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Creating a dialogue about what it’s like to be a new teacher.

The Rookie Teacher



Teaching from the Thinking Heart 0

Posted on November 06, 2014 by Sarah

Nothing has been more transformational to my teaching practice than my experience with a Tribes certified instructor for my year long Teacher Education/B.Ed year. Though some people come out with a mixed experience when they pursue Tribes certification, it is certainly a course that whole heartedly depends on the instructor. I was fortunate to have someone who deeply understood the Tribes philosophy, a holistic approach to teaching that nurtured individuals, fostered positive social interactions and grew community.  Moreover, I had Gail for an entire year, not just the handful of hours it takes to get the Tribes Basics training.

teaching heart

Not only did Gail have a direct impact on my teaching strategies, she encouraged me to pursue my Masters at OISE and highly recommended a course with Jack Miller, all of which has led to this post. Jack is a leader in holistic education with almost 40 years of experience in the field. In his course, which I optimistically wrote about with the Rookie Teacher here, we practiced meditation daily, participated in various visualization exercises, kept a journal of reflections, gave mini workshops practicing our holistic approaches and had an authentic Chinese tea ceremony, always sitting in a circle. Our final assignment was a reflection piece on Holistic education and our experiences with it thus far. Needless to say, mine centered around my year with Gail. A few months after the course had completed, Jack e-mailed me asking if he could publish my final paper in his next book.

Fast forward 2 years and it’s here: Teaching from the Thinking Heart – The Practice of Holistic Education. I’m obsessed with the cover art. I’m chapter 4: Tribes – A Transformative Tool for the 21st Century. The book itself is also quite innovative for its narrative content. As an academic text used predominantly in courses, it is quite rare to have something written in the first-person. This further speaks to the Holistic approach, validating teachers’ and people’s experiences for what they are, no citations required. As such, this book is very approachable for non-academic readers as it’s not bogged down in scientific or educational jargon.

The foreword by Nel Noddings (so awesome!) speaks to the recognition of our current context of standardized curricula, objectives and evaluations and the stigma surrounding the mere mention of the word ‘soul’. Teaching to the head. But throughout the book you gain confidence and insight into the practice of teaching to the body, mind and spirit. Our students are more than just heads, their humans with emotions. As educators we must find the courage to stand up for Holistic curriculum, nurture the soul and work to make each moment in our students’ lives loving and joyful.

Copies of the book can be ordered from here or by contacting me personally.

 

 

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A listening exercise to change the world 3

Posted on November 29, 2012 by Sarah

Okay, maybe the title is a bit ambitious haha. But I would very much appreciate you taking the time to listen to a radio program I made in my Popular Culture, Media & Education course this term at OISE.

The course examined what messages are embedded in our media that maintain power structures and marginalize the voices of many. Our assignment was to create a 10 minute radio segment voicing a story that isn’t covered in mainstream media. We must ensure that definitions of cultures are being defined by themselves and not a dominant narrative, often times the privileged white male.

This is a great exercise to bring into the classroom. Let your students tell their stories and create alternative media, whether a magazine, a video, a website, music or radio. Radio has an interesting way of telling stories allowing many people to hear it at the same time and teaming up with a community radio station is a great learning experience for students. Help them examine the messages that are being sent, why they are being sent in that way and empower them through highlighting choice. We are active recipients of media and if we don’t voice our opinions the capitalist-agenda will continue to manipulate and distort our reality.

Audacity is a great free program available for download that you can use but I made this program with Garage Band.

Please don’t hestiate to ask questions if you have any!

 

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Bits From Books: A Thought Experiment 0

Posted on November 25, 2012 by Sarah

“Can a stable, fair, and peaceful world be created in practice — and in time? Can people change their thinking and behavior from today’s selfish and self-centered material-gain and power-oriented wats to cooperative and sustainable ways? The answer is yes: through conscious change by a critical mass. But can conscious change be embraced by a critical mass before current trends and problems become intractable? The answer is still yes: by accelerating the spread of the consciousness that’s already emerging at society’s creative edge. The rapid spread of an evolved consciousness is a basic precondition of moving toward and effective and timely WorldShift.”

Ervin Laszlo, WorldShift 2012, p.71

“A handbook for conscious change that could transform the current world crisis into planetary renewal.”

 

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Earth Charter Chats 0

Posted on November 21, 2012 by Sarah

Have you seen the Earth Charter?

“We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise. To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. Towards this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations.”

photo by: digital_trash, via flickrcc.net

How are you discussing global citizenship in your class? The charter is available in many languages, please consider using it in literacy, science, social sciences, art. Even in math we can calculate how much waste we are making, how much populations are growing, the decline of resources. Ecology must be embedded within our teaching, we can’t wait for it to be mandated in the curriculum. We will need future generations to think creatively about upcoming problems. As mass media and globalization connect people, we still must maintain our preserve our diversity in the web of life.

Never underestimate the difference one person can make. Always be open to be surprised by the possibilities of your students.

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Bits from Books: Trans-local learning 0

Posted on November 21, 2012 by Sarah

“Suppose that there are no universal solutions to global problems — like poverty, hunger, or environmental destruction. Suppose that the kind of large-scale systems change that many of us have been yearning for emerges when local actions get connected globally — while preserving their deeply local culture, flavor and form. What if people working at the local level were able to learn from one another, practice together, and share their knowledge — freely and fluidly — with communities anywhere? This is the nature of trans-local learning, and it happens when separate, local efforts connect with each other, then grow and transform as people exchange ideas that together give rise to new systems with greater impact and influence.”

From Walk  Out Walk On: A Learning Journey into Communities Daring to Live the Future Now – Margaret Wheatley & Deborah Frieze

photo by: Stuck in Customs, via flickrcc.net

Each one of us in our classrooms, schools, neighbourhoods, communities, nations can make such a difference. We may not know the answers, a plan, an end goal, but we will figure it out, together. Assumptions like the experts have the answers, we mustn’t fail, there’s no time for experimenting, we need power and governments to change, have been internalized by a dominant worldview that sees people as parts of a working machine. Power in this system is unquestioned. But we need creativity, pleasure, laughter, trial and error, growth. We need to learn and relearn our responsibilities to each other and to the Earth. Walk Out Walk On explores communities from Mexico to India, from Columbus, Ohio to Johannesburg, South Africa who are inventively creating healthy and resilient communities that bring people together with love, care and play. Refreshing examples, encouraging words and a positive, inspiring book to help motivate us all. No one is coming to help, we are part of the solution.

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A Call to Teachers of the World 0

Posted on October 15, 2012 by Sarah

‎”I know the whole world is watching now. And I wish the world could see what I can see. Sometimes you have to go up really high to understand how small you are.” Felix Baumgartner

Dear Teachers of the World,

Have you taken advantage of this major feat in scientfic and human history in your classroom? Why not use it to discuss how the planet is interconnected and to ground and unify your students with the rest of the world?

I’m working on a radio program about consciousness transformation and recently I interviewed Velcrow Ripper (Canadian documentarian and visionary) prior to his Toronto debut of the film Occupy Love. The film is a powerful visual representation that uses the universal concept of love to appeal to everyone. From the Arab Spring, European Summer and Occupy movement there have been millions protesting against economic, environmental and social injustices. Nelson Mandela said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” I hope the teachers of the world recognize the vital role they play during this critical time in human history and teach accordingly.

Many astronauts return with an understanding of the world as a global village as Felix did. We are all children of the earth. There is enough food in the world to feed all 7 billion of us. There is enough money for us all to live.

Global military expenditure stands at over $1.7 trillion (Canada’s is over 22 billion).

Rising sea levels, retreating snow cover and glaciers, extreme rainfall and flooding, long-term drought, economic decline, high unemployment and debt, resource depletion and contamination, overpopulation, over consumption. We are experiencing the crisis you may often say ‘will come’. The life EACH one of us are living is likely UNSUSTAINABLE. A total cultural paradigm transformation is necessary. What you buy does not bring more meaning to your life. “Activism and creating change in the world shouldn’t be a burden, it should be a great sense of joy” (Velcrow Ripper) Activism can take shape in many forms and is doesn’t suit everyone to march on the streets. But each individual can affect their communities and the people around them.2012 is a turning point. Future generations, your children and if not already, your students WILL ask you what you were doing during this time. What will you say?

 “One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Please take the time out of your busy days to have a discussion with the children of the earth about the state the world. Empower and support them to be the change.

Love,
Sarah

photo by: Camdiluv, via flickrcc.net

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