With the holiday season approaching, it’s good to add some fun into teaching to keep your students engaged and motivated. We’ve created 12 simple classroom activities and tips that you can carry out with your primary class to encourage them to be good.
Mindfulness for teachers: managing expectations over the holidays
Mindfulness and your routine
In the run-up to the holidays, it is common to feel like your routine has completely broken down, especially when you’re not giving classes or working at school. The holidays also often bring with them lots of people, family, and excitement. That sometimes means we also experience fluctuating emotions, stress and the feeling that everything should be perfect.
On top of this, shops and social media are filled with advertising – and there’s definitely more ‘stuff’ to buy. In addition, we can see messages telling us we need to feel ‘merry’ and ‘bright’ wherever we look. Even the popular greeting, ‘Merry Christmas’, can sometimes feel less of a greeting and more of an instruction.
Sometimes it feels like the people around us expect us to always feel happy and joyful over the holiday season. This is fine if we do feel merry, but we will always have ups and downs. If you don’t feel happy, for whatever reason, it can feel even harder than it might at times where there is less expectation all around us.
Overcoming the challenge
Finding a way to introduce mindfulness into the holiday season can be a wonderful way for us to understand our emotions at this time of year. It will help you think about your expectations and let you find a moment to pause to accept whatever the reality actually is.
Here are some quick and easy ways to find some ‘you’ time and keep checking in with how you’re feeling. These are also tips you can try with children in the classroom and for yourself at home to keep yourself on track.
3-minute body scan
Find a quiet moment. This may be in the few minutes after you wake up or go to bed, during break time, or even at the start of a lesson.
- Notice the contact of your feet with the floor. Notice the sounds around you in the room.
- Take three deep breaths and notice how they feel.
- Scan down the body in your mind from the top of your head all the way down to your toes. Observe what you notice about your body with an air of curiosity – look for any tension, discomfort or comfort. Also, notice if there are any expectations you have of that day or moment. See if you can simply notice them and set them aside. This curiosity helps us stay detached from what we notice so we can just observe.
- Take three more deep breaths, and carry on.
Writing something down can be a wonderfully mindful exercise. Have a stack of post-its or a little notebook on your desk or bedside table. You could encourage your students to do the same.
1. Pick a point in your day. It could be at the start of each day, the start of each lesson, or just before bed. Each day, at that time, take a moment to write down three:
- good things that have happened in your day
- things that felt challenging
- things you feel grateful and thankful for.
2. Review your notes every now and again during the holiday period. This will give you a sense of your shifts of mood and energy that might have occurred.
Noticing something you feel grateful for has been shown to physically improve your wellbeing and state of mind.
1-minute cupboard pause
When things feel over-stimulating, find a quiet space just for a minute. Even if it’s in a cupboard!
STOP: notice the contact of your feet with the floor.
BREATHE: take ten deep breaths, breathing in for a count of four and out for a count of six.
WATCH: watch each breath coming and going from the nose or chest or belly. Observe what your thoughts and feelings are doing. Allow them to sit without needing to respond.
Then head back into the area you were in.
I hope these tips help you to navigate the festive season without expectation and with curiosity for what each moment holds along the way.
Remember that the holiday days you celebrate are really just normal days. It’s simply that expectations have changed, and what’s more, everyone’s expectations will be different.
Simply taking time to notice this can make a massive difference to the pressure we put on ourselves. Releasing this pressure can even lead to more enjoyment overall – so why don’t you try it and see?
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In the fast-paced world of business, there is one undeniable fact that holds true: employees are the key to success. Their commitment and expertise propel organizations towards their objectives, which is why investing in a learning culture is essential. The advantages are numerous and include improved staff retention, increased productivity and the goal of higher employee engagement.
You may have heard the term learning management system (LMS) at work or perhaps during your time in education. For many, this throws out images of clunky, outdated systems that clumsily distribute course materials and are tough to use. But that is no longer the case. Modern LMS's are far more user-friendly, and it's time to relearn what you thought you knew about these tools.
In this ultimate guide, we will look at everything you need to know about learning management systems and why they are so beneficial.
What is a learning management system?
The idea is that these LMS platforms offer one central place for users to manage and access courses and learning materials. Depending on the user, this could be anything from self-paced e-courses to classroom training.
This can help facilitate a range of training, studying and skills development, as well as assessments, exams and certification management.
Who uses LMS's and why?
There are many great uses for learning management systems but these are used primarily by businesses and educational establishments. Here are some of the most common use cases for these platforms:
HR and management - The HR and management team might implement these across the business to help with learning and development and make sure that organizational goals are being hit
Employee onboarding - Those starting a new job may be given training via an LMS; this can make the onboarding process much quicker and simpler
Compliance training - Lots of roles require compliance training, for example health and safety training, and this is a great way for businesses to stay up to date and ensure everyone complies with regulations
Customer support - Some businesses use learning management systems to onboard customers or clients. This might include sharing user manuals and product guides. Plus, sales professionals might also use them to train new partners or clients in using their services or platforms.
Classroom learning - Lecturers and teachers can create and share course materials and align content and tests from one place. These can also be used to put a twist on traditional classroom learning.
Blended learning - Schools, colleges and universities may use these for online lessons and blended learning, particularly for remote students
Volunteer training - Charities and non-profits may also use an LMS to educate volunteers and keep them motivated about the cause
Of course, these platforms can and will be used in other ways, but these are some of the most common and beneficial uses for LMS's.
Who has access to LMS's?
In most cases, learning management systems will have two primary user groups: administrators and learners.
Administrators are the people who create, manage and deliver e-learning. They may use these platforms to upload their own learning materials, or they may select courses and materials from an existing list given by the provider.
On the other hand, learners are the professionals or students who will use these platforms to train, study and gain new skills. Many modern LMS's allow multiple learners to train or access materials at the same time.
However, there is a third and final group that we have yet to mention: the parents of students using LMS's, particularly outside of school hours. In some cases, parents may have access to these systems to support students, track their progress or look at feedback from the teacher.
Key features in modern LMS's
There are a variety of learning management systems out there and some are more advanced than others. That being said, many modern platforms will share similar features to ensure they stay competitive. Some of these key features may include:
Authoring tools that allow administrators to upload or build their own courses
Access to subject matter experts who can contribute to learning and development activities
Automated workflows that allow for the creation of personalized learning journeys
A resources library that holds all relevant learning materials, such as guides, video clips and courses
Quizzes and surveys for a more fun and engaging way to assess learners
Compliance features, such as automatic reminders that notify learners when it is time to retrain
Certificates and diplomas that give learners recognition as they study and meet their targets
Insights and analysis for individual progress and results, allowing administrators to identify gaps or areas where support is needed
Compatibility with mobile devices for studying on the go
Integrations with other internal systems and software
This is by no means a complete list and different platforms will have different functionality. However, these are some of the most common and beneficial features of many modern LMSs.
The benefits of using learning management systems
Saving time and money
First and foremost, an LMS can be an excellent way for businesses to save time and money on training.
Of course there is an initial investment in the platform, but training can be expensive and time-consuming, particularly if it must take place in a location outside of the workplace. Therefore, this can be the more cost-effective solution. Not to mention, the materials are quick to access and can save time and effort.
Ensuring compliance training is completed
These platforms are an excellent way to ensure that all mandatory training is completed on time and to the highest standard. For example, industry-specific training such as fire safety or cybersecurity training.
Provide accurate data
Administrators can access data and insights into their employee's learning. This can be a great way to see where more support is needed and to identify any skills gaps that need to be filled. Similarly, teachers can get to grips with how well their students are doing and if they need extra help in any subjects or areas.
Improves the learning experience
Whether in school or the workplace, LMS's can be a great way to improve the learning process. It allows users to study and access learning materials from one accessible location. Plus, through a multimedia approach, they can use guides, videos and more to help them learn. This can ensure they engage with the materials and stay motivated.
Finally, an LMS can make communication between students, teachers, employees and employers far simpler. For example, automated reminders keep everyone in the loop and ensure all training is completed on time. But more than that, there is one central place to communicate, review feedback and access the same materials.