Sunday, March 20, 2016

Annual Darla Rimdro


A one day Darla school Rimdro was conducted in Darla MPH on 17th March. The Rimdro, religiously named as Tshogkhor; wish fulfilling and well being, was organized by Darla School.

The one day ritual was presided over by His Lam Naten of Chukha Dzongkhag.

During the ceremony, various rituals such as lighting of butterlamp, Tshogkhor(Wish fulfilling ritual), purification ritual, Tormas, and others were conducted.

Buddhists are nature-worshippers and believe in divinity, the soul and the primordial energy form. Jingsey is one such ritual, which will appease harmful evils and placate death spirits and strengthen life. We perform rituals by offering nine grains like rice, millet, wheat, maize, mustered, etc, flowers, fruits and holy water to their deities.

The celebration was very simple, nature friendly as meat and alcohol items were not served. Students and public were served butter tea, sugar tea, biscuit, and pure vegetable meals on the day.

Hundreds of devotees from Darla and nearby vicinities offer prayers at the annual Rimdro.

The Rimdro was performed for the peace and well-being of the Darla family, the community, the King, the country and the people.

The Rimdro was a successful one, and it was due to the worthy efforts and cooperation rendered by all the individual teachers, principals, students and the community. It wouldn’t have been a lavish Rimdo if it was not a goodwill support from the students’ parents. We have a practice of collecting nu.100/- from each student to conduct this rimdro. On the other hand, many parents and teachers credibly brought both cash and kind. Many parents contributed firewood, sacks of rice bags, oil bottles, vegetables, juices, dals, etc to name a few.

“Rituals such as this have multiple functions in the family and in the culture,” says one of the school Lopens. “It is an effective agent in promoting family health and well-being. Not only that, rituals facilitate the transmission of values and beliefs. Rituals provide support and containment for strong emotions. Facilitation of coordination between individuals, families and communities,” he added.

Rituals are important and useful ways of assisting individuals and families in dealing with transitions and losses, bringing about healing and transmitting values from generation to generation. The effective use of rituals is one avenue of strengthening families and creating an environment where personal well-being is enhanced.

Lunch was served to students and the public.

Songs and dances were also performed by students to refresh and entertain themselves.

The ritual is being held annually.

 Some photographs of the Rimdro:












Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Health in the School-Washing Water Tank by our Students

The tank must be cleaned to ensure that water stored in the tank does not become contaminated by dirt or traces of the substance the tank previously held. We cleaned and scrubbed all internal surfaces and we washed all internal surfaces to remove all traces of detergent. The Photos below show our students cleaning the water tank on 5/3/2016.












Gross National Happiness and Teaching-An Academic Writing



I wrote this essay for madam Tshering,(last year 2015) and I am reproducing here. I hope madam Tshering wouldn’t mind for posting in my blog. This academic writing is not so academic. As I couldn’t research it well and write on it. Academic writing is a serious writing. I couldn’t spend so much time as I was bogged down with so many works-you know. But, down my life – official, unofficial and personal, I tried to steal time and write. It’s therefore, may not be up-to-the-standard, I sometimes took bulk ideas from some books and internet, which may not be good for her and this type of writing. I ask her to modify any necessary contents and use her own language. The sub-topics in this essay are just for my understanding while I was writing the essay.
I wish her a lot.


“How can Teachers Maintain and Maximize Gross Classroom Happiness for Effective Teaching and Learning Process?”


Introduction

The strength and the formation of stable, effective and contextual teaching-learning take place when every individual is content and other emotions come to fill life. When a person is feeling good; when a person is away from sadness, fear, or any kinds of worries; an effective learning take place. Happiness is the outcome of internal and external factors, and both factors are determined and influenced by teachers. So teachers play a vital role to implant and enhance students. A sense of basic civic trust, and emotions; ethical, good, caring, helpful, and close relationships are qualities that are imbibed in happy teachers.

What is an Effective Learning through Happiness?

There is little doubt but that the relationship and happiness generally brought by children and teachers into schools is more easily destroyed than sustained and enhanced. This is so because the enduring strength of hope and happiness depend largely on the depth, quality, and variety of human relationships, and deep connection formed within them. A teacher who continuously seek and share learning, and act on learning; shared beliefs and understandings, interaction and participation, interdependence, concern for individual and meaningful relationships, efforts is consistently directed toward creating conditions that benefit both children and teachers.

Teachers are looked upon as a model, so teachers must demonstrate patience and learn to be realistically encouraging; help children learn and work together to realize their goals.

When children are faced difficulties in learning such as learning to speak. Rather than scolding and dictating them, tell them the stories of failure and triumph such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King, our own prime minister, Hitler and other prominent speakers that would help them to get encouraged. Otherwise, children can identify and serve themselves as examples. Their own stories have a place to cultivate hope by explicitly focusing on it as a regular resource in students’ learning and classroom behavior. With the help of skilled and strongly invested and hopeful teachers, children confront their limitations and are supported in their effort to move beyond present capabilities and emotional habits. Classrooms, therefore would have happiness—lots of laughter, feelings of well-being and being valued and trusted.

Teaching can be an emotionally challenging process. The moods of the teachers affect or influence students’ performance. While teaching, teachers try to control and modulate each and every part of students learning process like their way of thinking, answers, even classroom arrangement, pedagogies, skills; everything from teachers. So teachers must be emotionally alright and happy. Teachers, who are content, strive to motivate their students to engage in active learning and in turn this enhances students’ performance. They carefully plan out their classes, incorporate strategies and reinforcements that are best suited to the class, build team dynamics and focus on the process of learning rather than the end product alone. They make use of various assessment tools to measure students’ performance instead of depending on the grade system alone. As a result students are equally motivated to optimize and advance their learning and performance.

Maximizing Learning through Gross Happiness

To maintain and maximize gross teaching in the class, a teacher must firstly be caring and supporting. By making a powerful connection with each student by getting to know all students well, can then only close discussions and guidance is taken care. It’s rightly said, "Kids don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care." When negative factors are addressed, it might hinder students from excelling in their studies. A discontent teacher gives way to a class of less enthusiastic students and decrease in students’ performance. Harsher words, excessive work and punishments are thought to be associated with such teachers. Students are often passive in such classes, rarely ready to raise a question or a query and prompt to go out when the bell rings.

On the other hand, if students are encouraged and praised and uplifted frequently, it has not only a powerful positive effect on students’ learning but also result in a positive impact on behavior of students and motivation to learn, thereby, reducing discipline problems and increasing success in the classroom.

A good teacher therefore, not only greets each other every morning with smiles and warmth, but also does away with unfriendliness and shouting or sorts at students. A happy smile on the face will bring definite change in learning process. Approaching students in a calm, caring and respective manner are some ways to bring comfort and value to each student in the class. Many need a sense of humor in the class. Ones teaching strategies and integrating humor would bring good student learning, happiness, health, self-esteem, self-confidence and inner peace.

Secondly, anger in the classroom not only hamper one’s teaching but also teach students to behave in that way. Rages include throwing chalks, canning, slapping, harsh gestures, de-motivating words, glaring at students, and all other unacceptable expressions of behavior within a classroom. These acts breach the confidence and trust of students and gives way to a class of non-committed students and violent class. Instead of all these rages, a teacher may show presentable expressions; and could explain norms that would not be tolerated both by teacher and the students. Besides these, a teacher have many strategies that will help them stay calm in all situations like using jokes to defuse the tension, starting up a general discussion or counting backwards from 10 to 1.

If, however, teachers get angry and scold verbally or reject students in their interactions at school, this proves just as harmful as physical pain. These can cause students to be un-motivated, disruptive in the classroom, tuned out, prone to mistakes or indifference. Also, when students perceive to be treated unfairly in the classroom by teachers, it has elevated levels and has adverse effects on students’ health, mood, body composition and performance.

There are many strategies and learning tools that develop creativity, memory, concentration, critical thinking, academic achievement, problem solving, and intellectual development, good relationship, self-esteem, reading comprehension and many others. One of my favorite ways to write and tell story is chain writing. Each student writes one sentence on a piece of paper and then passes it on until each story is complete. Or, have students tell stories from their own cultures or childhood. It is good to take students to a new location to do this, such as a park or a ground.

Respecting ones students is the third steps to maximize teaching in the classroom. This 21st century students can be changed without changing their emotion. A teacher cannot demand respect, one must be earned. The below is an extract from the “Teaching with Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids' Brains and What Schools Can Do About It,” by Eric Jensen. A teacher can use the following guidelines to have inclusive school’s life.
  • Give respect to students first, even when they seem least to deserve it.
  • Share the decision making in class. For example, ask students whether they would prefer to do a quick review of what they have learned to consolidate and strengthen their learning or move on to new material.
  • Avoid such directives as "Do this right now!” Instead, maintain expectations while offering choice and soliciting input (e.g., "Would you rather do your rough draft now or gather some more ideas first?”).
  • Avoid demeaning sarcasm (e.g., "How about you actually do your assignment quietly for a change?”).
  • Model the process of adult thinking. For example, say, "We have to get this done first because we have only enough time for these three things today.” Keep your voice calm and avoid labeling actions.
  • Discipline through positive relationships, not by exerting power or authority. Avoid such negative directives as "Don't be a wise guy!” or "Sit down immediately!” Instead say, "We've got lots to do in class today. When you're ready to learn, please have a seat.”

The book “Teaching with Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids' Brains and What Schools Can Do About It,” by Eric Jensen has so many wide-ranging practical practices that a good teacher has to have. For example, he says, we must use afflictive language, like, we must always refer to the school as "our school” and the class as "our class”; and avoid using first personal pronoun like ‘I.’ This is important to develop a sense of responsiveness and alertness in the class.

The fourth end of teaching is trying to be calm and peaceful. Mind training is widely practiced in Bhutanese classrooms. It begins from the morning assembly to the end of the school. Practicing mindfulness helps students’ behavior and mind that usually comes off as rude in their life because of feelings of hopelessness or despair. It is crucial for them to very mindful and conscious. Only when they are conscious and mindful, they would be able to perform better. Maintaining a piece of silence for minutes help them to reflect learning or any deeds and change the course. It also helps them to build an environment to a peaceful; no nervous tension place. For instance, contemplating a minute before beginning a class helps them to contemplate on the lesson they are going to study, or helps them to keep attentive and alert in the class.

Ways to Encourage Better Teaching and Effective Learning

The first step of a good teaching is planning or setting objectives. At a minimum, setting objectives involves clearly communicating what students are to learn. The strategies that can be used, skills and values to be used are all kept before hand in the framework of one’s mind.
Ceri B. Dean, Elizabeth Ross Hubbell, Howard Pitler and Bj Stone, “Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement” suggested four recommendations for setting objectives in the classroom:
  • Set learning objectives that are specific but not restrictive.
  • Communicate the learning objectives to students and parents.
  • Connect the learning objectives to previous and future learning.
  • Engage students in setting personal learning objectives.

Not only that students are even asked to set their own or suggest any outcome of the learning. This will help them to motivate for learning.

In the process of learning, students do not have experience with writing their own learning objectives, so it is important for teachers to model the process and provide students with feedback when they are first learning how to set their own learning. Teachers can guide students in the process by providing them with sentence stems such as "I know that … but I want to know more about … " and "I want to know if … " Younger students can write "I can" or "I will" statements. And asking them to complete a K-W-L chart as a way to record what they know (K) about the topic, what they want (W) to know as a result of the unit or lesson, and what they learned (L) as a result of the unit or lesson. Students can complete the L section throughout the unit or lesson. Adding a column labeled "What I Think I Know" reduces stress about being correct and expands students' thinking.

The second step of good and happy teaching is giving feedbacks. Studies have shown that learning and feedback go hand in hand. Providing ongoing opportunities for students to seek or provide them feedbacks of various kinds have greater influence in their learning. Feedback that is corrective, timely, and focused on criteria, and by involving them in the feedback process, can create a classroom environment that fosters and supports learning. It can help them to improve their performance and understand themselves better as learners.

Again, Ceri B. Dean, Elizabeth Ross Hubbell, Howard Pitler and Bj Stone, “Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement” suggested four recommendations for classroom practice with regard to providing feedback:
  • Provide feedback that addresses what is correct and elaborates on what students need to do next.
  • Provide feedback appropriately in time to meet students' needs.
  • Provide feedback that is criterion referenced.
  • Engage students in the feedback process.
Feedbacks improve performance; provide opportunities for them to continue working on the task until they succeed. And feedbacks can be documented and assessed them with marks; prize or academic marks.

Learning environment can change considerably if a teacher tries to change the way he/she teaches. In Bhutan, learning usually takes place inside the classroom, that so bore students with chalkboard, lectures and sitting in the class. To do away these, sometimes, outdoor games could be arranged. Suppose, if the lesson is about games like Khuru(dart like game), students can make and bring Khurus and play a match for a period  or two outside. This helps them to make things, as well as learning how to play. Role-plays, watching films, dramas, drawing, singing, are other ways to alleviate their emotions.

Another example that can be used especially while learning vocabularies in the class is usage of dictionaries-using modern gadgets like mobile in the classroom by teachers. As technology has come to our hand, and it is readily available; a teacher could download good pronouncing dictionary software in his/her device, it not only impresses students to listen sounds from the device, but also safe lots of time pronouncing words.

Besides all these, posting students’ work everywhere is very vital. This one is simple and easy. When a teacher displays students’ work like essays, poems, projects, etc on the walls, there is a sense of belonging for the students. When they look around and see their own writing and thinking, they certainly experience a higher level of appreciation than if they see just other-ready-made. It also helps them to create their own later in their life.

In the Literacy for the 21st Century: Teaching Reading and Writing in Pre-Kindergarten Through Grade 4 builds on the research-based approaches to literacy instruction outlined in Literacy for the 21st Century, the book is very helpful for both kindergarten classes and higher teachings in Bhutanese context. It’s a comprehensive guide towards best practices in teaching skills as well as strategies. Many examples from real classrooms are taken where a teacher can incorporate in teaching. One of the ways to know 21st century students is to look closely at individual students and analyze each student's strengths and weaknesses, and then highlight individual attention, assessment and evaluation. Uses of technologies resources in this century like Visuals, pictures, CDs, and then teaching them to maintain a blog page or website to post their works could enhance learning effectively, but also fill their mind.

Conclusion

The main all-time aim of Bhutanese education is to produce quality students and to become good citizens who are mentally and physically healthy in order that they can live with others happily. Therefore, educators are important persons who can make the students to have such qualifications. Teachers need to create an atmosphere for happiness while learning. The happiness learning is to create a relaxed atmosphere in which the students feel free and easy to involve themselves into the classroom activities.

The teachers must accept and understand the differences among students in order that students can develop their learning potentials. To create an atmosphere of happiness learning is very beneficial for students, for both current and future success. It can help students have a good mental and physical health that can lead them living with others happily. It will promote self-directed and lifelong learning among students because they enjoy learning and feel independent to how their opinions in the classroom. The students who are learning in the atmosphere of happiness will be kind-hearted and helpful persons. The students will have high self-esteem and a will power to do good things. The students can learn how to live with others; they will accept, understand, and sympathize with others who are different from them. The happiness learning focuses on learning what the students are interested in; so that they will learn happily.

Learning by doing is also one of techniques in happiness learning; they can integrate their ideas and the story to learning process. Teachers can integrate body movement, music, and arts into the learning process in order to make students happy. Interestingly, happy students can learn and remember things better than unhappy ones. The happiness learning is influenced from both external and internal factors. The external factors that influence happiness learning consist of teachers and parents who create a positive environment for learning. The internal factors affecting happiness learning are students themselves who are happy inside. A teacher holds a key to trigger their emotions.

So, a good, inclusive teacher is a sympathizer, humorous, imaginative, storyteller, motivator, and always well preparer.


References

1.      Dean, Ceri B, Elizabeth Ross Hubbell, Howard Pitler and Bj Stone,( January 15, 2012) Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement, Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development, ASCD; 2 edition. USA.
2.      Jensen, Eric (11/19/2009), Teaching with Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids' Brains and What Schools Can Do About It, (Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development, ASCD), USA.
3.      Noddings, N. (2003). Happiness and education. New York: Cambridge University Press.
4.      Tompkins, Gail E ((July 15, 2006, 2nd edition),  Literacy for the 21st Century: Teaching Reading and Writing in Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 4, Prentice Hall.
6.      http://www.ascd.org
7.      http://www. englishclub.com/english-clubs.htm
8.      https: //k12teacherstaffdevelopment.com/tlb/can-the-teachers-mood-impact-student-performance.