Social Pragmatics and the tone (the attitude ) of a sentence is frequently a mystery to student who are on the autism scale. Was speaking to a young teacher who was working with children on the this spectrum. We discussed the challenges of teaching them to comprehend “the tone” of a sentence, identifying whether the string of words were spoken in a sarcastic, patronizing, a questioning or hostile way. Had an “aha”moment when I connected using notes on a piano to simulate the pace, inflection, and pitch of each word in a sentence. Since music is left brained, I wondered if it would support spectrum kids to “get” the meaning in that way. There is a chapter on Tone in the Book Cognitive Yoga. What do you think? Would this work?
What skills will remain valid for the next generation?
What skills will remain valid for the next generation?At the rate of knowledge expansion and technological advances, if we went to sleep for 5 years and suddenly woke up, our day would be a challenge. Technologies, sciences, trends are mutating so rapidly that what we know how to do will be obsolete progressively at a more accelerated rate. However, the mind- body set up, our character and our social- emotional skills will continue to serve us well. Skills that will sustain students have more to do with character than facts. That’s why Social Emotional Learning must become a part of curriculum.
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Social Emotional Learning is the foundation for all other learning. Teaching students to regulate emotions and work together makes it possible to learn well. From the beginning, the American educational system was seen as the great equalizer so that diverse immigrant populations could learn a common language, break down culture barriers and create literate American citizens. Now the best practices in education have evolved to include the neuro-science of learning and the benefits that result from creating a positive social climate. Educational Leaders have recommended that we move from a presentation of facts and subsequent skill practice to the recognition that subjects must be meaningful, relevant to the community, and that personal engagement is required to learn.
We can no longer afford to be a competitive society where some win at the expense of others. In order to have respect for diversity, and combine their talents, students must understand themselves, empathize with others, and collaborate. S.E.L is the science of creating a transformational environment for our students.
What the world community needs most is: creative solutions to complex problems, ethical personal and social behavior and sustainable systems to save our planet.
C. Lee Guerette
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Cognitive Yoga will be published on February 15th, 2014, available through Amazon. Cognitive Yoga is packed with useful strategies for any teacher, coach or counselor who works with groups of young adults. It supports teachers who have to transform, bored, bewildered, angry kids into curious, industrious, collaborative students who are invested in their own achievement. Cognitive Yoga draws from the ancient tradition of Advaita Vedanta but brings immediate value to our understanding of the neuroscience of learning, emotional intelligence, and mind/body health. My apologies to anyone who has tried to buy it before – just another glitch. [contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]
Why is it so important? The life of a child depends so much on his social interactions at their school and relationships with their friends. Finding our place in the world, being accepted and learning to fulfill our potential talents requires that we feel safe enough to take risks. When a teacher creates an atmosphere that is mutually respectful, supportive and encouraging, children can be their authentic selves and ask the questions that puzzle them the most. This requires that learning differences be honored so that elitism doesn’t evolve and crush the participation of children who are less typical learners.
Service provides us with a special kind of freedom. We can detach from the consequences of an action, do our best, perform with attention and love and then release the action back to sumashti. Service requires the unfolding of intelligence, skill and fearlessness. It gives us an opportunity to try new projects, or build pathways into talents and understanding ourselves because as the need presents itself we are invited to develop our capacity for love.
When a class is asked to do a hands on project you can practice an attention exercise such as “listen to the sound where the working surfaces meet” or “watch the hands as they work.” Any physical task can be used as a meditation especially when it requires hand eye co- ordination. Projects such as building a boat, a model, gardening, washing dishes and so on can be done in a contemplative way such as “Doing one thing at a time .”
A sanskrit shruti reflects this principal in the following words.
“Where the hand goes, the eye follows; where the eye goes the mind follows; where the mind goes, the heart follows, and thus is born expression.”
“Where the hand goes, the eye goes
Where the eye goes, there the mind follows
Where the mind is, there the heart is also
Where the heart is, there love arises.”
(Nandikesvara – Abhinayadarpanam)
In experience, one usually finds that with careful attention love arises. I am reminded of Ray Bradbury’s classic short story, The Electric Grandmother who asked, ‘ Love and attention, it’s the same thing isn’t it ? “
Your very best friend didn’t like you anymore?
Something was taken out of your backpack ,and you think you know who?
You are watching a person get picked on in the lavatory and no adults are around
Your sister is smoking cigarettes and you know you parent’s won’t like it?
Questions like these put social challenges on the table and the group can discussion the options, feelings and confusion they might experience as individuals. Hard and fast rules often are not appealing to middle scholars and don’t hold the power of shared reason. They are NOT cool. There is a group wisdom that is explained and understood by a peer group that adults would not be able to predict. We no longer have access to their language or level of thinking. Since young people don’t share the same thinking process as adults, why not just pose the dilemma and observe what happens.
The road to daily happiness is not hard to find, it’s what we do for others that brings us peace of mind.