Friday, December 14, 2012

5 (more) Yoga Tips for Teachers

Ever been in the middle of a yoga class when your instructor says or does something & you think, "Huh...this would be so true in the classroom."?  I'm sure I'm not the only one!

  1. Build on prior knowledge.  If you've ever participated in a well thought out yoga class then you know that each pose prepares you for the next.  What does this mean for our classrooms?  Well, during a mini-lesson we'd begin with what the kiddos already know.  Lucy Calkins calls this the Link, where you link today's learning to yesterday's.  So...teaching kiddos how to multiply?  Start the lesson with something they know...addition.  Using prior knowledge opens up their mind with what they already know, allowing them to make connections better, & be less afraid of the new learning.
  2. Plan for the tricky parts.  Have an idea of what may be tricky for kiddos.  Are there procedures that are multi-step & trip kiddos up?  Break 'em down.
  3. Use visuals.  When yoga instructors know that a particular pose can be tricky to get into just from the verbal directions, they show you what it looks like.  We can do the same for our kiddos, especially when it comes to our thinking.  The more transparent we can make it, the easier it is for them & the more willing they are to take risks.
  4. Read the room.  Yoga instructors are pretty attuned to this.  They can tell when folks are stressed or most are having a difficult time.  They think on their feet & switch things up to meet the current needs of the group, not of their plan.  Are the kiddos a little excited?  Give them to chat, choose to make your lesson less active, or some other things that will help the kiddos maintain self control.  Folks not understanding what's going on?  Okay, switch the plan & come back to it. 
  5. Failure is acceptable.  Fall out of your pose?  So what.  Try again.  Can't fully get into the pose?  That's okay.  Do what you can.  And the best thing?  These are not failures!  Let's teach our kiddos that mistakes are okay.  Heck, let's make mistakes ourselves & be accepting of them in front of our kiddos!  In the end they'll be more willing to take risks and less stressed about taking them.   
 I am by no means a Yogi, but I do love to practice when I can.  My sister (& Groupon) recently introduced me to a local yoga studio.  I absolutely adore the instructor & although I am supposed to keep my mind quiet while I practice, the words of wisdom she shares always have my wheels turning.  I can't help but ask myself, "Hmm...what would this look like in a classroom?"  She inspired my first 5 Yoga Tips for Teachers & this past Saturday's session has inspired this one.  Thanks, Dawn!