Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Discussion Group

Tonight the students in our class were divided into four groups again, to discuss our next paper with each other and a trained facilitator. To promote cohesion in the group the same people met in the same groups as before. Two questions are assigned at the beginning of each module, from which we choose one question for our paper. These two questions are to be the basis for the evenings conversation, which is intended to promote integrative learning.

I've chosen to write about reconciliation, by imagining that I am teaching in the parish sacramental preparation program for First Reconciliation. Many parents of the children preparing for the sacrament have not celebrated Reconciliation since their first time. I've decided not to prepare a lesson plan (as instructed) but will instead imagine that I am part of a larger program of preparation for the parents.

My presentation to the parents of children in the first reconciliation class is intended to convey the meaning and importance of celebrating the Sacrament of Penance. This was another paper that was difficult to start, but after doing some research and referencing the Catachism the paper fell together pretty quickly (although not in the way the instructor may have intended).

The discussion process is not simply intended to help us write good papers, but is part of a process to "help us understand the readings and lectures by applying content to practical situations". During these meetings we will be asked to consider the theological and pastoral implications of our papers.

The goals of these sessions are: 1) To help us clarify and probe the material more deeply, especially by seeing how it applies to concrete, pastoral situations. 2) To see the significance of what we are studying for parish life by analyzing various pastoral situations, and 3) To develop the people skills necessary to work with and lead others in improve our pastoral capacity.

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