Cooperating with Others
Zonnelicht Teacher Training, Den Bosch, Holland
Feb 19-21, 2015
The theme of this year’s annual teacher training was “Cooperating with Others”. Specifically, the program was aimed to encourage greater cooperation between teachers and parents. The Zonnelicht school has continued to grow and flourish, and approximately 40 teachers attended the training. This year, Dada Madhuvidyananda was invited as a special guest speaker and Didi Ananda Devapriya and Yolande Koning also gave talks on Neohumanist Education. Esther Landa was invited to give a class on development of emphatic qualities in communication through subtle language and expression. Anja Reinhardt did a workshop on communication through dance and movements. Many of the teaching staff were also involved in giving classes and preparing active workshops, including Jacqueline, Barbara, Rob, Ellen and Lisette.
Dada’s talks covered leadership, benevolent communication and biopsychology –with a focus on asanas in particular. The teachers appreciated his clear, concise style which was easy to follow and full of practical examples.
Yolande and Didi led an interactive workshop in which the teachers constructed a “tree” on the floor using branches and colorful cut out leaves on which they had written what they considered to be essential components of Neohumanist education. The group then arranged the leaves on the branches, grouping them together and deciding which ones were part of the trunk, or the roots or leading to the fruits of Neohumanist education. They then went on to build their own trees individually to reflect on what they already knew, but also what they wanted to learn during the training.
Every day included a relaxing asana class with Didi and in the evenings there was an expressive dance class and a film night where the group watched and discussed a very inspiring documentary done in Japan in which the teacher paid special attention to teaching the children how to express their feelings.
Building on Dada’s workshop on leadership and benevolent communication, Didi led interactive discussions about how to apply these ideas in the school: applying teacher leadership in the relationship with parents, applying benevolent communication in the classroom.
Barbara led a class on creative expression which then led to a role playing exercise. Rob and Ellen created a challenging obstacle course and other outdoor cooperative games and challenges which helped everyone to laugh, play and move.
It was an inspiring, diverse and enriching training overall. In the evaluation the teachers expressed that they would like to have a training to go deeper into the topics that were presented more often.