Monday, March 17, 2008

This week, I'm a teacher.

Spring break has started for the kids, and it's always a challenge to plan activities for them. This year, I'm doing something different for the older two, and their friends. I'm teaching a class on religion and spirituality. So far, so good. These Montessori kids are pretty self-motivated. I got them started on a project, and they're off and running.

I have become increasingly convinced that the Montessori method of education is the future of reaching the multiple intelligences in a classroom. The essential focus is that children are given learning tasks and set out to complete them, with guide from a teacher. It avoids nailing children to a desk, and allows them to discover the reality of things for themselves. I spent a few days last week observing in their classrooms and asking questions of their teachers, so I could get a sense of how to design these classes to keep them engaged. It's working!

Here is the invitation I sent to the parents.

***

I’m going to be teaching a class for elementary age children that will explore religion and spirituality. (I was a comparative religion major in college.) I’ll be approaching it from the perspective of the Bahá’í Faith, which emphasizes the oneness and unity of all religions, taking the approach that they all come from the same source at different times in humanity’s history to provide socially and historically appropriate guidance to the world.

The subjects that I plan to touch upon include:

  • The lives of the Manifestations of God: Krishna, Buddha, Zoroaster, Moses, Christ, Muhammad, and Bahá’u’lláh.
  • The key teachings of the major world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and the Bahá’í Faith.
  • Exploring the concepts of God, the soul, prayer, meditation, and the purpose of life.
  • Developing virtues in our lives: Truthfulness, trustworthiness, courtesy, kindness, etc.
  • Social principles related to Peace Studies such as the need for independent search after truth, the oneness of the entire human race, the elimination of all forms of prejudice, the harmony between science and religion, and the equality of men and women.

I hope to convey this information through some lessons to stimulate their interest, and guide the children in their own research of the subjects. We’ll also have art and drama, as well as physical activity.

6 comments:

Y. S. said...

Hi,
though this is my first comment i leave you, i have been following your blog for sometime.

I just wanted to ask you: Don't you think that the Kids are a bit young to for this Kind of intellectual debatable talk? introducing several major religions to them all at once! I'm afraid that may confuse some of them and probably have negative effects on others. I'm sure you know what you are doing and that they are bright young fellows but this might not be the safest approach to religion for children.

Come on, some old guys can't stand this kind of talk. Don't you think that talking to them about honesty, dignity, curiosity, friendship, faithfulness, etc, will be more productive? I admit that discussing religion is very important but it isn't by any means an easy talk.

Some words and thoughts that you say today might stick with them for ever. If I were you, ill be cautious.

Just my $0.2!

I wish you and them all the best,
Y.S.

Mike said...

I concur. The possibility for confusion seems especially great, seeing as how many adults have trouble with the topic (though, maybe its because they bring adult baggage into the mix)

But then again, if you go into it with an open heart, as I am sure you and the kids will, good things will probably happen.

Good luck. I hear teaching is difficult.

Anonymous said...

As well has having a BA in education and having taught for several years, I have a degree in religius education through the Catholic Church; In the courses we had to study all religins which was a very good eye opener.

I taught religious education for 7 years by using art, drama, and songs (most of them I wrote myself.) Through my classes the students also learned of other religions and how they came about. I think it is a great idea to introduce children to new thoughts and engender the idea that all people are one regardless of race, color or creed.
Hurray and good luck.

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

You'd be surprised by what kids can understand.

When you are young, you're brain is as flexible as your muscles. It tends to constrict and be less flexible with age.

AM I A HINDU? Best Seller said...

Namasthe: My prayers are with you, in your kind effort to teach children all about all the religions in the world.

All religions are many paths to ONE AND ONLY GOD.

Hindu Rig Veda states

Ekam Sat, Vipra Bahudha Vadanti

Truth or God is one,
but learned call It by many names.

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