I am a class teacher for Year Four and five students and a team leader for the middle school. My class and I are a part of the Manaiakalani Google ClassOnAir.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Creating Trusting Classroom Communities

This week we had PD on Maths where Sue Pine showed us the various pedagogical approaches that engage learners and lead to desirable outcomes.
One of the things that really struck me was to have a trusting classroom community where everyone had the right to share their opinion and to be heard with respect. Such a culture was very important because it encourages students to share their ideas, thoughts and reflections freely in the classroom. In such a climate, learning relationships develop and students learn from each other. They can take risks and ask questions to clarify their ideas. It is important that in developing such an environment, care needs to be taken to avoid dependency. Classroom relationships should allow all students to take intellectual risks.

I have been working on developing such classroom environment this week. It was a hard task to start with. I had to constantly remind students of their etiquette in class. I had to  encourage students to listen patiently and then provide valuable feedback to their peers. And most importantly I had to teach my students how to contribute and clarify their ideas and how they should respond. Sometimes I got ideas that were quite unexpected. I had to model how to evaluate ideas and how to voice thoughtful judgement. This became very tricky when I have students with limited language capabilities. But by having a positive attitude I can already see that my students are developing confidence to learn and make sense of mathematics. They are beginning to use the language of mathematics to respond and share the strategies they had used to work out their problems. But this is just the beginning! Lots more needs to be done and I cannot wait to see my students expressing their ideas freely. I want to see them confidently face not only mathematical challenges but all learning in class and share and assess the validity of their new ideas.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Can Meditation Really Slow Aging...

This weekend I came across an article that explained how meditation can help you live longer. It was very interesting to know that one of the scientist, a Nobel Prize Winner, Blackburn, claims to have evidences where women who were stressed have shorter talomeres. Talomeres are the repeating DNA motifs in individual. A person with shorter talomeres is more prone to the risk of heart diseases, diabetes and hypertension. This study was very useful because prior to this genes were seen as the important factor determining telomere length.  Blackburn wanted to study if environmental factors influence talomeres. She studied 50 women who were in stressful circumstances. The results were crystal clear. Feeling stressed doesn’t just damage our health but also ages us. When these women were shown ways to relax mainly through meditation, the results were amazing. All women showed increase in the length of talomeres just after 3 months.

We have got a society with scattered attention, particularly when people are highly stressed and do not have the resources to just be present where ever they are. Contemplative traditions like meditation promote presence of mind and longevity.

The read strengthened my belief in meditation. Medication acts like a band aid that can relieve you by hiding bruises. The solution to all mental and psychological pains is within us and the answer is Meditation.