I’ve just listened to a podcast geared toward millennials (I’m not one) that teaches them life skills. Today’s episode was on how to study. In college, my study habits involved the usual mix of rereading, highlighting, and memorizing data. The cognitive scientist on the podcast, however, said that these tactics were for short-term learning. She’s right. As soon as my tests were over, I forgot everything.
What is needed for real learning, she said, is a two-way approach: taking in data (my method) and giving data back. This second step involved not merely retrieving facts but answering “so what?” Why does this piece of information matter to me and to the world we live in today? If you can first retrieve the information then say why it’s important, and maybe even build upon and interpret it for the current times, then you truly will have learned the material.How do we help our congregations not only memorize ideas about Christ, but also live in closeness with both what has been handed down from our tradition and the timeliness of Jesus’s good news for people today? Click To Tweet
On seeing the massive decline in church affiliation, especially among our young people, a few have proposed some version of my one-way study habits: more catechesis, stricter academic standards in materials and teachers, less diluted doctrine. These might work to produce scholars, but they won’t make scribes who pull from the storeroom of their closeness with Christ both what has been handed down from our tradition and the timeliness of Jesus’s good news for people today.
This post was first published in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal.”
Image credit: Photo by Lina Trochez on Unsplash.