A four days Sunday School writers’ workshop was organised by the CSI Synod Department of Christian Education from 14th to 17th May 2019 at CSI Synod Secretariat, Chennai. A total of 41 persons were involved in writing the Sunday school lessons. First day had started with a devotion led by Rev. James Cecil Victor, Director, Dept. of Pastoral Concerns, which was very creative and participatory. Before embarking upon writing assignment, an orientation was conducted to the Sunday School curriculum writers on ‘understanding the contemporary child’ and ‘curriculum writing skills’ by Prof. Dr. Winfred Chellaiah, Principal, St. John’s International Residential School, Chennai. Rev. Dr. D. Ratnakara Sadananda, CSI General Secretary, made a theological presentation using power point. He explained about the need for new and common Sunday school curriculum for the whole of the Church of South India and logic involved in creating new curriculum for the Sunday school. He further stressed that in writing a lesson enough room should be given to the creativity of Sunday school teachers. As well as for the imagination of the children. Therefore, the lesson should be more in terms of lesson directive, guiding the Sunday school teachers, and not writing a complete lesson.
Dr. Winfred Cheliah made a presentation on different elements of child pedagogy, particularly to the children between age group of 4 to 16 years. Key factors to be considered at the beginning of a lesson, progress of the lesson writing, giving enough room for a child to raise questions, and need for open ended application are some of the high lights.
Dr. Praveen P.S. Perumalla made a theological presentation highlighting the need to impress upon the children as well as the parents through Sunday school presentations. He used slides to pose the problem and he inspired the participants to think contextually.
The participants worked in teams for 4 days and produced 128 lessons. It was a time of struggling together learning to do justice to the children in the use of language, capturing story line, providing starters to the lesson, etc. All the participants acknowledged that the writing exercise was unique in many ways unlike writing for adults and university students. Moreover, the story line method is acknowledged as more creative than the content-based approach.
Rev. Dr. P. Praveen Prabhu Sudheer, Ph.D
CSI Dept. of Christian Education