Community Field Experience at the DLC

This week I started my Community Field Experience at the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education (DLC) in Vancouver. While it is an organization that is well known, and that makes a significant contribution to the community of social and emotional learning, the DLC operates with a small team of experienced educators, consultants, and non-profit experts.

Having worked with non-profit organizations since I graduated from high school, I am enjoying falling back into step with the daily routines in such a setting. The difference this time is that it is so closely connected with my career and my passion for education! I have many tasks, but the one I am enjoying most is connecting the DLC’s Heart-Mind well-being (HMWB) framework with the BC Revised Curriculum. This is an exciting project, one that I see being extremely useful for teachers who are looking to include such a framework in their program, but who are unsure about where to start! I hope that I will be able to incorporate some structures for practical application of the framework in the classroom such as lesson plan templates, flow charts that guide the planning process using UDL and the HMWB framework, and a system for linking competencies and content within the revised curriculum to the HMWB framework.

One of the qualities included in the HMWB framework that resonates very closely with my own classroom experience is secure and calm. During my practicum, I discovered that many of the challenges that students face in their learning stem from a feeling of insecurity in their own learning and knowledge. It is so critical that we foster a feeling of security amongst our students. My work with this quality in particular has really cemented my belief that classroom community should be the first priority of teachers as they begin a new year with their students. I will definitely be using many of the suggestions from the DLC and the HMWB framework in my own approaches to building a positive classroom environment in the future!

I believe that my experience at the DLC will be the beginning of profound development of my own pedagogy. While I do consider myself to be a socially and emotionally aware educator, and a kind and compassionate person, I would like to infuse even more of this into my future classrooms. I truly believe that students cannot, and will not, learn in an environment that does not support their own mental and physical well-being. While I do wish academic success for each of my students, I wish more that they will be happy, healthy, and secure in their learning and in their lives.

The Dalai Lama Center is a brilliant organization, and I am so grateful to be working with them!

by Elizabeth Greenwood, UBC Teacher Candidate

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