when we get going....time's up.
I'm NOT a crusader type, but on the other hand I see that after Confirmation, these kids may start drifting from the Church, and I pray that won't happen. It's up to their parents to be Catholic parents.
I'll stop rambling and just hope that there are some great CAF ideas out there that I can offer that will be well received and valued. Thanks and God bless you all.
Do you have a certain curriculum that you must follow or do you have some leeway in what types of things you can do? In my experience growing up in the Catholic faith it was very difficult to really internalize anything and/or apply what I learned in any class to my home life, because my parents were not exactly well versed in helping me understand anything and/or didn't really care anyway (the whole cultural Catholic thing). So nothing really seemed "real" to me and therefore it was irrelevant to my life. The thing that's needed imho, is for what they're learning to be real to them. Anyone can stand in front of a room and say that the Eucharist is "the body, blood, soul, and divinity" or Jesus Christ and whatnot. I think JPII has provided us with so many real, contemporary examples of modern saints to emulate, that it might be a way to make things learned in class come alive for students. If students were to be assigned (or given a choice) of certain 20th Century saints and do a brief report on them connecting what is being learned in class to the Saint's life and how they put it into action, it might help. Also, it would force them to work on it outside of the classroom, to take it home, read a little bit about these Saint's and hopefully some of the things they wrote and/or said themselves, and just be immersed in their lives for a little bit of time. Sitting in class listening to someone is frankly boring, but when kids are unleashed to use their imagination and come up with something on their own they don't feel as limited and thus may not resent being there as much. It doesn't even have to be a written "essay" per se about the Saint, let them be creative, film a brief movie, act it out in a play, write/perform a song (if any are musically inclined), have THEM come up with a lesson plan, just set them free to explore the wonderful world of Catholicism without feeling imprisoned by "having to be" at a CCD class. Things like that get them involved and to take accountability for what they're learning.
Just some ideas and thoughts that I hope are helpful.
Let us know what you come up with and how it turns out!