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Catechist Training Master 5Nine Steps to Maintaining Order and OrganizationStep 1: Focus attention. Sister Ann begins classthe same way each day, “Boys and girls,” she says, almost in a whisper, “stare at me ” Sister knows what she’s doing  Follow her example and get everyone’s attention before you begin a lesson  Invite the children to gather and to settle down  Then waitin silence until they do so  Your silence can be very effective  If someone is disrupting class by talking, don’t attempt to talk over him or her, simply be silent, and your silence will focus attention on you Step 2: Explain what’s about to happen. “Tell them what you’re going to tell them,” has always been sound advice for teachers  Outlining what you and the children will be doing in a lesson not only tells the children what the lesson will be about, but also gives them something to anticipate  Anticipation makes for eager learners Step 3: Circulate as you catechize. A favorite teacher says he always like to move around the room when teaching  “It’s harder to hit a moving target,” he jokes  But moving about to monitor the classroom is no joke  While your students are working on their own or in small groups, roam the room  Check on progress and offer help where needed  Students not yet quite on task will be quick to get going as they see you approach  Children will appreciate your personal and positive attention Step 4: Model the faith. Albert Schweitzer oncesaid, “Example is not the main thing in influencing others  It’s the only thing ” In like manner, the General Directory for Catechesis reminds us that “faithis more witnessed to than taught” (GDC #255)  Teachers and catechists who evidence the Christian virtues and model compassion and justice provide powerful examples for their students and discourage misbehavior Step 5: Control the environment. Strive to make your meeting space a warm, cheery place  Change the environment with the seasons—natural and liturgical  Pay attention to how your students react to the environment—too bland? Too spicy? See to it that the environment inspires order not disorder Step 6: Accentuate the positive. Refuse to reward rowdiness  Don’t give a disruptive student any more of what he or she is craving—attention  If a student acts up, respond in a low-key manner, then calmly focus the child’s attention on the behavior you expect from him or her, not on the misbehavior, “I need you to   ” or “I expect you to   ”Step 7: Deliver “I” messages. Should the misbehaving continue, respond by describing (1) the problem behavior: “When you talk while I talk   ” (2) the effect the behavior has on you or the class “    Idon’t have time to help others   ” (3) the feeling that the misbehavior generates in you “    I feel very frustrated ”Step 8: Expect the best. Use classroom guidelines that describe the behaviors you want, not those you don’t want  Instead of “no-gum chewing,” use “leave gum at home ” Instead of “no put-downs,” use “show respect for others ”Step 9: Catch students behaving. Be generous with praise  When you witness good behavior, acknowledge it  A kind word, a nod, a smile, a high-five, or a thumbs-up reinforces the behavior Use these steps to explore and discuss concerns catechists may have about discipline in the classroom  See Chapter 3. Experienced catechists can share ideas and techniques with new catechists ©Pflaum Publishing Group, a division of Bayard, Inc 31

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