When it comes to the classroom … The personalities of the children play a large role in how the class behaves, the focus, energy and overall learning environment. It is crucial that you take into account for these differences in your classroom. I believe Feng Shui or Intentional Design (for the left-brained) principles are the answer to creating a classroom that encourages a community of learning.
The dictionary defines yin and yang as: two principles, one negative, dark, and feminine (yin) and one positive, bright, and masculine (yang) whose interaction influences the outcome of all things great and small. See list below for distinctions between yin and yang*. It is the interaction and balance that we want to look at, the differences that play well off one another and the other side of the coin when they create chaos. Balance of the two and you create a nurturing environment of give and take … Making sure that both yin and yang are well represented. We can also look at the 5 elements and how they show up in your classroom, that is in another article – “Balancing the 5 Elements in the Classroom”.
So, yin … Quiet, reserved and shy and yang … Loud, rowdy and excitable. Imagine your room filled with only yin or only yang. It would be either really quiet (no sparks) or really chaotic (too energetic), both are very distracting in their own way. As a teacher, you want your students to experience learning in many ways. Sometimes focused, sometimes fun or somewhere in between. By applying some Feng Shui principles, we can make sure there is balanced learning experience.
You only need to look at the opposite side of the list to see what changes you might make in order to change the atmosphere of your classroom. Let us say you have a section or table with yang children … You can move them around and disperse them better among the others which can balance out the overwhelming yang. Let us say you have a bunch of yin children … You could bring in some bright colored paper and let them cover their desktop. Also, consider a classroom that has a majority of yang personality, you will want to bring in yin elements to balance things out … Though to do so, some extra yin will be necessary and/or remove some of the yang elements. Engage the reserved … calm the rowdy. The list is really endless in the things you can do to make everyone feel part of the class, focused ready to learn and enjoying the time they spend in the classroom with you. Of course, every class is different and needs to be tailored to suit you, your kids and your teaching style. Therefore, there is no one way to do things and very little that cannot be changed with some time, effort and consulting.
Let’s create a plan … Take time to look at your students in a different light, which students are yin and which are yang. How can I balance their space or the overall space to accommodate each of the children’s needs. And realize you have the power to change the outcome with a little Feng Shui and intention. A great exercise with the kids is to have them be a part of the changes. You can put them in groups and have them come up with a few ideas of their own on how to make the learning experience better in the classroom. As an adult, we see things in a different way than children. We can make things much more complicated than they need to be.
A happy home and classroom start with the inhabitants. Be sure to address the needs of everyone, sometimes it takes trying different things to ensure the health of the entire class. Don’t be afraid to change things again and again if that is what needs to happen until you get your desired results.
Tamara Valentine is available for consulting … Call 562-502-7887 or email firstname.lastname@example.org