The Silent Teacher

Re-imaging education with Social Presencing Art

The silent teacher is one transversal theme in many of the coaching and training programs. With my guest for this article, I invite the reader to a practice of silence. 

“Mentor is someone who observes with curiosity and admiration, with love for nature and in synergy with it.”

Uri Noiy meir

Why silent teacher? I connect here the silence with the 21st-century pedagogy:

  1. Deep learning: while we create the environment and carefully prepare the context in which deep learning becomes possible, the student and the teacher become the activity they make; the focus is so intense and naturally built (as research shows) that time and space become irrelevant ( teachers and students report from deep learning experience that time passed so quickly, that they were no longer really acknowledging the physical space. 
  2. Self and co-regulation of the learning between students & teacher: in the 21st century education we talk about building self regulation as self directed learning becomes more present and needed. We actually talk about co-regulation as the student and the teacher attune to one another and to the learning itself. Self regulation and co regulation is a great opportunity to catch at an early stage our coping mechanism to both students & teachers address causes of stress and anxiety and create a state of wellbeing and wellness indiferent of the circumstances.
  3. Design Based Learning, using social arts to teach all and different subjects, allow students to co-create the learning with the teacher, the learning becomes the subject of iterations and students have the opportunity to practice the attitude of learning- what do I do with what I learn, how do I put that in service to the community and nature around me. In Finnish schools starting 6 grade, I observed drama in the class as part of the curriculum. 
  4. Entrepreneurship- practicing social art and social presencing, students have the opportunity to represent with their movement the problems around them, and in the process of embodying and representing to the audience ( the other students and the teacher) they co-create solutions, and practice innovation as a continuous learning process.
  5. Ecology- practicing the silent teacher, one returns to nature, the traditional wisdom or indigeneuos science, being humble and practicing deep listening; and nature is the place we turn for that. Most Finnish teachers I observe have daily habits of being in nature. Almost all teachers during the pandemic reported finding energy, peace and wellbeing returning to nature. Most successful phenomenon based learning I observed starts from nature being this incredible creative and accessible lab. 

“ We haven’t invented anything better to understand ourselves than the theater.”

Uri Noy Meir

The silence, we learn to tolerate and then to cultivate in our class or space for learning, is a wonderful occasion to practice being humble and being grateful. As the teacher creates the practice of being grateful & humble, it teaches students to move from a place of ego – one reality, one view, one perspective to a place of eco-system or integrative perspective, many perspectives, different cultures. In the words of the pedagogue and philosopher “A.G Sertillanges “all subjects are linked, partitions are only possible by abstraction. As this happens, abstraction on the subject as the focus not separate, joy of learning  will appear, the mind will grow more receptive. Knowledge is not a tower, not a well but a human habitation.”

Teachers in Coaching Strategies 2019, Helsinki, practicing socio drama

The silent teacher has the opportunity to become a mentor. “mentor is someone who observes with curiosity and admiration, with love for nature and in synergy with it” ( Uri)

 The quote

I invite you to this interview with a reflection on your path, a timeline of our life & work appears as you reflect, that timeline allows us to integrate the past as to allow the future to emerge. 

About Uri Noy Meir- Uri is an artist, facilitator and researcher of Social Arts. He graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2009 (Theatre and Latin American Studies) and is based in central in Italy. More on his work & contact https://linktr.ee/urinoymeir

References: 

  1. the art of science video of dance my phd see visual art in complexity of Steam, the project Black Label & Ted Talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlDWRZ7IYqw 
  2. Uri Noy Meir scientific article teaching with social art during online learning https://scholarworks.uni.edu/ptoj/vol5/iss1/17/ 
  3. Social Presencing Theater in schools https://vimeo.com/299237120 we include this practice in Coaching STEAM program 
  4. Aalto Junior lab nature inspired lessons, deep care for nature https://www.aalto.fi/en/aalto-university-junior/borrow-science-or-art-workshop-in-your-class 
  5. Some best practice for the silent teacher from Aalto University https://www.aalto.fi/en/news/silent-pedagogy 
  6. On deep learning state https://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_flow_the_secret_to_happiness?language=en 
  7. Design Based learning some examples https://designfactory.aalto.fi/tag/design-based-learning/ 
  8. Uri Noy Meir story on Audio Garden, Presencing Institute MIT, Global Forum 2021 https://share.transistor.fm/s/c5464d3b 

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