Every year, as the academic year begins, the significant task of creating a submission timeline or calendar for our students awaits us. It's a collaborative effort that involves subject teachers, supervisors, facilitators, and, most importantly, the students. Together, we strive to create a calendar that aligns with the school's overall schedule, while also ensuring that the deadlines are staggered and reasonable for everyone involved. However, despite our best intentions, I have noticed that adhering to the deadline calendar becomes increasingly challenging as each year brings its unique set of obstacles. As a dedicated educator, it pains me to witness the stress and pressure that our students and even teachers experience due to numerous submissions. It is clear that we need to find a better approach, one that prioritizes wellbeing while still maintaining the integrity of the program.
Recently, I stumbled upon an inspiring concept called “Slow” by Carl Honoré. In his book, In Praise of Slow, Honoré advocates for a more mindful and intentional way of approaching various aspects of life. Intrigued by this idea, I began contemplating how integrating the principles of “Slow” into our submission calendar planning could potentially transform the learning experience for our students.
As we embark on planning next year's assessment calendar timeline, for example creating an internal assessment (IA) timeline (specific to the International Baccalaureate diploma program), we could make a conscious decision to embrace the concept of “Slow” and its inherent values. I want us to create an environment where our students not only meet their deadlines but also enjoy the process of learning and exploration. Here are a few essential points that demonstrate how incorporating “Slow” can positively impact students, teachers, and schools as a whole:
Fostering Deeper Engagement:
By slowing down the pace of our submissions, we encourage students to engage more deeply with their tasks. Rather than rushing through assignments, they have the opportunity to immerse themselves fully in their chosen topics, allowing for a more meaningful learning experience. This deeper engagement not only enhances their understanding of the subject matter but also nurtures their curiosity and passion, ultimately leading to more profound personal growth.
Enhancing Teacher-Student Relationships:
The concept of “Slow” doesn't only apply to students; it extends to the teaching process as well. Embracing a more deliberate and mindful approach allows teachers to form stronger connections with their students. By taking the time to truly understand each student's strengths, weaknesses, learning styles, and moreover their intrinsic motivations, teachers can tailor their support and guidance more effectively. This personalized approach fosters trust and mutual respect, creating a positive classroom environment where students feel seen, heard, and valued.
Cultivating a Healthier School Culture:
Incorporating “Slow” into our school calendar planning has the potential to transform our entire school culture. By valuing quality over quantity and prioritizing wellbeing alongside academic achievement, we demonstrate to our students that success is not solely measured by a constant race against the clock. Instead, we promote a balanced and holistic approach to education, one that honors the importance of self-care, mental wellbeing, and meaningful learning experiences. This shift in mindset extends beyond the classroom, encouraging students to adopt healthier habits and attitudes towards their overall lives.
Nurturing Lifelong Skills:
The concept of “Slow” instils in students the vital skill of time management in a meaningful way. By encouraging them to appreciate and engage deeply with their tasks, we teach them how to prioritize effectively and allocate their time wisely. This skill extends beyond their academic journey and becomes an essential tool for success in their future endeavors. By equipping our students with these time management skills, we empower them to navigate the complexities of life with confidence and purpose.
As I reflect on my journey of integrating the concept of “Slow” into my calendar planning, I am filled with hope and excitement. By embracing this mindful approach, “we can rediscover the true value of time and make each moment count” (Honoré). We can create an educational experience that goes beyond mere academic achievement. We have the opportunity to cultivate a nurturing and inspiring environment where students and teachers thrive, where personal growth and wellbeing take precedence, and where learning becomes a transformative journey. In the end, it's not just about meeting deadlines; it's about fostering a love for learning, nurturing creativity, and empowering our students to become lifelong learners who value the journey as much as the destination.
Honoré, Carl. In Praise of Slow: How a Worldwide Movement Is Challenging the Cult of Speed. HarperOne, 2004.
Anthony Gonsalves is a dedicated high school and International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program Coordinator at Legacy School, Bangalore. With a wealth of experience in teaching multiple subjects, Anthony's versatility shines through his role as a middle-level leader. Collaborating closely with the team of teachers, he strengthens learning and ensures the curriculum aligns with the needs of the learners. As a member of the IB educator network (IBEN), Anthony serves as a workshop leader, site visitor, and program leader, continuously updating his knowledge of educational practices. His commitment to enhancing education makes him an invaluable asset bringing his passion, expertise, and leadership skills to create an environment where students can flourish.