Worth and Self-worth
The guiding principle of my approach
to teaching is the development of two experiences in every child -- the experience of "worthfulness", and the
experience of "self-worth".
Worth, or worthfulness, results from a combination of knowing one’s
talents and from knowing that one is able to use these talents in daily life. By developing my student’s feelings
of worthfulness to their society, I am able to ensure the second experience: feelings of self worth -- or high
self esteem -- in school and at home. 7, 38 The worthful abilities for logical thinking and for creative inspiration generate confidence and vision
for the future, and thus make the young student's present learning experience a joyful one. 28
The Exciting Learning Environment
Children are naturally attracted to activities of great charm, with great potential for learning: exciting,
meaningful classwork captures a child’s attention best. My goal each day as an educator is to make it virtually
impossible – through the anticipation of such lively learning – for my young students not to listen
to me. 27 If I can accomplish this -- if I can lead my students daily to the joy of exploration -- then I know that they
will succeed: the bliss of accomplishment in early learning will lead their interest onward in the
promise of greater learning each and every day of their lives.
The Log Cabin Day
This was one of the best days of my life. My sixth grade
girls at Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment (www.maharishischooliowa.org) in Fairfield, Iowa "saw" and took ownership of this project with
less than five minutes of explanation. 29 They were mothers left by their soldiering husbands to finish their log cabin abode
and a general store before the onset of a harsh New England winter. They would need furniture, roofs,
walls, provisions … and they would even need to create the scenery for their adventure – trees, rocks
and pathways. 30 The girls self-divided into groups covering each sub-project above. They "went to town" notching and
setting the pre-fabricated logs (three layers of laminated cardboard, cut in strips) working together to create a proper consistency mortar (out of flour and salt dough). 31 They invented tables and beds from the same logs, cutting sheets and stuffing pillows from cotton batten and cloth
scraps. They glued cardboard shingles on the roof panels and filled clear plastic-hose “jars” with self-provided
seasonings and flour, applying corks to finish.
See this activity lesson plan
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following day the young ladies next invented a clay-consistency dough, and with minimum assistance produced a realistic landscape of pinecone-treed hills around their buildings. 32 They then cut out pre-printed paper figures, and colored and placed their American settler family
in their new home.
They had learned to be carpenters, planners, store owners, and many more things
in a history lesson that had truly "come to life". 33
The Art of
Being There … for Them!
child has something to contribute. Some contribute sooner, others later. Whether confident or shy, I try to listen to all
children’s offerings with equal enthusiasm. 15 “The watered seed grows” and the quiet child may remember all their life the day the teacher
praised their artwork or suggestion in front of the class. 2 Above all, I hope to engender such “listenership”
toward their classmates in all members of my kind and caring classroom.
Guarding and Guiding the Educational Experience
My best advice to myself or to any
future teacher would be:
Be the best provider and guider of your students' learning
experience, so that they can be the best learners. First and foremost, provide them the opportunity
for consciousness-based learning (visit www.tm.org).
Next, safe-guard their experience
of hands-on, minds-on learning by always beginning your class prepared. Most especially, all materials and instructional resources should be ready and at-hand.
Finally, decide what portion
of your personal time you are willing to devote to added excellence in your teaching -- and then use that extra time
(its still yours!) and enjoy it to the fullest.
River of Learning
Every day can be a perfect day
of learning. Each day’s perfection can reinforce the educational experience as a whole. Each week could
be an unforgetable week of exploration, meaningfulness and fun. 5
And the positive value of it all could sweep
up the small problems of teaching into the great magic cauldron of discovery, self-discovery and learning!