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 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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Posted in BUddhism, campus unrest, cause and effect, education, fears, meditation, Mindfulness, self-help, Shambhala, training, Uncategorized, Zen, tagged Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education, Buddhism, Christianity, Deborah Schoeberlein David, education, environment, feelings, How to Train a Wild Elephant & Other Adventures in Mindfulness, inspiration, Jan CHozen Bays, learning, MD, Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness, mindfulness, questions, relationships, school, Suki Sheth PHD, thoughts, work on December 30, 2016|
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“Mindfulness and education are beautifully interwoven. Mindfulness is about being present with and to your inner experience as well as your outer environment, including other people. When teachers are fully present, they teach better. When students are fully present, the quality of their learning is better. It’s a ‘win-win’ equation that can transform teaching, learning, and the educational landscape (page xi).”
Mindfulness is the newest craze in America, although it has been around for many centuries throughout many cultures, religions, and countries it is becoming more available to the secular world every day.
As a Zen Buddhist priest and college professor I have been incorporating mindfulness exercises in my classes and workshops for many years. Regardless of whether I am teaching a live group in a classroom setting or out doors on an adventure training course or online the principles are applicable.
It really began for me when I was asked to teach developmental English at Broward College. The first day in the classroom I could see the students were scared to death of me and the course. Every student in the room had failed the English part of the entrance exam and thus could not take for credit courses unless they passed my class! Wow. Scared is probably not even a powerful enough word!
I was mindful as the students entered the room and watched their body language, facial expressions, and heard what they were saying to each other. I thought about what I could do to help them get calm and ready to learn and I remembered a simple little exercise that I came upon one day in a great little book of Buddhist exercises—How To Train a Wild Elephant & Other Adventures in Mindfulness by Jan Chozen Bays, MD. “Just Three Breaths” gave very simple directions she wrote:
The Exercise: As many times a day as you are able, give the mind a short rest. For the duration of three breaths ask the inner voices to be silent. It’s like turning off the inner radio or TV for a few minutes Then open all your senses and just be aware—of color, sound, touch, and smell (page76).
I revised it just a little for my classes by leaving out the part about thinking! I never start a class without first taking 3 breaths and I invite my students to participate with me.
Read these steps aloud and do the exercise along with the class. After the exercise is completed get their feedback on how they feel and how it may help them during the class:
- Shake out your hands to release the tension in them then place them comfortably in your lap or on the desk or table where you are sitting.
- Close your eyes if you feel comfortable doing so as it will help keep out the visual distractions. If you are not comfortable with that keeping them open is okay as well. Simply focus your eyes on one small object.
- Take three slow deep breaths counting one on the in breath and two on the out breath.
- Be careful not to breathe in so deeply that it makes you cough.
- Is everyone ready—then let’s begin.
This helps me be a “mindful teacher” throughout the class and helps the students open their minds to learn! Try it and let me know how it works!
 Schoeberlein, D. (2009) Mindful Teaching & Teaching Mindfulness: a guide for anyone who teaches anything. Somerville, MA:Wisdom Publications
 Bays, J.C. (2011) How to Train a Wild Elephant & Other Adventures in Mindfulness. Boston, MA:Shambhala
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