truthfulness (take 1)

Today’s lesson: truthfulness.

December 2, 2006: 2 hours, 10 children, average age 6-7. Pretty good class this afternoon; our only hang-up, lesson-wise, was that I didn’t prepare the craft in time, and we ended up cutting out the triangles at the last minute. Miraculously, the kids didn’t implode out of impatience. I was surprised to find such an amazing retelling of The Boy Who Cried Wolf, too. The kids weren’t looking forward to the story too much today—too much sitting quietly, I guess—but all of them got into it and could empathize with the main character. The story focused on the consequences of the boy’s actions (which were mainly along the lines of disappointing his family and his community and losing their trust) and wasn’t cheesy at all. I was afraid that telling that story would elicit groans from the kids—everyone’s heard that story way too many times, right? I was happily mistaken.

A quick word about our renewed focus on discipline: we have been taking certain steps to quiet the children down at the beginning of the class, and it seems to be paying off. While the children aren’t necessarily at their best every moment of each class, the class seems to be more manageable now. We haven’t yet had the need to apply a punishment (what Ruhi Book 3 refers to as “sanctions”—in our case, sitting apart from the class during the colouring period that now follows prayers); God willing, we won’t have to, but in the meantime all of us (the co-teachers) have to be ready to do so if disruptive behaviour arises.

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2 thoughts on “truthfulness (take 1)

    • It’s been a while since we posted this, so I’m not sure I remember exactly what we did during this particular class 😉 As I recall, though, we did at least two things that helped improve the atmosphere at the beginning of classes.

      One was to minimize distractions. Specifically, the area where we had class had couches with big, fluffy, ornate cushions that the children would fight over. We ended up hiding all the cushions before the class started, so there was no such distraction. It’s not always easy to remove all the distractions in a classroom—especially when it’s not a dedicated space for your class—but there are usually ways to minimize them.

      Another thing we did was to make the start of class a more organized affair: Before the children even entered the classroom, we had them wait in another room, where they could expend a little energy, chat, and so on. Then we had them line up to enter the classroom calmly, asking them to treat the classroom as a special, sacred space. This is actually suggested in Ruhi Book 3. We don’t always do it now, but it does wonders to improve the atmosphere in class, because entering the class becomes something special and not simply another place to play and be silly. I think this is a little bit easier when the class takes place in an unfamiliar setting like a community centre; children may have trouble thinking of, say, their own living room as a “sacred space”.

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