We have all been there. We, the Catechist, ask a question in the classroom. Several eager students raise their hands in a manner that sounds like a miniature version of the clamoring shoppers on Black Friday. These students want to be called upon and share their insight. Stopping the eagerness may, or at least we think it might, discourage them from volunteering their answer in the future.
The Question and Answer approach in the classroom is a favorite of many, wherein the Catechist lectures or writes something upon the board and asks a question to get the classroom to engage in the lesson. This approach can truly become chaotic in the classroom. I have sat in the classroom of many catechists that I mentored, and some have offered me this question: “Did you notice how they got really noisy whenever I asked them a question?” This is a chronic problem for classrooms full of small children. It is only natural for a child who loves truth to desire to share the answer to the Catechist’s question.
Here is a very simple set of ideas for maintaining the focus on the lesson while inviting students to offer answers or ideas:
- Call on a student before asking the question. For example, “Joe Smith, who created the world?”
- Call on a specific row. For example, “Can someone in the first row tell me what Ex Nihilo means?”
- Call on a specific group. For example, “Girls, can one of you tell me how many books are in the Old Testament?”
These simple ideas, especially the first, will maintain order in the classroom and allow Catechists to continue to invite students to offer answers during the catechetical lesson.