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Long time no see

It has been a while since the last post and experimentation of the pedagogy protocols publicly. This means that it's time to spark that conversation again! Like it was mentioned in the earlier posts, this blog is:

1) a perfect tool for me to reflect on my pedagogical decisions in different teaching/learning situations. In the process, I am keeping up my motivation to strive for the best possible work.

2) keep up with the newest research and scientific-based protocols and methods. True professionalism can't be counted just on working years and gained hands-on experience without competence in explaining why something is working or not.

3) raise the bar for being a better professional in the field of learning and development. You walk like you talk.

4) create a possibility for respectful and forward-looking conversations.

The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership. Harvey S. Firestone

Could education competition be a part of every teacher's year clock?

Most of the time, competition and education are not seen as the best matchup because of the negative image of the ranking system or dividing individuals into winners and losers. At the very beginning, I want to state that these are valid and important aspects because the climate of western societies is very competitive, and school should be the place where everyone should develop at their own pace for as long as possible without being put into a race against each other. The more acceptable and better version of competition that schools should provide is playfulness in diversified environments, which is known to be a portal for learning new skills.

Now let's broader our view and shift our mindset towards discovering all the possible benefits of healthy competition that can support teachers and their students. Based on my two-year participation in an education competition organized by Europeana, I have figured out that this is an excellent opportunity to maintain motivation and enthusiasm for developing your professionalism and, most importantly, enhance collaboration between colleagues. Knowing that many teachers want to challenge themself and be on the top of the game, I see potential in this for them. Furthermore, it is an excellent opportunity to benefit from and improve the students' learning experience. While playing with the ideas, what kind of learning scenarios and pedagogical methods you want to publish automatically raises your bar for commitment and the quality of your work. Besides that, you have a clear framework with the responsibilities that helps you to stay on track, like deadlines, more in-depth analysis, peer-review, etc.

Last but not least is the possible award trip among winners in which learning scenarios have been noticed and implemented by others. I have been in a great position to receive twice flight tickets to Brussels for the two-day workshop conference. It has been an incredibly educational experience when you have been able to learn from colleagues from all over Europe. Whenever you hear about different cultures and the ways of providing education, it allows you to combine even more diversified approaches on the micro and macro levels. That's why I encourage more Finnish teachers to participate in similar competitions to share the ethos of the Finnish approach and learn from others to create an even better system.

Before moving to the practical part of this post, let's check the concept of Teaching with Europeana and its Education Competition.

Morning routines

Now let's go to the practical part and implementation that our class will use this year. As you might have noticed, I am a fan of neuroscience and a man called Dr. Andrew Huberman, who is providing one of the best podcasts at the time. The Huberman Lab podcast is a show dedicated to helping us understand how our brain and body control our perceptions and behaviors. Even knowing that neuroscience is gaining more and more popularity universally and, in some cases, even has been advertised as a magic pill from well-being to aging, the field has provided impactful data generally for all of us. But, of course, we all know that we are all different, and there is no one right way to benefit everyone. Still, some operating models and protocols affect all of us when it comes to the basics of humane biology and neurology.

The breathing and vision are perfect examples:

To calm down, you must exhale longer than inhale and vice versa to get more focused. So inhale more often and in a faster phase if you want to increase your alertness or focus.

Narrowing your field of vision by concentrating on a small mark in front of you for 30-40sek increases your focus and concentration. This experiment was used with ADHD kids, and some schools in China use this method daily to enhance student performance.

We all have heard about the importance of breakfast as a catalysator for a perfect day, but that is something our school can not affect (and the topic is also highly controversial regarding diets and nutrition). So let's drop the breakfast and concentrate on how and why the first phase of our mornings is crucial and how we can boost our and students' learning and well-being.

This academic year's first session starts "surprisingly" with a movement activity simultaneously activating social skills and setting daily goals. The answer to why we do it is simple: creating optic flow. When humans (and animals) are experiencing optic flow through an activity that shows forward movement (walking, running, biking), it has been found to reduce amygdala neural activity leading to decreasing level of anxiety. With this detailed data, let's move on to one great functional exercise that anyone can do and, most importantly, modify to any learning goal.

Step 1.

Mark the start and end of the course.

Get different color cones and put them randomly in the middle of the course.

Remember to have some space between the cons.

Step 2.

Explain to the students that the practice aims to enhance their memory and wake up the body for the day's activities.

Students need to touch the cones in the given color order, but they can decide the route. The goal is to react as fast as possible and use the fast path to the finish.

Make a couple of practice rounds and familiarize your students with the idea.

Step 3. (Our class modification)

During the first round, students need to take a candy.

During the second round, students need to take a toothbrush.

Candy= personal pronoun

Toothbrush= base form verb

Step 4.

Students write the sentence in the correct conjugation in the notebook.

The sky is the limit when it comes to developing new activities while combining movement and academic skills practice.

Final shout out

Special mention goes to my colleague Mirka and, where the toothbrush/candy - idea comes from. This is, again, a great example of why sharing ideas and materials is a massive advantage for every teacher!

Sharing is caring, or what do you think?

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