With a Guest Blogger: “Being Humble”

 Photo by Vittorio Zamboni on Unsplash

  Photo by Vittorio Zamboni on Unsplash   

   This post has been written “at two hands” in alternate paragraphs, with my Guest Blogger:   Margarida CC, 6th Grade.

     Being Humble is an attitude that must be worked out every day: as a cork on the water is constantly pushed to the surface, so we suffer from a natural tendency to become the centre of everything.

    Being Humble may include:

  • Being kind to others;
  • To be aware of ourselves: thus we keep in contact and know more about ourselves.
  • Others get more attention, they feel that someone else understands them.
  • It isn’t enough to be tender and friendly, you have yet to share actively your gifts with others, as a painter shares his pictures, a teacher shares his wisdom and a priest shares his faith.

     As any other value, we may train humility in very simple ways, on a daily basis:

  • To wait five seconds before speaking when a discussion becomes too hot.
  • While engaging in a dialogue with someone, to make a conscientious decision to listen more than to talk.
  • To appreciate the presence of others by raising non-intrusive questions, thus helping others to show the richness of their perspectives.

    To be humble is also to be able to say honestly which attitudes we don’t approve in others without  needing to hurt anyone.

Margarida CC and Ines

Text written “at two hands” according to the book “Quero Ser Escritor” by Margarida Fonseca Santos and Elsa Serra 

#EdublogsClub: Giving and Receiving Feedback

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Image: Stencil

#EdublogsClub Prompt 10 (Catching Up)

    Presently, the sort of feedback I give to my students is adapted to my work of mentoring their studies and enhancing their writing skills.

   I usually give feedback to my students through short writing prompts, questionnaires, conceptual/idea maps and oral interviews that I quickly transcribe and post later.

   On the other hand, I only receive informal feedback from my students, through their specific suggestions or if I ask them to address me a informal evaluation both in writing or orally.

      As I support their effort to achieve autonomy concerning time management, work organization and study strategies, these issues also constitute the object of my feedback. The final purpose remains to empower students to ask themselves metacognition questions, in order to monitor their own learning process.

    Usually, I use a questionnaire as a basis to provoke an oral discussion with both some wide open questions and some very specific topics that aim to allow students to become aware of the” mental gestures” that facilitate attention or memorization, thus enabling comprehension, according to what  I’ve learned from the French Author and Pedagogue Antoine de la Garanderie.

     I try to make very sensitive students feel at ease: they don’t have to share their classifications with precision; but they are invited to indicate their “strong points” as well as their “points in development” (we don’t say “weak points” any more, thanks to our school team couch Nuno Ribeiro). Then the student receives my help to formulate two concrete and feasible objectives for the next seven weeks. (This generally coincides with a school half-trimester and assessment “seasons”).

     Then, and exactly as it happens with every other student, he must be able to answer some questions to clarify and to concretize how he must proceed to achieve his goal. For instance:

  • Where, when and for how long is he going to dedicate to the subjects he chose?
  • With whom will he be studying? (Parents, mentors, older siblings, friends, all alone)
  • Which subject-matters will be under evaluation at the next assessment season? According to which criteria?
  • Which methods will he put into practice? (He may, for instance, prefer to read aloud each paragraph, outlining the main ideas, turning them into questions, writing short summaries or drawing a map of concepts, training with practical exercises…)
  • How precisely and distinctively can he listen to his own thoughts or how fine grained are his mental visual images of what he is actually studying?
  • Is he aware that only then his comprehension skills are set in movement by reasoning over these visual or auditory learning images? To become aware of what is actually happening in their own heads it’s a safe ground to build self-confidence and motivation, even if the student remains a very highly sensitive person.

     My older students ask me to study with them for tests belonging to subject-matters I don’t master – as they don’t belong to my own professional background studies. Thus, they lead me through their own paths as they already master some work strategies. Along this process of sharing the building of knowledge, my older students give me precious tips that enhance my abilities to help the younger ones.

Ines

#Edublogs Club: Celebrate and Reflect

Photo by Anthony DELANOIX on Unsplash

Photo by Anthony DELANOIX on Unsplash

#EdublogsClub Prompt 40

  • Goals: What are your blogging goals and how have these changed over the year?

    I would like to try to post more regularly, since I reactivated my old blog in English; I would love to post the texts I write along with my students, in alternate paragraphs.

      I would love to push my Portuguese blog to the next level, and that means to have parents and students commenting on their posts although I know it’s very hard to create the whole infrastructure when there is no school time reserved for students blogging.

  • Achievements: What are you proud of?

I’m proud of translating some of my student’s texts so I can post them here, where they can reach a larger audience at Edublogs Community. (They aren’t published yet)

  • Benefits: What do you see as the benefits of blogging?

  Blogging becomes exciting when it is shared, not only through comments but also through anonymous reading. As we are sitting at an invisible table with writing companions, it is easier to make a more sincere effort to reflect with rigour upon subjects we treasure.

  • Has it been worthwhile for meta-cognition?

I strive to bring my young students to the frontiers of this wide domain of meta-cognition:  we, educators, know there lays a crucial tool for achieving success in their studies and to reach a level of autonomy that will enable them to manage their own progress.

     From my own experience, I can say that the more I train reflective writing the more clearly I see how to correct, to improve or to innovate my practice as a tutor or at the students writing workshop.

  •  Building community? Gaining new insights?

Although I joined Edublogs Club at “the last hour”, I could participate on building community, as I met some awesome bloggers as Melanie Ruiz, Alicia, Nina, not to talk of the tireless help and encouragement I received from Kathleen Morris. In all their articles I discovered new insights or new energy to reinvent dayly life at school.  

  • The future: How would you like your blog to evolve?
  • I would like to progressively catch up with all the other prompts I missed, to visit and comment the blogs where they have been sparkling inspiration.
  • My older students could become my guest bloggers: I’ve already talked with some of them who liked the idea.
  • When I read a chapter or an article about something essential to educational life, as, for instance, some strategies taught by prof Maurice Elias on his great book “Emotional Intelligence Parenting”, I would like to share my own reflections upon it, as doing so turns to be a great help to put into practice the precise and reasonable strategies I just read.

 A Final word: Thank you for your generosity, Edublogs Club Staff.

Ines

“Close Your Eyes and You Will See”

 

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Image: Stencil

     I chose this quote as the title to a post dedicated to my student Miguel who was celebrating his 15th birthday last Saturday.

    It seems a particularly inspiring quote, although it provokes perplexity at the same time.

     That’s one of the ways quotes unfold their hidden power: they force us to stop the continuous flux of superficial thoughts; we surprise ourselves just staring at the improbable combination of words; then we start listening to a miscellaneous of unformed meanings, and we try to help, at least one of them, to take shape.

     A new born meaning could be like a little sun shining in our minds, sparkling new insights.

    We seem to live at high speed, rarely enjoying the delight of going for a walk out of every known path.

   After a simple pause to reflect upon how we may improve in coping with our work or study, we usually come quickly back to safer ground, where we stay in command. 

   But just by daring some few steps more into the inner wild, perhaps we could hear the underground water of meaning yet unheard of, silently flowing under our feet.

Ines

Celebrating National Day on Writing

Imagem: Escrita Livre

    Writing may be a kind of amorous craft and a perfect hobby to those who feel a garden of germinating words has flourished in their soul.

    Irresistible may sound the ideas one may harvest in the flower beds of the heart. They spring suddenly, from an unconquered land, coated by vivid colours and some drawn in shapes never seen before.

     Writing may be the fruit of an attitude, a kind of listening turned to humble secrets awakening in the inner side of things, but that have been sowed with the affection of our attention to simple moments of everyday life: we collect very small details, but they bring infinity inside them, as in this trivial scene:

Just four kids around a table, writing:

Image: Escrita Livre

Ines

Life, a Smile, a Limpid Gaze

http://cultureuniversity.com

   Iimage: cultureuniversity.com

      Life  – the first Value – is not a subject that we could write about in a couple of lines; it’s rather a mystery that we can feel.

     Life, multiplied in laughter, keeps jumping, in a vertiginous cascade, through the rocks of Time. We know that suffering is able to bend our hearts, but Life, in itself, is an impetus of uncontained Joy, a foaming enthusiasm that springs from the source.

   Smiling is among the best treasures in Life: with just a Smile we may do a thousand wonders: we may make someone sad to recover contentment again; our Smile is like a wind gust  carrying joy to all those who are capable of capturing it.

   The wonder of a Smile is a quick scintillation of infinity darting out, between two friends, an invincible pact: they will be faithful, they promise mutual support, they trust each other without boundaries. 

     A limpid Gaze is a feeling that don’t allow us to refrain: we have to reveal in refreshing candour, it’s like a river ever flowing.

     A limpid Gaze is an arrow strung in the arch, ready to fly in a straight line: the thoughts are firm,  endorsed by clear words that let the meaning run freely to its end; there is no treason on the lands of Loyalty. 

 Written at “Two Hands”: Federica V, 7th grader and Ines

On a Wonderful Author: Jeff Boss

Image: Escrita Livre

#EdublogsClub Prompt 39

A Call to Transformative Action forged in the Courage of Military Faithfulness

    I’ll try to “listen aloud” to an Author whose work I admire, by letting his challenges resonate in my educator’s world and by giving a personal shape to these injunctions.

    What strikes me most about this Author, Jeff Boss, is how he manages to transfer, with indisputable success, the higher values of Military to the Organizations, Teams and Personal present contexts.

     For our educational world, undergoing uprooting transformations, this may turn to be a decisive help, as our old education system only appealed to the noble cognitive functions. Here, on the contrary, through the multiple ways our Author spreads his powerful message, pervades an unceasingly call to awaken the bravery and faithfulness that qualifies human free will.

    It seems to me the Author’s work unveils a subjacent unity, finely waved trough a constellation of concepts some of which I’m begining to capture and that  I would interpret as:

    All these (and there are a lot more) interweaved concepts deserve a long, thoughtful work in order to be assimilated; in fact, all of them, both in their internal unicity as in their relational unity, follow relentlessly the aim of transforming reality: may it be the complex reticulate issues of organizations, or the art of genuinely deepening teams relationships or even encouraging the most delicate personal efforts to liberate one’s best possibilities.

  Certainly, this empowering work manifests itself in an original set of reflective articles, videos and podcasts, but, beyond these thougthful ways of expression, we must learn from the inner inflection of the Author’s writing, gently pushing the reader towards immediate and transformative action.

   Thus, it may turn to be a reference for us, Educators, who look forward to making continuous progress concerning daring educational challenges, which makes me especially and deeply grateful to the Author.

Ines

On The concept of “Clarity”  by Greg McKeown

https://www.saent.com/2015/01/15/essentialism-greg-mckeown/Imagem: Saent.com

     In his book “Essentialism, the Disciplined Pursuit of Less”, the author aims  at deepening the understanding of such concepts that may help us to stick to our own genuine goals, and, at the same time to figure them out more clearly, by rejecting or avoiding everything that is non-essential to getting us closer to them.

     One of this concepts, in chapter 10, “Clarify”, is precisely Clarity, concerning both purposes and roles and may be perfectly applied to our teacher teams or to our personal work.

     Then, to attain this efficient “clarity”, the Author suggests we must take the crucial decision of choosing what he calls “an essential intention”. It must be, at the same time, deeply meaningful and totally concrete in order to detain enough power to inspire and the minimum objectivity to be measurable.

    Greg Mckeown gives an example of an essential intention “Everybody in the UK will have internet access until 2012” described by  Martha Lane Cox when she had been invited to a  mission in this realm . He said that it enabled all her team work to distinguish clearly what each of them should do (and not do) in order to get there.

    How to formulate the “Essential Intention”?

   The Author gives the advice we may ask ourselves the two core questions that will configure all the decisions to come:

  • “If we could excel in just one thing, what would it be?”
  • And “How do we know that we have arrived there?”

     When the author made that discovery he was comparing different ways non-profit organizations declared their missions; he found that the really powerful inspiring declarations were, actually, the most concrete and measurable of all.

     This school year, our global theme “to be +” may seem a too vague and immeasurable “essential vision”, but – as the light refracts in its seven hidden colours in the rainbow – each month, we work only one value like “to welcome” in September, or “to be commited” in October, so that the times chosen favour the achievement of concrete, “ready –to-live” occasions, and so, “step by step”, we may be approaching the goal.

 

Celebrating Teacher’s Day

#EdublogsClub Prompt 38

Image: Kindness of the Author, Kate

     Two years ago, two dear colleagues, Kate and Teresa, teachers of Physical Education and of Natural Sciences, went, as volunteers, to spend a couple of months  in Mozambique, in a small farming school, in a place called Milevane, near to the Molucué river, on the base of the mountains of Gurué, in the province of Zambezia.

     Milevane can’t be found on google maps because it isn’t even a small village, but just a location, a vast extension of red land and striking green landscapes.

     Image: Kindness of the Author, Kate

     There, the “Farming Family School of Milevane” is run by six sisters of the same congregation of our school; they have built – some with their own hands – this farming and boarding school for 6th, 7th, 8th grades – by the demand of the population itself, about 25 years ago; the school property occupies about 50 hectares of red land and 100 more lent to be used for different plantations, mainly yukka and “mapira”.

    On the last trimester of last year, Kate went there all by herself, as a volunteer, earning no wages, travelling at her own expenses, with just a bag pack full of empty balls for the kids in the forest to play soccer, volley, basketball and to help with Portuguese and Math lessons; all through her adventure she has been supported by our students  campaigns to help her get all the balls and by their joyful messages during her stay.

Image: Kindness of the Author, Kate

    As two years ago, all the welcoming community of students and teachers had a great time with her, in the midst of a “never ending work” and all sort of challenging obstacles: the day begins at 5 in the morning, students sleep over thin mattresses on the floor, there is no hot water, they must walk about 1 km to school, everybody must clean and cook, by teams…

    This year, as a bridge had fallen, many teachers couldn’t come; the playground that had been bravely conquered to the lush vegetation was now recovered by the force of greenery and the balls were useless for a good time. White ants in the library had half eaten the study books brought last year, so that a fierce battle to get rid of them and save parts of the books took several weeks. And all was achieved in a cheerful mood and invincible hope.

Image: Kindness of the Author, Kate

     I chose to share this brave and true story to celebrate our day, because in some way, it represents something that touches the essence of the teacher’s mission: just walk away from comfort, participate in depth, enjoy heartily and love deeply.