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Creative Teaching

That sense of calm

I was speaking to a friend recently about learning. What arose was the importance of a ‘sense of calm’. Without calmness there can be no learning. Sure we can learn at pace yet real learning, I believe, happens when there is a sense of stillness, of calm, in which the mind can be aware of what is happening around, what is happening within. I am often racing, getting involved in the ‘everyday’. It is in those moments of calm when things come to me. My mind is relaxed. I am aware of anxiety. I am aware all range of feelings and how they impact upon my perception. In these moments I don’t have to force ideas – they come to the fore, creeping up from behind, coalescing around a central idea that hovers and stays. I guess the important question is how we can create such moments in the classroom? I can remember how some teacher assistants would get frustrated by my slowness in working with people with intellectual disability. My rationale – work to the pace of the student, give time for the ideas to be absorbed, accept the speed at which people process ideas. And I think of the calm that can be built: relaxing, closing eyes, listening to classical music, gentle jazz. Yes, it may seem a long way away for some, yet, it can be learned- can be moved towards. We owe ourselves this gentleness, this tenderness. It needn’t be exotic. It can be built into the everyday. The question: what prevents us? What scares us? If we knew how powerful it is we would make it central in learning: the pace of life is like a deceiving ghost making us feel that we are progressing. Most of the time we are simply running around, confusing ‘busyness’ with work. When we see calmness as work we are challenging deep assumptions and opening very interesting territory.

Hiroshi Sugimoto

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About inclued

I am a teacher/trainer, writer and photographer, with teaching experience in Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, Special Needs and Staff Development.

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