This book is about Affirmation based pedagogy. Affirmation/Mindfulness based pedagogy for learner-centered teaching can make a difference. Mindful communication is the key to building insight and professionalism when modeling behaviour to students and colleagues. This book offers appropriate self-awareness and communication skills development and understanding of thinking patterns to develop goal-orientation and insight-orientation strategies to enhance understanding of what it means to be successful by analyzing both psychological and sociological theories on approaches to the significance/influence of mental health on overall well-being. Students will develop strategies to consider constructive options that effectively solve problems in daily life. This book offers appropriate self-awareness and communication skills development. It serves to enhance understanding of what it means to be successful by analyzing both psychological and sociological theories on approaches to the significance/influence of mental health on overall well-being. By programming ourselves to be more positive in and out of the class so to our students will develop emotional and cognitive awareness and understanding; bodily awareness and coordination and interpersonal awareness.
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Read an Excerpt
Bringing Our Souls to the Classroom
By Rob D'Alessio
Balboa PressCopyright © 2011 Rob D'Alessio
All right reserved.
"The Universe always waits in smiling repose for us to align our thinking with its laws" -Louise Hay-
Louise Hay once said and affirmed, "If I want to live in a peaceful world, then it is up to me to make sure that I am a peaceful person. No matter how others behave, I keep peace in my heart. I declare peace in the midst of chaos or madness. I surround all difficult situations with peace and love." Since she said and wrote that, millions of people have made the same affirmation and marveled at the positive changes in their lives.
One of the most beautiful affirmations that anyone can use comes from Louise Hay from Inner Wisdom-Meditations for the Heart and Soul:
"When I begin to work on myself, sometimes things get worse before they get better. It is okay if that happens, because I know that it's the beginning of the process. It's untangling old threads. I just flow with it. It takes time and effort to learn what I need to learn. I don't demand instant change. Impatience is only resistance to learning. I let myself do it step by step ..."
What are affirmations? On some level, we all know the answer. Many of you have seen the classic YouTube video where the cute little girl is in the mirror shouting out all the things in her life that she loves (http://www. your-inner-wisdom.com/index.htm). We know what a positive affirmation is and we know what positive thinking is but we tend to overlook and underestimate negative affirmations. It's very important that people not hate their jobs. We know this but we may not fully appreciate the amount of negative affirmations we recite when it comes to our jobs. The importance of actually loving one's job is of course especially true for teachers since hating our jobs effects our students and not just ourselves. There are four ways to tell if you need to like your job as a teacher more than you currently do: a) one way to tell if you do not like your job of course is if you genuinely dislike your principal, b) if you know in your heart of hearts that you are underperforming and not doing your best, c) you take twenty sick days a year yearly, and d) you know that students look forward to snow days but they aren't known to log on to the weather network's website to look at the five day forecast calculating the probability of a snow day, but somehow teachers tend to do just that, I know I used to (of course if your intention is purely because you know you will get a great deal of work done in the event of a snow day then it's less of a red flag); but anything that causes you to dread getting up in the morning and to always be counting down the days until the next snow day, PD Day, or holiday is concerning wouldn't you agree? So, do you hate your job?
I am writing this book after ten years in education. I'm by no means a veteran teacher yet but I am becoming an exemplary teacher. That it is something I could have been saying and affirming right from the get-go. Like most teachers, I have had good semesters and bad semesters and down right depressing semesters. In hindsight, it was at times when I thought I was cursed with the most unreasonable and unruly students and subsequently their equally unreasonable parents, that I myself was focusing on problems inside and outside of school. So naturally, they got worse. I say "naturally" but do you know why? It sounds right to say that but how is that natural? At my rock-bottom moments I made the rookie-mistake of focusing on my fears which naturally manifested (I can recall several summers where at the end of July, I would already start thinking about potential problem-students and parents that awaited me in September), and worse, I can recall many times looking at fellow teachers around me that I considered exemplary, and I in turn focusing on my limitations never moving beyond the thought that I was a good teacher or maybe just satisfactory.
In any event, if you are reading this you probably know what positive affirmations are. What you may not know, is how effective education-specific positive affirmations can be. With this book, I intend to promote professional development when it comes to mindfulness. Mindfulness in education is a wonderful solution to 98 percent of the problems in any education system. This involves combining professional development on mindfulness-based pedagogy, affirmations in the classroom, brain research, viewing the union as a professional association, differentiated instruction, coping with mitigating reasons, and becoming open to evolving compassion-based pedagogy. All this together will result in quickly infusing within your students a love of learning. This in turn will make teachers' jobs and lives a lot easier. As you read this, have a highlighter and highlight affirmations you wish to use. I also suggest buying a journal book or doing what I do, and use The Secret Gratitude Book by Rhonda Byrne (there are many other examples, Louise Hay has one too that works well, or use more than one). Write down things you want to begin affirming in your life. As you read this, there will be affirmations that I have listed you may want to use but also other affirmations will come to mind for you or you will find that some of the statements I make can be converted into affirmations. Affirmations are not just about changing our way of thinking so that we have less stress in our lives and better health and more joy, it is about changing the world. When we have a positive thought or a negative thought it affects us but it also goes out into the world as the energy that it is. If more and more people learn to use affirmations, affirmations will become that much more easy, effective, and life changing. We can truly make the world dramatically better and it can happen in a matter of a few years like a quantum leap.
Do you realize that authentic mindfulness leads to internal coherence? Mindfulness-based pedagogy, also known as affirmation-based pedagogy or compassion-based pedagogy, is the key to societal improvement because it involves a change in consciousness. At its most basic precept, it calls for educators to remove stress from their lives, their classrooms and schools by using affirmations such as the following:
I release the past and am grateful that it has brought me new awareness.
It is easy for me to make changes accordingly.
I feel good about myself as an educator.
I spend more time in my classroom.
I love getting positive e-mails from parents.
I love hearing good news from parents.
I love seeing my students happy.
I love laughing with my students.
I do not judge because I am non judging.
I am patient.
I am changing and growing through the challenges that come my way, I strive for the perfect classroom. I cloak my classroom in radiant light and love. I arm my classroom with peace and optimism. Only the best of myself is available to my students, co-workers, and administrators.
I am powerful.
I have energy in the class; I have increasing energy.
I have good posture in the class.
I am organized.
I am always on time.
I'm thankful for my students and co-workers.
I am confident; I exude confidence.
I am in the process of promotion and pay increase(s).
My classes are compliant, well behaved, submissive and enjoy and respect me as a teacher and I am grateful.
I am smart.
I look professional; I am professional; I am a professional.
I am an exemplary teacher.
I am assertive.
I am a star teacher.
I speak positively with others and listen with compassion.
I see with love and hear with compassion.
My career brings me great satisfaction.
I dispel laziness, both my own and my students'; I know laziness destroys, but I am smart enough to avoid it at all times.
Others treat me with respect.
I am the student whisperer.
Everything I touch is a success.
I am grateful for my career, students, ability to teach, classes, confidence, assertiveness, energy.
Blessings upon my classrooms.
Blessings and love vibrations upon my students.
My income is constantly increasing and so it should, for mine is the noblest of professions!
I love my job!
I go to the school whenever needed to work and remain focused on the task at hand.
'So and so' is the most improved student in the class ...
I am truly grateful for the new people, circumstances, and events that are enhancing my career experience.
I take any jealousy directed by co-workers against me and convert that energy into making me more confident. I have a commanding presence/ demeanor/energy in the classroom, staff room, and at meetings.
The computers at my school always work well for me. The photo-copier always works and always has paper. I get plenty notice of coverage of minutes and get along with all co-workers all of whom respect me.
All of my students want to learn, and so they listen, comply, respect me and are engaged in my lessons. Those who are defiant need to be corrected by their parents and I have the fortitude, courage and confidence to call parents accordingly and build parent-teacher relations.
I am attracting my ideal classroom.
I am clear about the type of classroom I want and know it is manifesting itself.
I am inspired. I get energy from inspiration, I especially use this energy at school. The inspiration in me relieves stress and impresses and attracts people.
I radiate a glow.
I harness energy in my classroom.
I vow to do all my marking within a week of getting it.
My students use my class website and/or Blackboard accordingly and appropriately.
I look forward to a productive day at work tomorrow.
I use a day plan.
I always feel appreciated at work.
I successfully partner between myself and parents.
I send home information bulletins or newsletters from time to time, telling about goals for specific projects, how various procedures are working in class and so on, and my Principal is impressed by how proactive I am.
I ask for parents' reactions and suggestions related to differentiated instruction.
I build partnerships with parents, just as I do with my students, to create a classroom in which individuals are honored and much is expected from every student.
Teaching is stressful for some or many but does not have to be for me. I realize that every complaint is an affirmation attracting into my life what I say I don't want and thus I catch myself when complaining and affirm: "That's the old me talking, I am safe, secure, and competent."
My students want to have me as a teacher again when done taking one of my courses.
I bring my awareness back to where it needs to be when I feel uncomfortable and thereby realize that I am at peace because I love my job.
My acceptance of my students is mirrored to me in every way.
Infinite wisdom and harmony reign supreme in my class.
My co-workers and I encourage each other and moreover our students.
I love my co-workers, students and administration; they all have my best interest at heart.
I have unlimited potential as a teacher and I convey this.
We will see other examples of affirmations later.
By the end of this book, you should have a new depth of understanding on affirmation based pedagogy whereby you are secure in the knowledge that both students and teachers can fast track to inner-peace like never before simply by using affirmations. This is because affirmations allow us to overcome our weaknesses circumventing the often ineffective "next steps" on report cards. As self-help author Dr. Bruce Lipton states: "... many of our strengths and weaknesses, the parts of ourselves we own as who we are, are directly attributable to familial and cultural perceptions downloaded into our minds before we were six years old. Programmed perceptions acquired in these developmental years are primarily responsible for health and behavioral issues experienced in our adult lives. Consider how many children never realize their full potential or dreams because of limiting programming." Now consider how many children can. This is why I was such a strong supporter of former Prime Minister of Canada, Paul Martin. His platform when he was running for re-election was to implement a full national childcare program so that pre-school children would be exposed to early childhood education environments as much as they needed. So many dysfunctional children from dysfunctional homes would literally behave and perform much better throughout school then they otherwise would because of the reduction in the cultural conditioning they were getting at home. Sadly, between him losing to Steven Harper and the economic collapse of 2009, it was no longer affordable. At least in Ontario, Premiere Dalton McGuinty introduced the extended Kindergarten program which was similar.
Naturally, not all school boards will be or are currently open to having anything to do with affirmations for various reasons but mostly because they fear flack from parents. Of course many parents will reject anything that comes along that they didn't have in schools when they were in school.
This negative thinking that 'if they didn't have it when they were young why do they need it now?' mentality can certainly be counter-productive. This can be irritating but understandable and should not be a case for boards to shun affirmations. To do so, would be fostering a negative affirmation on a grand scale. However, for boards that are right of center, and overly cautious (you can never be too cautious in the education business I suppose), they can at least incorporate student learning skills affirmations. Student learning skillsaffirmationsarestraightforwardpositivethinkinginadvanceofexams, tests, and assignments (etc.). All school boards agree that students benefit from learning better study techniques and better note-taking methods. Basic affirmations can only help with this and in turn, also promote new brain pathways whereby students learn naturally that being a good learner involves feeling very confident about learning abilities. Our brains are designed to enjoy learning. A lot of teachers don't know that let alone our students. So many students have a negative view of themselves, and the more negative view of themselves the more they think they are poor learners and the more they think that the less likely they are to have a solid healthy positive rapport with their teacher(s). Affirmations can step in and fill voids. A student who thinks of themselves as a poor learner and they have an IEP (individual Education Plan for special needs students; affirmations in no way shape or form are meant to replace IEPs anymore than health affirmations are able to replace hospitals and doctors) might not even need an IEP if they use affirmations! So don't listen to affirmation nay-sayers in boards who say affirmation based pedagogy interferes with special education. However, an IEP that is followed + affirmations= even better results. Furthermore, many non-IEP students have a poor opinion of themselves too. We know this has a lot to do with their lack of confidence which has a lot to do with their home-life and self-image. Self-image affirmations and visualization will absolutely improve attitude, effort, participation, teamwork, and initiative. This is because the student in question changes their focus away from negative self-assessments. They develop the mindset of focusing on the kind of person they would like to be.
Students should be encouraged to surf the internet for affirmations for students, children, and/or teens on school-time and on their own time. They should be encouraged to journal write alongside this or at least write down affirmations they like and then begin writing their own. For example, the website "Teen Affirmations": http://www.self-help-and-self-development. com/teens_affirmations.html offers the following:
-Every day in every way I am getting better and better.
-My school is wonderful, my teachers are marvelous and my class mates are terrific.
-Studying comes easily to me and I love studying.
-I have a perfect memory and I can recall with ease.
-I concentrate easily and I am immune to distraction.
-I understand that habits make a person and I develop good habits.
And there are more to be found at that site and there are many others with more popping up on the world-wide-web every day.
Excerpted from Bringing Our Souls to the Classroom by Rob D'Alessio Copyright © 2011 by Rob D'Alessio. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Affirmations....................1
Chapter 2. Leadership....................17
Chapter 3. Visualizing Success....................23
Chapter 4. ENG3C....................27
Chapter 5. Let the dead rest....................33
Chapter 6. Differentiate....................37
Chapter 7. Be Kind in the Classroom and the Staff Room....................41
Chapter 8. Positive Thinking Plain and Simple v. Fear....................47
Chapter 9. Never hate a computer....................51
Chapter 10. Perspective Comes the Way it Always Does....................55
Chapter 11. You Can't Punish Students into the Vortex....................67
Chapter 12. Mindfulness....................79
Chapter 13. What am I affirming?....................89
Chapter 14. Affirmations when the gas light comes on....................95
Chapter 15. Law of Attraction....................101
Chapter 16. College....................107
Chapter 17. Luck....................109
Chapter 18. Learning from our relationships....................119
Chapter 19. Participation....................123
Chapter 20. The Union (as a professional association)....................129
Chapter 21. Stress....................133
Chapter 22. Judgment vs. Discernment....................151
Chapter 23. Religious....................155
Chapter 24. IDC4O Mindful Healthy Living....................173
Chapter 25. Bringing Our Souls To The Classroom....................181
Flow With It, An Afterword....................197