As Education for Life teachers, we are always in a process of self-reflection. We ask ourselves what is working and what areas need improvement. It is the practice of yoga; self-reflection for self-understanding. One thing I’ve been working on in my teaching practice has been Balance and making sure that all the EFL Tools of Maturity (Body, Feeling, Will, and Intellect) are represented in my classroom and in each of my lessons.
When I planned lessons as a teacher in mainstream schools, my job was to focus all activities on a end goal of demonstrated intellectual learning. As an EFL teacher, I’ve been working to move beyond performance focused lessons. The focus of my lesson planning is now to include all the tools of maturity while teaching a new concept. I’ve found that when Body, Feeling, Will, and Intellect (the Tools of Maturity) are represented during a day, each student feels included.
One day, I had come to the end of a lesson that was well-balanced, with all the Tools of Maturity represented. It was a peaceful and easily flowing lesson, and at the end, we sat down to do our closing routine. Most days, we go around the circle and show appreciation for someone in the room. On this day, the first student put her arm around the person next to her and said she appreciated that person. That student then put their arm around the next student, and the next and the next, until the students all had their arm on the shoulder of the student next to them in a spontaneous group hug.
I said to them that it was pretty adorable and I wanted to take a picture. as I held up my camera, one of the students called out to the others, “Say School!”. There was a chorus of cheerful “School!” as I snapped the picture.
The love and enthusiasm for school was shared by all the students. In my experience, this love naturally arises when each student feels included, represented, and valued in the classroom.