Week 7 – Peace Learner Commitment (Summer 2013)

Thich Nhat Hanh Peace In Oneself Peace In The WorldThis is the final week of the course and its one where we will spend much time reviewing what’s been covered over these past six weeks and reflecting on what’s resonated with us most strongly. Listen to the podcast below to hear my take-aways from last week’s final forum and to introduce this week’s concluding exercise.

This week we focus on what knowledge, skills, and attitudes we have gained throughout the course and how you plan to implement these learnings into your personal or professional practice.

Your peace learner commitment is a pledge to yourself, and shared with our community, to achieve a goal that seeks to build and foster peaceable learning environments.  This environment can be built in the classroom, your community, among your peers, with your family, in the work place, or for yourself.  The choice is yours.

The key is for an element of this course that resonated with you – skill, content, activity, attitude, technique, perspective, etc. – to bear fruit outside of the online space and time we shared this semester.

To help you in developing and honoring your commitment, I invite you to do three things:

(1)  Review all of your responses to the reflection questions that have been a part of each of the online learning modules. This will help you recall everything we have covered throughout the semester and hopefully trigger aspects of the course that resonated with you.

(2)  Develop and write up your peace learner commitment by first responding to a series of questions (outlined below) that call upon your experiences from the class, and second, guide you through the S.M.A.R.T. goals framework. This will help you formulate a specific goal and a plan to achieve it.  It will also provide our learning community with a mission to keep in touch with you once this class is over and check in on the progress of your commitment.

(3)  Participate in our final all class conference call on Friday, August 16th, where you will have an opportunity to vocalize your peace learner commitment to the rest of the class – why this goal, how you plan to achieve it, and what kind of support, if any, you may need. The conference call will be recorded and then be made available everyone through the PeaceLearner.org website.

Interested in hearing peace learner commitments from a previous class? Check out this post from Fall 2012.

Continue reading for to see the full set of guidelines for developing your peace learner commitment.

Part One: Course Reflection

(Please complete these sentences in the comment section below)

Three of the reflection question responses that I posted online and found to be particularly revealing and/or insightful for my own thinking were…

Two of the daily peace actions that I experienced during this course that I found particularly useful and/or impactful were

One of the conversations I had with a learning partner that I found particularly useful and helpful in my own life or work was…

Part Two: Your Peace Learner Commitment

(Please type your responses to the questions below and be prepared to read them to the group during our final conference call)

Having gone through this peace learning experience this semester, what is your peace learner commitment?

How is your commitment specific?  In other words, how is it understandable to the average person?

How is your commitment measurable?  In other words, how will you be able to tell whether or not you are making progress or achieving what you set out to accomplish?

How is your commitment achievable?  In other words, what are the other various elements – resources, people, time, space, etc. – needed for you to accomplish your goal?

How is your commitment realistic?  In other words, why are you confident that your goal can actually be met? What are you willing and able to do as an individual to make your vision a reality?

How is your commitment timebound?  In other words, how is your commitment going to be met within a specific time frame? What are the specific dates and deadlines, if any, required to keep you on a path of success?

An example of laying out a S.M.A.R.T. plan:

I am committed to reducing violent conflicts in my school by starting and implementing a peer mediation program.

Specific – Due to an increase in violent and abusive student conflicts, I will set up a peer mediation program at my school to help students develop skills to resolve their own conflicts without resorting to violence.

Measurable – I will recruit five students to be peer mediators and two teachers to volunteer to supervise the peer mediation program and have the program up and running by September 2013.  At the end of the fall 2013 semester I will evaluate the number of reported incidences of violent conflict in the school to see if there has been a decrease.

Achievable – Ideally, I will invite Dave Russell, Janice Wright, Jerome Lively, Carl True, and Courtney Bell to be the student peer mediators and Ms. Lawson and Mr. Nelson to be the volunteer teachers.  I will reach out Educators for Social Responsibility to access resources and guides for setting up a program of this nature. I will reach out to other area schools that have successful peer mediation programs to glean best practices.

Realistic – I will dedicate 3 hours each week towards implementing this plan.  This will provide me with enough time each week to hold peer mediation workshops with the students, develop resources, and secure space in the school.  I will be sure to dedicate one hour on the same day each week.

Time bound – I will have researched other peer mediation programs by January 1, 2013.  I will have approached the five students and two teachers to gauge general interest by March 15, 2013, etc. I will have the program up and running by September, 2013.  I will evaluate impact in December, 2013.

Additional Resources:

Project Smart

http://www.projectsmart.co.uk/smart-goals.html

StudentLeadership.info

http://studentleadership.info/smart-goal-examples/

Venture Guide: S.M.A.R.T. Goals

http://youtu.be/3y0Jja52B2o

Dummies.com

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/setting-smart-management-goals.html

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11 thoughts on “Week 7 – Peace Learner Commitment (Summer 2013)

  1. Part 1:
    Three of the reflection question responses that I posted online and found to be particularly revealing and/or insightful for my own thinking were my responses to conflict resolution and social emotional learning – I discovered that I have the weakness of failing to actively listen when I am emotionally charged. Now that I’m aware of it I think I am going to bring this awareness to my dealings with those I may come into conflict with. I was asked to reflect on my own listening skills, I was able to recognize some of my own weaknesses in active listening, I was also forced to think about some of the daily conflicts that occupy my mind, and strategize to employ techniques in resolving these problems.

    Two of the daily peace actions that I experienced during this course that I found particularly useful and/or impactful were the meditation exercises, and the “3 good things” activity. What an easy way to reorient myself to think more positively and better equip myself when encountered with daily stresses.

    One of the conversations I had with a learning partner that I found particularly useful and helpful in my own life or work was my conversation with Jerron, during this conversation I feel I had a breakthrough when it comes to the importance of acknowledging my students experiences and creating a classroom conducive to authentic communication, where students can be open and honest and be taken seriously. Where they have a safe space.

    Part 2
    I am committing to incorporate several practices I was exposed to in this course as I move forward into a new school year, in my work with students. 1. I will work to engage students emotionally in the content of my class. I want the work that comes out of my class this year to be memorable and authentic. I will do this by attempting to tie content into the lives of my students. I will try to convince them that their ability to express themselves clearly, through their graphics, can influence the actions of others, the choices of others, and lives of others. 2. I will incorporate meditation in my daily life, specifically Thicht Nhat Hanh’s bell meditation, and In-Out breath meditation, as well as the 3 good things, to positively orient myself. By the end of their time with me, students will report positively about the course content and classroom environment.

    Measurable: I will know I am making progress if my classes are peaceable class environments, perhaps not free from conflict, but a place where conflicts can be discussed and resolved. Where students are learning and making meaning, and I am not going home exhausted and frustrated on a daily basis. I will make my wellness a priority, and I will be able to physically feel the effects of positive thinking and meditation because I will deal with the stresses of my work better, and have a better outlook and more energy.

    Achievable: the resources I need are me, my students, my classroom. I can work within the constraints presented to me.

    Realistic: I am confident that the goal can be met, although it will require a great deal of patience. I may not reach every student but I am committed to allowing each of them to have a positive experience in my class.

    Timebound: Students will report by the end of the semester, or year long term, whether they felt positively about the course content, whether they emotionally connected to the assigned work.

  2. Three reflection questions that resonated with me were, Who is one of the most emotionally intelligent people that you know ? Think about how they managage conflicts when they arise . What specifically does that person do in those conflict situations that demonstrate their emotional intelligence? The second question was do you feel like humans are a naturally empathetic creatures? Are you surprise by Pinker and Rifkin’s research that historical trends have shifted towards less violence and more peace? The third one would probably have to be what are three conflicts that you ate currently experiencing in either your personal or professional life ? How , if at all, can any of the skills outlined in this chapter help you resolve those conflicts peaceably ?

    I really enjoyed the peace actions that were required of me to partake in for the course. I really enjoyed the quiet time. It allowed me to reflect on life as it is for that particular moment. As well as being still and catching your breath to think about what is going to come out your mouth. I also enjoyed capturing the beauty of the earth’s creations . Taking pictures and reflecting on how beautiful our land, nature, earth’s property was so peaceful and enlightening to me. I still find myself completing this task on a daily basis. My last peace action that really hit home for me was that gratitude letters. I often show people how I feel by my actions, but very rare do I express how grateful for them.

    The conversation I had with Tina Jones was really enlightening to know that yoga can really have so many aspects to a peaceful life through committing to daily mind focusing and dedication to exercising tour muscles. I enjoyed speaking with her because she really has compassion for her students and she also wants her students to do well in life, school, community, most of all to socially competent and well rounded individuals . I realized that I live in a microwave society, where everything is quickly prepared and done with such urgency.

    The commitment to foster positive cultures and practices of non violence and reverence for all of my Tree of Life students.
    S- Since in the community of where most of my students attend the majority of the students really focus on the negative behaviors , impacts and actions. I will constantly reinforce positive behaviors and encourage them to be the best they can be. I will reflect on the outcomes of positive behaviors. I will work on the positive high five principles that we have selected int he building .

    M- this year I will put my students weekly in groups of 4 to discuss personal / community issues and discuss how we can look at the positive side of each situation .

    A- I will get assistance from my co-teacher and other team member so that we will be on one accord of addressing student concerns and issues. I will involve school team members and parents to participate . I want students to be at peace in the school setting and especially the home environment.

    R- I will dedicate one hour weekly during a peer luncheon for student buy in. This will provide adequate enough time in the classroom setting where it allows the studen to feel comfortable . This one hour will be completed during the lunch hour on Friday’s.

    T- This program will start September 1,2013 and be discussed/reviewed quartly. The program will run all year and we will successfully end the program the last week of school before the summer break .

  3. Reflection questions that I found useful and impactful:
    The question that focused on the most emotionally intelligent people that I have met was devoted to my father. This question gave me the opportunity to be quite analytical about my father and at the same time compare my emotional well- being with his and even other people with whom I associate. I continue to aspire to achieve his level or even higher on the emotional ladder.
    The next question related to three conflicts that I was experiencing at the time. I am happy for the opportunity to go back to this question because I can now fully assess the status of these conflicts. I have spoken to the person who was involved in the situation at my church, but I am still bothered and disturbed about what happened; still trying to comprehend what occurred and hopefully may be able to experience emotional healing. My friend is still dealing with the health issue and I continue to be supportive the best way I can. The new school year is here and I will use the “I Message” to deter my students from using their phones during the instructional time.

    The conversation that I had with Jerron was enlightening and uplifting. I am impressed with his dedication and sincerity in all that he does for the young people that he works with every day. Our society really needs many Jerrons that will take up the mantle to ensure that our young men are inspired to achieve their personal goals. I encourage my students but not on the level that he is able to because of his role as the coach. I know he will continue to help these young men emotionally and socially, so that they become well respected citizens in their communities and in turn be role models for the next generation. As educators we all burn that torch but in different ways.

    Two of the daily Peace Actions that I found useful and impactful were Quiet Time and the Gratitude Letter. The time spent during the Quiet Time gave me the opportunity to be reflective and more appreciative of my environment. I hear the different sounds around me; moving vehicles, chirping birds and rustling leaves. I am more aware of my co-existence in a complex but interesting universe. The Gratitude Letter allow me to express in a more sincere and formal way my gratefulness to those who have been kind and good to me in a more tangible. I will continue to use these two ideas of peace action.

  4. The Three Reflection Questions that I found the most interesting were…

    (1) What are three conflicts that you are currently experiencing in either your personal or professional life? How, if at all, can any of the skills outlined in this chapter help your resolve those conflicts peaceably?

    What I liked most about this question was that reading the came along with it. It was from the book Waging Peace in our Schools. What I liked most was the idea of the escalator, in that the higher we go on the escalator the harder it is to turn around and come back down. Also, what I found interesting was that the higher you go on the escalator the more emotion or feeling get attached to the conflict and the higher potential for the conflict to go nuclear. f the peace escalator… what type of negotiator you are

    (2) What are the two essential design elements and choices you can make in a classroom or learning environment that can foster a sense of community?

    This article made me think of something I had not thought of before: what the physical space of my classroom would look like. What I took away from the article is the importance of getting away from the strict row-like classroom and maybe constructing the classroom in the shape of a U or arranging desks on opposite sides of the classroom facing each other. In other words, I hadn’t realized the impact that the setup of a classroom can have on student performance and participation. I can see how having the desks arranged in a more creative way would foster a better sense of community and cooperative learning than just having the desks in rows facing the front of the classroom. The article also talked about multiple intelligences. This made me think about applying to all students’ learning senses. As a student myself, I noticed that while I was a visual learner, some of my classmates learned better through auditory or kinesthetic methods of learning. Appealing to all of these senses, a student can either acquire knowledge the way they learn best, or they will find that the weaker of the three learning senses becomes stronger because information can be reinforced by the other two.

    (3) Do you feel like humans are a naturally empathic creature? Are you surprised by Pinker and Rifkin’s research that historical trends have shifted toward less violence and more peace? That human are biologically wired to be empathic and that that empathy is expanding? What experiences or information have played a key role in shaping your understanding of human nature and does this new research change your perceptions at all?

    This question made me reflect on my own upbringing in which I was not brought up to talk about my feelings. So this is a skill I have had to learn over the years. Taking that one step further, I think that peace education is something that can be taught to everybody.

    I really liked these daily peace actions…
    1. Quiet Time… the ability to create a woosaw moment…
    2. What went well… I would like to incorporate something like this into my teaching
    3. Meditation… walking to work and compartmentalizing my life… leaving work at work and home at home

    As for the class mate conversations, my talks with everybody were great this semester. It was really helpful to to talk to current teachers in the field because I was able to ask all of them for first hand tips. All the conversations were extremely valuable to an upcoming teacher like myself.

    PEACE LEARNER COMMITMENT:

    Is to continue to stay open to new ideas and themes as I prepare for my first year of teaching. I should not rule out an idea or a concept, I need to be willing to be flexible and to look to incorporate peaceful learning objectives into my teaching philosophy. I need to remember that we are teaching for the future not the present and the past.

    also, to keep developing myself and taking time to make sure I don’t break down. If i can’t take care of myself how can i take care of others

    Specific: I want to incorporate at least one of the daily peace actions into my everyday teaching. Whether it be quite time, or what went well, or some sort of meditation. I feel that these actions could really help my students and myself during the school day.

    Measurable: It will be measurable in the fact that I either implement it or not. I also feel the students themselves would be a good source of feedback on whether it is working or not. I can have students submit private feedback.

    Achievable: I feel the resources I need are within myself after taking this course. I might need to go back through and re-read some of the material if necessary.

    Realistic: I am extremely realistic that it will be achieved, doing things like this will help set me apart from some of the other teachers in the school. It could also help me get a job quicker or easier.

    Timebound: It is and it is not timebound, in my first year I know I will have a ton thrown at me but using these tools might help me take better care of myself and thus take better care of my students.

  5. Having experienced this course and the petals of peace that are its hallmark I have decided to commit myself to weaving yoga and meditation into my classroom practices on a daily basis by the end of the first term.

    How is your commitment specific?
    I will compile a list of possible practices and exercise for myself and students to refer to. I could put them on a binder ring and keep them in class.

    How is your commitment measurable?
    I will use my desk calendar to record these practices and the day on which they have been implemented so that I can hold myself accountable, and also so that I am not exposing students to the exact same practice everyday. For example, Monday might be a stress break breathing exercise during morning and/or afternoon quiet time. While Tuesday might be a meditation walk from homeroom to specials.

    How is your commitment achievable?
    Using yogajournal.com and the know how of a former colleague who has taught yoga as an enrichment summer course at E.L Haynes, I will be able to get questions answered and get advice on methods of teaching yoga to children that have worked in the past
    How is your commitment realistic?
    I am certain that with the connections I have and online tools I have found that I can find time effective yoga practices to incorporate into quite time and or morning meeting. I will likely have to move some other activities out, but I think this will be more beneficial in the long run.

  6. Reflection 1:
    I chose thinking less. I think it is impossible for me to do. I think so much that I have sooooo many things, ideas in my head that I forget sometimes what it was I was thinking. I am on vacation right now suppose to be relaxing, but I am thinking about everything but relaxing. It feels like if I can’t stop thinking. I think I am going to try this at least 5 minutes a day and then try to increase the time. It’s going to be a struggle, but I feel this will help me all around.
    I chose this one because we all need to think less, especially our students. If they could clear their minds for 5 minutes a day just think how more attentive and productive they could be. Releasing the bad and in with the good.
    2. One of the most emotionally intelligent person I know is my brother. He is 18 months younger than me, but is very wise for his age. When he was younger he always would be the person who would like to talk things out. Wanted to know the why and possible outcomes to all scenarios. I really look up to my younger brother because he tries to find the good or a good outcome to all situations. At the end of the day all parties have to be happy and willing to try the possible solutions. This task is something that has to be practiced routinely.
    My brother is my emotional intelligent hero!
    This to me is a good ice breaker for the beginning of a new class. This to me will tell a lot about the student and the type of person the want to be.
    3. Group Agreements are good as long as the group decides what they are. In a classroom setting and depending on the age, there are some non-negotiables that have to be used. But we are trying to get the buy-in of our students and when they have a say in how that class is ran, your usually have a productive year. Once these agreements are made and voted on by the class you have to stick by them regardless who it applies to.
    When making rules and procedures for the class, i feel the entire class should have a say. This is their buy-in to the class.

    Daily Actions:
    1. Quiet Time: This I will attempt everyday at the beginning and end of class to start with a fresh start. Kind of a mediation type thing.
    2. Graditude Letters: This can be used as a class opener also to see how the students mind is, how they think. It can give you some prospective of how you need to address the student.

    Partner Response:
    My partner this week was Cassandra. We are both very dedicated to finding an answers to help our students inside and outside of the classroom. One particular statement Cassandra made was how do we teach them the pedagogy when we don’t actually know ourselves? What we mean is that most of us don’t live in DC and the environment is totally different. How can we begin to understand the struggle they go through once they leave our schools? One solution she said was spending a day in the life of our students. This way we are well prepared to use our knowledge from this class to implement in our classes.
    We both read Jing Lin and thought that her views were very ideal, but unrealistic. Cassandra stated maybe having a school that is embellishing her ideas to see if they really work. Having a pilot school. We are both getting fed so much through this class and it keeps us wanting more, can’t wait until the next weeks readings. But we want dessert now, how is this going to look in our classes, what are the next steps, how do we implement this. I truly enjoyed my conversation with Cassandra. It is great to see that other educators are feeling the same way, but they are also looking for answers too and not waiting to see what drops in their laps.
    This is very meaningful to me because I feel home visits or bonding with your students outside of the school is key to a positive learning experience to students. Not all teachers are willing to go this far, but to see that someone else is thinking as I am is great.

    SMART Plan

    SMART PLAN
    I am committed to showing our students that there are ways out of bad situations and that violence is not the key to all situations by introducing different techniques to relieve stress.
    Specific- Due to the many stressors our students have in their lives outside of the school building, I will introduce to them a stress reliever at the beginning of every week and we will practice that for one week. At the end of the week we will take a survey to see if the students liked or disliked the exercise and will either put it in our tool box or in the trash can.

    Measureable- At the end of each week we will survey and look at the pros and cons of the exercise. The last week we will repeat our exercises that are in our tool box.

    Achievable- Ideally I will reach out to area yoga instructors, teachers (Daryn) to see what other ideas they may have with the issues I have in my classes. Maybe even coming in to speak with the students about the everyday violence that they go through does not mean you have to leave in it, repeat it, be stuck in it.

    Realistic- I will dedicate at least 3 hours per week, using some of my planning time to make contacts to different people, research things, find speakers to help me try to attempt to make changes in my kids lives.

    Time bound- I will research starting August 19th and will do this the entire week or more if needed. I plan on implementing this Sept. 1, 2013, the first full week in September. This will be done each advisory, which is 4 for me. At the end of each advisory I will gather the data and produce some type of spread sheet showing what was did and what the responses were and what worked. At the end of the year all for advisory’s will be tallied together in preparations for next school year.

  7. SMART PLAN

    I’m committed to showing our students that there is light at the end of the tunnel by giving them ways out of violent situations and how to have effective coping and communication skills.

    Specific- My students go through some things that no child should have to go through. I will introduce and give weekly assignments to track what is going on with each student socially and emotionally. I will also introduce the peace actions.

    Measureable- At the end of month I will survey the students to see how this particular assignment increases each student peace and happiness.

    Achievable- I will reach out to our school principles, social workers, counselors and teachers to see what incentives we could put in place for the students that are improving with their attendance, behavior and grades. As a school community that would make each child work for something and potentially find peace within themselves.

    Realistic- I will dedicate every second that I with students and encourage students, to find peace, to be great and do great things with their lives.

    Time bound- I will introduce this to my students and staff on August 26, 2013. Also track each student progress throughout the year and evaluate whether this is effective and what kind of impact it have on the students after each semester.

  8. Three of the reflection question responses that I posted online and found to be particularly revealing and/or insightful for my own thinking were…
    1. One of the Week 4 reflection questions was Who is one of the most emotionally intelligent people that you know? Think about how they manage conflicts when they arise. What specifically does that person do in those conflict situations that demonstrate their emotional intelligence? In response to this I spoke about a good friend of mine (I later shared my post with her, she was shocked, pleased, and this made me smile). In that post I said, ” What puzzles me, a more reactive person by nature is that she doesn’t seem to do this as the result of conditioning but rather innately. I have to work rather hard to address and manage how I feel”. I had never really thought carefully about how I internalize words and cues or how and why I respond a given way. This was the spark of an ongoing conversation with myself about how to more effectively communicate how I feel, and actively listen to and explore how others feel.
    2. In week three this question was posed. ” When, if ever, have you taught or participated in a class, workshop, training, or learning experience where a strong “container” had been built? What was done, said, or facilitated to build that container? How, if at all, could those container building techniques be incorporated into your educational contexts? To which I said “Part of how that was established was that we began the course by laying ground rules for discussion and talking about what a respectful dialog would look and sound like. How that would feel, and how we would manage disagreements was also mentioned. We also began each class with a bonding activity or greeting and ended with a closing circle. Both of those were huge take aways for me. Beginning and ending with discussion and team building are powerful tools for building trust.” This was a great opportunity for me to connect my experiences as a learner with my practices as a teacher and see how intertwined they truly are. It also helped me to think about ways to translate what I saw into practice more effectively.
    3. Week 6 was a revelation. I feel in love with breathing! I didn’t realize it until The weeks end though. I expressed it this way…
    “By Thursday however, I found myself a bit more sensitive to what was going around me throughout the day. This activity really changed my mind about meditation. I had always thought of it as something one had to do at home alone in a silent room, or in a space where others were meditating as well. This experience changed that for me, and as a result has made me start to think about other ways I can incorporate meditation into my daily activities.”

    Two of the daily peace actions that I experienced during this course that I found particularly useful and/or impactful were the peace is every step practices, and writing gratitude letters. I found that incorporating meditation exercises into my everyday life helped me to be more present, more focused, more reflective, and ultimately more productive. It was easy to do and I tried the meditation walks and I was really able to use that time to decompress. I think that this would be valuable to students during transitions. or perhaps during quiet time. Gratitude letter however was the BEST, most enriching peace action for me. I have kept a journal and often reflect privately on moments when my life is made richer by the actions or presence of others but I have not previously been one to share this information. I hand wrote all of mine and had to mail most as they were to people who don’t live in the area. This allowed me to really reflect on the good, the blessings, and the hope that runs through my life. It also made others feel enriched and appreciated which made me feel like I was mirroring some sliver of what they gave back to them. This to me was an immeasurable gift and I think many students would find it to be so as well. Maybe not initially, and made not in the same profound way I did, but I am certain they will when I begin employing this peace action in the fall.

    One of the conversations I had with a learning partner that I found particularly useful and helpful in my own life or work was my week five conversation with Cassandra. I felt like wading through the very lofty goals and themes of the Earth Charter with her, and just speaking generally about what peace education might look like when practically applied helped me to sort out my thoughts in a more pedestrian way. When thinking about how to cultivate global citizens, respectful of and mindful of their impact on all living things, it is easy to become overwhelmed and resign oneself to complacency. Our dialog helped me to think more positively about the small things that contribute to the larger goal of teaching students how interconnected the world is, and helping them gain knowledge about what they can do to positively impact their communities and in turn the world.

  9. Three of the reflection question responses that I posted online and found to be particularly revealing and/or insightful for my own thinking were…

    Icebreakers- I really enjoy icebreaker. In my experience of being a teacher or being a student, I never wanted as a teacher or student to get straight into the content of that particular course. Icebreakers allow a fun filled environment that allows the students to get a great first impression. We all know first impression last a long time. In my first year of being a teacher the entire staff did an icebreaker on the very first day. One of the question was, if I wasn’t at Dunbar today where would I be? I jokingly responded, “pursing a modeling career”. Mind you, I’m only 5’9. Two years later my principle still jokes about it. Don’t get to personal and don’t make it long, icebreakers are perfect.

    Talking Circles-First of all the circle is a brilliant idea, if every student feel that they are apart of something and is able to voice their opinion, then the class probably would roll smoothly. I love this particular question because as an educator we could get a clear understanding at what drives a student. We can also use that to a our advantage. For example, I had a kid who was a straight “F” kid. During lunch he would always ask could he play with the football. I told him that it was obvious that he had a passion for football. Most kid wanted to basketball but not this kid. He keep telling me that he wanted to play for the team. My response was if do want to play, get a 2.0. I was amazed when then kid brought me a 2.5 at the end of the year.

    The difference between safety and comfort- I was never a teachers pet but I must admit that you a doing a excellent job. I was very concerned and nervous about taking an online class. This is my first class online and I must admit that I’d rather be in a classroom but you are making this experience a great one. Although we have never met in person, I’m sure that my classmates would agree. You have been full of energy and very enthusiastic about this class, so ultimately we are as well. It is a saying that players have the character of their coach, in this case you are our coach. Everybody reflections and responses are great, I’m intrigued by the responses and I’m learning how to be a be teacher because of this class. I definitely can incorporate what I’m learning. Classroom safety and comfort is very important, I get excited to turn on my computer to see what’s new. Daryn you have set the tone from day one to week three with your personal introduction, welcomes, class agreements and videos.

    All three of these reflection questions answers give sense of peace inside of the classroom. They are insightful for my own thinking because it will be an amazing year if all of the above is a success when I deliver these things to my students. What better way to start of the year with Icebreaker or resolving issue with a talking circle. I always try to create a safe and comfortable environment for my students, with this course I found more ways to be successful. All three are just as important to me.

    Two of the daily peace actions that I experienced during this course that I found particularly useful and/or impactful were…

    All of the peace actions are useful but the two that I enjoy the most are quiet time and thinking less. Both of these work hand in hand. I’m an extremely busy person from sunrise to sundown and these thing help me control my stress level. I deal with over one hundred personalities a day, my call of duty is different from the average person.

    One of the conversations I had with a learning partner that I found particularly useful and helpful in my own life or work was…

    One think that I took away from my conversation with Alex is that we look at life and sometimes have to reflect on what is peace. This course is very viable. Alex explained to me that he is getting his masters at AU in secondary education and leaving a job in radio that required so many hours of work and an unfair balance for his own personal life. Moving into education allows him to make an impact on the youth but also allows him to have personal peace. He asked me how do I find a balance with coaching and teaching? I told him it’s simply, I don’t have a wife or kids yet, so I could devote my time to the youth. I love football as well and I find peace with the sport. It was very easy speaking with Alex, it seemed as if I known him for years.

    It help me speaking with Alex because he left his original profession for peace, and peace is happiness. We see millionaires unhappy, we see the less fortunate happy. If you have peace within yourself, no materialistic thing matters. If you have peace in your heart, you are likely to spread peace in this corrupt world in which we live in.

  10. My peace commitment:

    By the end of the first month of school, I will have introduced “talking circles” to all of my 5 classes as a means to build a community of learners. After that I will make sure I conduct (or have a student conduct) a talking circle or peacemaking circle at least once every month in at least one class.

    Specific: I have a plan for how to launch talking circles. I ordered the little book about them that Daryn recommended and read the book. I printed out the 1-page sheet from our course about conducting such circles. I plan to conduct a talking circle for my two 9th grade classes during the first week of school with the following two questions: How do you feel about being in high school? What do you expect of yourself and what do you expect from your teachers or other students?

    Measurable: I will be able to record whether I’ve tried the talking circles. If most students are eager to participate and share after the first try, that will be a measure that the approach has helped to build community.

    Achievable: Since I’ve studied up on the approach, I feel confident I can lead a talking circle.

    Realistic: I’m hoping that I can use this for a variety of deep questions, both about content and about feelings or conflict, but I’ve set a modest goal for the frequency of using the approach.

    Timebound: I’ve set a time frame for launch and continuation.

  11. 1) Three of the reflection question responses that I posted online and found to be particularly revealing and/or insightful for my own thinking were:
    –reflecting on how I’d like my classroom to look more like the model described by Alfie Kohn. The teacher is out and about among the students rather standing in front of the class. Students are talking with each other.
    –Alex C. and I both posted about the need to control or keep order in a class and Daryn challenged us to realize in that some kinds of peace are not really the kinds of peace that we want to aim for, if we want everyone to feel safe and have a voice. I started reflecting on ways to build community rather than “control” or “order.” I like the idea of stepping up cooperative learning and launching talking circles.
    –I was struck by how I kept posting that I won’t survive as a teacher if I don’t take better care of myself.

    2) Two of the daily peace actions that I experienced during this course that I found particularly useful and/or impactful were:
    –taking deep breaths. I’ve tried this a few times when I was facing something annoying or stressful (such as when I biked over to the Post Office to get a package and it wasn’t there, so the trip was wasted), and it helped me to stay even-spirited.
    –savoring beauty. I found myself noticing things I hadn’t noticed before, such as a community garden that is several blocks from my house.

    3) One of the conversations I had with a learning partner that I found particularly useful and helpful in my own life or work was a conversation with Nona about how conflict has to be addressed in the classroom. I have a style of conflict avoidance so I have the tendency to hope conflict will go away–and it only gets bigger.

    Extra note: I’ve really appreciated how Daryn has facilitated this course. I’ve learned a lot. I’m particularly struck by his thoughtful feedback each week with “takeaways.” I’ve decided I need to do more of that with my students to let them know I’m listening to them and learning from them. I keep a journal about my teaching but often I don’t let them know directly how I’m happy about their initiative or are really pondering questions that they’ve raised.

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