Havan EQ Program: Pandemic Version
Havan EQ Program emphasizes hands-on learning, discussion, and relationship building through human interactions [Havan EQ Program for Teens]. These elements become tricky to execute when we are physically distanced. Although online learning is not ideal, Havan believes every cloud has its silver lining. Make a conscious choice to wear Havan T-shirt, and find out in this post how your contribution keeps us going during pandemic period.
Like all other teachers, we found online teaching extremely challenging especially to keep students engaged in the virtual classroom. After more than a year of conducting online lessons, we have created some “secret recipes” to enhance students’ learning experience:
“I like to move it, move it” – Body Movements
We know that kids’ attention span is short, kids’ screen attention span is even shorter! Thus, we integrate activities into our lessons that allow the kids to engage in meaningful movement to keep their brain fresh throughout our class.
We will always start the lesson with mindfulness activity. Our mindfulness activities are fun unlike the conventional Buddha-like sitting meditation. We have done mindful eating, mindful listening, jungle walking, animal dancing, and many more! Through movement, it anchors the kids’ motions and attention. This in turn helps to get them ready for the class. And they feel alive when they move mindfully!
Where words fail, music speaks – Music
Music has the power to access everyone’s heart and bypassing logical brain. Our online classes come alive when we start to incorporate music into our lessons.
We introduced songs from various genres. For instance, in one lesson, kids listened to the “Lava” song, and sang along. This instantly transported them to a beautiful island with lush sandy beach. They then had the interest to learn some famous places like Hawaii.
Most importantly, music is the key to unlock their memory bank and make the lessons stick. Many students may not remember what they learn in the class, but all of them remember every song we sang.
Let’s Party! – Virtual Celebrations
Life is a celebration, and we should not miss celebrating every special occasions, even virtually! Last year, we had our first online graduation. we mailed over the certificates and gifts to the shelter homes and children would “receive” them officially during our virtual graduation ceremony.
We celebrated other occasions like Christmas and farewells virtually too. We even had a pizza feast virtually. These moments reminded us how we used to live our life, celebrating great moments together.
Keep Calm, Homework is Fun – Homework
Homework is not “Half of My Energy Wasted on Random Knowledge”! In Havan EQ Program, homework serves as practical learning booster towards theoretical learning in class.
For example, in one lesson on positive self-talk, we first explained the benefits of having such habits, we showed videos, we had discussions during online class. But that’s not it. We gave home assignment to the students to conduct an experiment with plants by practicing positive talk and negative talk.
Each of them was given 2 sets of green beans to plant on separate containers. One was labeled “Positive” and the other was labeled “Negative”. Kids were asked to take care of the plants daily with equal efforts and place them at the same area to ensure the plants receiving equal amount of sunlight. The only difference was that they had to say 3 positive statements to the Positive plant and 3 negative statements to the Negative plant.
After a week, kids noticed the Positive plant grew beautifully but the Negative plant look “doomed”. Kids were so curious to find out why, so as an extension from this homework, we even consulted a botanist for the scientific reasons behind the experiment!
Homework like this in our classroom is powerful because kids get to experience the concept we taught during online class.
“It’s my pleasure” – Special Guest
It is much easier to get a guest speaker to join our online class because logistic arrangement is not a consideration anymore. Last year, we invited a doctor to answer all questions that the kids had towards Covid-19. We collected the kids' questions beforehand, and started knocking the door of some doctors and one of them had kindly accepted our invitation.
That session turned out to be a huge success and engaging educational learning experience for the kids. They even requested the doctor to show them his working place and the doctor happily acceded to such request. He used his phone camera to give a virtual tour to the kids around the hospital. That day, 3 students in the class told us that they feel inspired and want to be a doctor when they grow up.
Embracing New Norm
While we cannot predict or control how soon we can go back to “normal” classroom set up, we can however, control what we can do now guided by our findings [Efforts Come into Fruition] and experience. We are committed to continue discovering and trying new ways to enhance our virtual teaching to serve the kids well, if not better, until we can go back to normal classroom again.