Posted in administrators, BUddhism, Business, cause and effect, education, enlightenment, Ethics, fears, happiness, love, Mindfulness, self-help, Uncategorized, wisdom, Zen, tagged art, chain story, creativity, developmental English, ego, fears, feelings, focus, friends, fun, health, inspiration, Jan CHozen Bays, learning, life, Mindfulness on the Go, poetry, questions, relationships, Say YES, school, science, sharing, students, thoughts, training, Truth, work on February 28, 2017|
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All great teachers have the ability to make learning fun. It not only helps the student learn more easily and retain the information better but it makes our jobs more exciting and fun! Who wants to be bored at work, who wants work to be drudgery? No one I know. I want to be excited every morning as I wake up thinking about the great things I can do at work. To hear the students laugh, see them smile, and to see them waiting with bated breath at what I’ll do next!
Even in my adult corporate training classes I play games, I surprise them with treats, compliments, and more. They soon begin to expect the unexpected when they are in a class with me. This encourages them to want to come to training, to realize that making life at work less tedious for themselves and their team will help them live longer and increase the team’s productivity and decrease its sick days! Yes, live longer and healthier!
I don’t believe the adage that “The good die young and the obnoxious live forever.” I believe that laughter is the best medicine and it opens my mind to creativity!
In my developmental English classes I have them write a “chain story” and in one class the last student actually killed the teacher off at the end. Yes, the class killed me off! I just loved the story it was such fun and they all expressed themselves so well. They were able to see how creative they could be in just a sentence or two and how teams can work together easily and without their egos or fears taking over. Even the shy and quiet ones got to participate fully.
In Jan Chozen Bay’s book Mindfulness on the Go, she has a great little exercise you can use with your classes she calls it “Say Yes.” Find every opportunity to say “yes” to people. She invites us to put stickers up with the word “YES” in spots where you’ll notice them in your home and workplace. She even encourages us to write “YES” on the back of our hand so we can see it frequently. She writes, “This task helps us see how often we take a stance that is negative or oppositional. If we are able to watch our mind when someone is talking to us, particularly if they are asking us to do something, we can see our thoughts forming defenses and counterarguments (page 127).”
She shares some examples of how people have used her technique. “One person noted that an external ‘yes’ might not match the real attitude of ‘no’ inside, and that the task helped him detect a hidden constricted state of mind (page 128-29).”
So say YES to life, say YES to FUN and begin to bring it into your classrooms, work rooms, and living rooms and watch what happens. Try it I think you’ll like having FUN for a change!
Let me know how it goes!
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Posted in birth, BUddhism, cause and effect, diversity, education, Ethics, fears, happiness, hate speech, human race, love, oppression, prayer, religion, self-help, suffering, Uncategorized, wisdom, Zen, tagged adults, art, Arthur Zajonc, Buddhism, children, Christianity, creativity, education, environment, feelings, focus, friends, fun, group exercises, humanity, inspiration, learning, life, Megan Scribner, Parker J. Palmer, questions, relationships, religion, school, science, sharing, students, The Heart of Higher A Call to Renewal, thoughts on February 10, 2017|
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In the book The Heart of Higher Education: A Call to Renewal the authors write about this idea of connectedness or lack thereof in our lives, schools, and communities.
Many of us bear the wound of invisibility, believing, not without reason, that no matter how hard or how well we work, no one really sees us. When we invite each other to tell our stories, we have a chance to create community in the simple act of saying “I see you.”
Storytelling can create community at an even deeper level: the more one knows about another person’s story, the less one is able to dislike or distrust, let alone despise, that person. This is a good thing in and of itself, but it serves a larger purpose as well by helping us weave a more resourceful and resilient collegiality. At some point down the road, when we need to solve a problem or deal with a difficult conflict, we are more likely to have woven the fabric of relationships required to do it well (page 139).
As teachers we can offer this opportunity to our students to come out from the shadows, to be really seen and heard with some simple exercises in our classes. By dividing your class in to groups you can help them get to know each other better and become more familiar with the way they may live, their hobbies, their family vacations, favorite books, sports, or movies. They might share stories about their religious and spiritual beliefs. Depending on the age of the groups the topics should be appropriate for them.
After they have shared in the small groups you can invite them to share with the entire class by sharing some of the topics that came up. They might even want to have a member share their story with the entire class. This exercise helps the participants learn to be connected with each other in a personal and emotional way. The students become not just someone they see in class but a real person with feelings and likes and dislikes.
We live a world that is so disconnected any time we are given the opportunity to share in this way as children or adults it opens our hearts and minds to others and we often find that we are more alike than different! We all have a favorite food and a food we hate! I sometimes start the first day in class by getting everyone to share the food they love to hate the most! Then we can divide the class up for group exercises in okra, broccoli, and cabbage haters. This gives them just another way to be connected!
Even though as a Buddhist I am not supposed to pick and choose I’m still NOT going to choose okra! I don’t mind being in the okra haters group! You’re welcome to join me! See you there…
In gassho, Shokai
 Palmer, Parker J.; Zajonc, Arthur; Scribner, Megan; Mark Nepo (2010-06-17). The Heart of Higher Education: A Call to Renewal (Jossey-Bass Higher and Adult Education) (p. 139). Jossey-Bass. Kindle Edition
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Posted in administrators, Business, cause and effect, diversity, education, fears, happiness, love, Mindfulness, psychology, self-help, training, Uncategorized, wisdom, tagged art, children, coloring, contentment, drawing, Earth, environment, feelings, fun, health, inspiration, laughter, life, love, magic wand, mindfulness, music, painting, peace, poetry, school, science, sharing, simplicity, students, teaching, thoughts, time, writing on January 31, 2017|
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Teaching students about simplicity is very difficult in a world where there is no example of it in their lives. We live in a society that is complex, busy, noisy, and filled with to-do lists and projects and school, studying, and working toward promotions and more. And this is all happening today!
But to live a life of peace, joy, and contentment we will need to slow down, increase our ability to focus on one thing at a time, and find time to meditate and be mindful about each word, thought, and step we take. When we accomplish this we will be living in a world that is full and complete and filled with peace, love, and compassion. Fears and frustrations will diminish and laughter will appear in their place.
When was the last time you heard yourself or your children or students or co-workers actually laugh with a loud squeal, saw them roll on the floor, and hold their tummy because it hurt so much from laughing? When was the last time you laughed so hard tears rolled down your face like the picture you see here?
Below is an exercise for you to share with them to help them think about simplicity and how it appears in their lives. You may not be able to use it with very young students so you may have to revise it a little bit to show them how to work on one thing at a time and finish it before they go on to the next thing. You might illustrate that idea with two pictures, one that is a very simple picture of something i.e. a glass of milk, and the other that is a very busy and complex picture such as a table full of dishes and food with a glass of milk among the items on the table.
Script for Exercise:
Pretend that you have a magic wand and that magic wand allows you to recreate your life and yourself– to invent a new you. I am going to give you a few minutes to meditate on a word and think about what it means to you and how it appears in your life, or doesn’t appear in your life. The word is simplicity. (short pause)
When I ring the bell I am going to give you several minutes to create something with the art supplies that you have gathered that will illustrate what you discovered about yourself during the meditation. Be as creative as possible in expressing what you discovered and even what the new you, both internally and externally, can look like. Feel free to draw, write, color, express yourself in your own unique way.
Keep track of the time. Give the students 3-5 minutes, longer if they have experience meditating, before ringing the bell. After ringing the bell remind them what they are to be doing for the next 10-15 minutes. Keep track of the time because you will want to save time for debriefing the activity.
You might even try this exercise yourself. Reflecting on simplicity might lighten up your day and brighten up your life! Try it I think you’ll like it…
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Posted in administrators, BUddhism, diversity, education, fears, happiness, love, meditation, Mindfulness, self-help, training, Uncategorized, wisdom, Zen, tagged art, artfulness, autobiographical, blog, breath work, Buddhism, creativity, Deborah Schoeberlein, drawing, environment, feelings, fishbone, fun, health, inspiration, learning, life, meditation, mind mapping, Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness A Guide for Anyone Who Teaches Anything, mindfulness, Mindfulness A guide for Anyone Who Teaches Anything, music, Ph.D, poetry, questions, school, science, Suki Sheth, thoughts, work on January 14, 2017|
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I can’t say I am very talented in the area of art in any way from drawing, to painting, to music, or dance. However, I love to look at great art, listen to great music, and watch people dance from classical to Hip Hop. But to help your students grow in all areas of their lives it is important for us as parents, teachers, and coaches to expose them to art in all its forms.
Here is another great tidbit for you from Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness A Guide for Anyone Who Teaches Anything by Deborah Schoeberlein (with Suki Sheth, PH.D.). This exercise gives the students time to discover the artistic talents that they have hidden away in the recesses of their minds. She calls this exercise “Drawing the Mind: Enhancement for Take 1 (For Students) (pages 93-94).
Part 1: Current Mental State
- Sit quietly. (Give students about thirty seconds before giving the next instruction.)
- Notice what’s happening in your mind: are there thoughts, feelings, or sensations? None, some, or many? Do they remain the same or change?
- Draw a picture of your mental state right now in the left-hand corner of your paper. (Give students a minute or so to complete their drawings.)
- Return to sitting quietly.
- Fold the left-hand third of the paper (with the drawing) face-down, so the two remaining blank sections remain face-up covering it .
Upon completion of the three sections of this exercise she invites the students to share their drawings and reflect on their experiences.
I have an exercise that I do in my classes with my adults and it helps them learn how to use a mind map when asked to write a report, essay, or article. I read a one page mini autobiographical blog post that I wrote entitled “Sometimes a horse looks like a cow.” Next, we take our three breaths and then I invite them to think of a time in their life that they could write about. Some write about something that happened when they were young, others about high school or college or marriage, or the day their first child was born. Once they have created the mind map I have them write the story.
They are all shocked about how much fun they had remembering this event, how easy it was to write the story after they took their three breaths and wrote their mind map out. They discover that artfulness and creativity are in everyone if they just take the time to foster them, to let them appear, and to be free to grow!
Let me know how it works for you and your students!
 Schoeberlein, D., Sheth, S. (2009) Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness A Guide for anyone Who teaches Anything Somerville, MA:Wisdom Publications
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